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Mar 14, 2017 8:48:44 AM

Sharing Economy Will Change the Value Chain for Transportation

Antton Ikola

Senior Consultant, Growth


The core of transportation, much like Customer Journeys, is about getting you conveniently from A to B.

Transportation is the second biggest market in the world after retail. Consider the huge variety of urban transportation modes to choose from: from bicycling to buying your own car, using public transportation, or ordering a taxi or Uber. The same customer problem to solve remains: getting from point A to point B (okay, there’s also the thing that we tend to love our cars and fixed-gear bicycles). Nevertheless, our private cars create a huge pool of underutilized resources: today’s cars are parked 95% of the time. The question transportation service providers should be asking is: How do we create a great customer experience in transportation?

This is where Mobility as a Service (MaaS) comes in. MaaS is about reducing the complexity of different transportation modes, order channels and pricing models in order to create an essentially seamless customer experience. So,
one ticket from door-to-door? Not necessarily a new idea… but it is the actual networking between different service providers that makes the MaaS model possible, and the digital service platforms that enable the seamless customer experience. The customer experience is most obvious in ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, where you utilize the digital solution to everything: ordering the ride, paying and leaving the driver feedback after your ride.

The customer focused objectives of door-to-door transport and car-lite society change the way we think of traveling, but also the way we think about owning cars.

The customer focused objectives of door-to-door transport and car-lite society change the way we think of traveling, but also the way we think about owning cars. When new flexible travel solutions are enabled by new business models and are fueled by great customer experience, people expect the same ease and care-free service in traditional private car sales as well.

Our Mini Car-Sharing Customer Journey

To give you an overview of how MaaS is already a reality, we’d like to share our own experiences with car-sharing.

In January we’re faced by a very positive challenge: meeting over 30 customers in the Helsinki area. This serious demand for transportation made us look beyond public transport and traditional car ownership into modern Mobility as a Service vendors. As a result  Shareit Blox Car provided Columbia Road a spicy red Mini Cooper for the month.

The Finnish Shareit Blox Car is a peer-to-peer carsharing service where you can rent just the right car for your needs and specific duration for a fixed hourly, daily or weekly rate. As a car owner, you can earn money by sharing your car when you do not need it. Smart. Shareit has disrupted the car renting service in many ways, for example by providing a fully digital service from start to finish. Instilling trust in the disruptive service has been a challenge which has been answered with totally new insurance plan with If. On top of that, Shareit Blox Car provides their own insurance which keeps the car owner’s insurance bonuses safe.

As for the customer experience, our expectations were high. Once we had agreed the pick-up place for the Mini Cooper, we received a tracking link from Shareit and were able to see our car approach on a map. In some cases the car would be parked in city center, and the customer would receive the unlocking code on their phone. Delivered successfully on time with a full fuel tank, we were excited. The monthly subscription was signed and paid via online banking and the Shareit online portal proved to be convenient for adding more drivers. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, we also faced some low points during our customer journey. The “Z-class” downtown parking permits are created specifically for shared cars, but they are granted only for company owned cars. Paradoxically, the Shareit car sharing services do not qualify. The downtown parking caused some extra costs and stress, which could have been alleviated by more comprehensive customer service. For example, in the US there’s a quick fix for this by offering car-sharing users an on-demand parking service called Luxe that takes your car to a designated parking place and returns it anywhere you decide.

It’s all about customer satisfaction

In short, today’s car-sharing is a great example of how new sharing economy businesses are created with digital platforms and sustained with a focus on customer experience. The success of these services boils down to customer satisfaction, ratings online and word of mouth. The Shareit service has some important underlying partnership decisions to make – at least from our customer journey point of view. The delivery of the service was great, the car itself saved time when going to our customers, but parking in the city center was problematic. Our direct need to go meet our customers was met with convenience, but the indirect needs of parking the ride caused some extra bumps for our customer journey. It’s important to understand that optimizing individual touchpoints without considering the journey as a whole is a slippery slope. All touchpoints on a customer journey count, not just getting from A to B.

The success of these services boils down to customer satisfaction, ratings online and word of mouth.

New services might seem inspiring and promising on the surface. The conversions bubbling under and high attrition rates (percentages of customers leaving your service) might reveal that you actually fall far behind on customer experience.

That is exactly why I recommend you to download our Customer Journey template. Print it out, fill it with all necessary stakeholders, and fix the pain points your customers reveal about your product or service.


Download free canvas

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