Moshe Braun, business director at customer experience consultancy WAE writes
The Tube has long been the backbone of London, bearing hordes of people around the city since 1863. To date, Transport for London (TfL) carries over 1.3 billion people a year in its carriages; a figure that is growing, putting enormous pressure on the network.
As London’s population continues to rise and visitors to the city increase, TfL will need to find new and innovative ways to alleviate pressure and keep London moving, while offering a world-class service for its customers.
WAE rose to the opportunity, bringing together 50 senior marketers, customer experience (CX) professionals and design experts from a variety of sectors with TfL at WAE’s inaugural boot camp, CX in a Day. The group included senior decision makers from major organisations including: Barclays, RBS, Plan UK, British Gas and the Metropolitan Police, all brought together to brainstorm the future of travel in the capital.
As a framework to the day’s proceedings – and to ensure delegates got as much as possible out of the experience – WAE introduced the group to the four stages of its Design Thinking methodology: ‘Discovery, Define, Design and Refine.’ Delegates were then put into smaller groups to respond to three live TfL briefs, Encouraging Active Travel, Wayfinding and Crowdsourcing, which would be informed by WAE’s methodologies.
Here’s how they got on…
Discovery: ‘Lego, love, breakups and a new challenge’
The proceedings kicked off with WAE’s first pillar of Design Thinking – ‘Discovery.’ This involves putting ourselves into the shoes of the customer, seeing what they’re seeing and being consistently responsive to their needs.
Following introductions to WAE and TfL, Hannah Kops, TfL’s Experience Design Manager addressed the groups with the transport provider’s existing insight into the many touchpoints through which customers interact with it on a daily basis – and the hundreds they will encounter across their lifetime.
With this insight and the theme of ‘Discovery’ in mind, each group of delegates was assigned the name of a major Tube station and one of three typical TfL customer mindsets – ‘Confident,’ ‘Carefree’ or a ‘Creature of Habit’.
The teams then moved swiftly onto tackling their live briefs. The initial stage involved penning a ‘Love and Break-Up’ letter explaining why participants valued or would discontinue their relationship with the transport provider. Delegates were also given Lego bricks to build a physical representation of a pain point they experience during their journeys. Doubling up as an ice-breaker, this activity meant the delegates worked together to communicate their ideas as a team, build metaphors in response to the challenge, and define actionable outcomes.
Define: ‘defining actionable outcomes through customer affinity’
Once the delegates became accustomed to their customer personalities and WAE’s unique methodology, the remainder of the morning was spent converting their ideas in response to the three briefs into ‘affinity maps’ (a means to gather ideas and group them thematically).
Design: ‘letting customer values tell the story’
After lunch, the teams came together for storyboarding – a process in which people draw out what they really want to achieve from the briefs step-by-step. This helped the groups narrow down their ideas and get to the crux of their projects.
Refine: ‘the delegate shootout’
Prior to delivering their presentations, the groups refined their final concept and prepared their elevator pitch for the judges.
Pitching the concepts
Following a whirlwind of creative mastery, the delegates began the pitching process. Teams were to be judged on the vision behind their concept, their ability to map out the customer journey and the implementation of WAE’s methodology. The results were as follows:
- 1. Free Gamification app: An app that would allow customers to choose their preferred route and mode of transport based on crowdsourced customer data. Customers would then be rewarded for choosing healthier options via various games.
- 2. Step Change: Using a variety of SMS and Twitter alerts to encourage people to consider more active means of travelling around London in exchange for customer data, the software would offer notifications about how much money they had saved and calories they had burnt.
- 3. Journey Buddy: An app that is ideal for parents whose main anxiety is getting home for their kids’ bedtime. The app offers parents control over the quickest route and mode of transport in real-time – allowing crowdsourced passenger data to inform decisions.
- 4. CATY Pocket: ‘Caution and Thoroughness in Your Pocket’: A dynamic route planner for the cautious passenger that learns what the user’s preferences are and automatically suggests easier, more relaxed ways to make a journey. A sliding scale of preferences allows passengers to choose an option that suits them, helping to reduce day-to-day anxiety.
- 5. Help Us Help You: A proactive planner app designed for the inexperienced commuter who rarely travels to London. Not only would it enable forward planning and direct commuters to quieter carriages, it would also suggest iconic landmarks to visit above the ground.
- 6. Virtual Annie/Andy: A handy hologram guide. It would lead the commuter around the station on a hover board to reveal the least crowded route at that time.
Ensuring every journey matters
After careful consideration, the judges picked team London Bridge’s stress management-inspired dynamic route planner as the winning app. The group was made up of a powerhouse of expert knowledge, featuring participants from Barclays, William Russell, Zurich and TfL.
For brands like TfL, crowdsourced data engagement solutions are making great strides in providing an efficient customer experience with maximum satisfaction among commuters. They enable travellers to plan ahead and reduce overcrowding to ensure the network flows.
Most importantly, they allow greater interaction with what should be a crowd of happier, healthier and more relaxed commuters just looking to get from A to B.
Moshe Braun, business director at customer experience consultancy WAE