Connected cars in a big city

Why CX is more important than ever for the mobility sector

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Mobility is a very broad term. It  covers a wide variety of sectors and services used by consumers, all of which have different expectations : car manufacturing, financing, are the 2 most common ones, to which we would now add Mobility Apps and energy providers (petrol and new electricity companies through the charging network) 

In this interview, we speak to Guillaume Langle, Konecta’s Head of Global Automotive & Mobility, and Ronen Melnik, Head of Global Clients Division at Konecta, about the state of play in this broad sector and what the future may hold for it. 

Guillaume Langle, Konecta’s Head of Global Automotive & Mobility

Guillaume says: “Mobility takes in a lot of complementary  services – You take your car to drive to the station, then a train to the next city,  , an e-scooter, or a tram, and probably walk the last mile. And the important part of that trip is for it to be simple to purchase, seamless to use, all mobility providers fitting their services well  one after the other.. 

“There are two main audiences for mobility providers,” explains Ronen. “On one hand, there are the customers – the people using the service to get from point A to B or receiving the products they order. On the other, there are the drivers who are taking the people and goods to where they need to go. 

“From a CX perspective, we think about people on the move. It doesn’t make too much of a difference if they are in a car being driven to a destination, riding an e-scooter, or taking a delivery from a restaurant to a customer’s house. There are obviously differences with each scenario, but the principles are largely the same.”

A challenging backdrop

After the exponential growth when mobility services first came onto the scene, the Covid-19 pandemic put a brake on the sector. According to figures from Statista, the global shared mobility market shrank from $1.3 trillion to $730 billion between 2019 and 2020. Although there has been some rebound since, the sector was still behind pre-pandemic output at $1.12 billion. 

“Growth is stagnant for a lot of the big players; the big innovation is behind us,” says Ronen. “The initial revolution of mobility has plateaued and, at the same time, there are increasing challenges around regulation, cyber security, and the journey towards net zero in different markets. Competition is high, people expect them to be cheap and fast as a minimum and drivers are harder and harder to retain.

“All of this is resulting in rising costs. Mobility companies can’t scale up and down indefinitely, as they could in the past, and it is becoming more difficult to run a network. Drivers will move where they can make more money and customers will can wherever is cheapest. Companies have to guarantee hours and respond to changing levels of demand, which requires them to plan their capacity much more carefully.”

Guillaume adds: “Car manufacturers have understood that and are now breaking the internal departments' silos – from the digital experience to sales and then finance and after sales and of course insurance. A customer had to deal with multiple different companies for each part, sharing their details over and over again, and it was a very piecemeal and inefficient way of doing things. There is still a gap between car manufacturers' maturity in this new organisation to make a more streamlined process that supports customers through the process – and that requires a degree of investment.

Two sides of the same coin

Drivers’ and mobility providers are connected through apps – in both cases it is the unique way they directly engage with the companies. In that sense, they are consumers of a service, but on different sides of the same coin. For drivers, though, 

Ronen Melnik, Head of Global Clients Division at Konecta

“The big differentiation between providers is around CX,” Ronen argues. “You have to make sure the drivers are happy – an unhappy driver or delivery person performing poorly can cause a significant reduction in revenue, so the importance of the employee has increased a lot. 

“They are the constant – particularly in big cities where there is a lot of competition. A customer may order one pizza per week, but the driver might do 40 deliveries every day. Most of their interactions companies have with their drivers are digital – even at the onboarding stage – and so the app and its usability is of paramount importance.”

The priorities for customers are slightly different, but inextricably linked to drivers’ use of the apps as well. There are also some seemingly counterintuitive developments in how services users want to use the app, says Ronen: “The availability of drivers, alongside the ease of use, is the main priority for customers. 

“There are also some unexpected developments. With some of the bigger players in the sector, the dominant way of interacting with consumers has been through digital, but there is a premium attached to voice. More people want to communicate this way, particularly as the average age of users increases and effective troubleshooting becomes more important. Voice is absolutely necessary in certain situations – for instance, emergencies or disputes.” 

Guillaume agrees, adding: “When it comes to automotive, car manufacturers have tended to think about the vehicle first and then the customer experience delegated to dealers. This is changing, as OEMs now have access to each customer, can upsell car options through the brand App, and even anticipate potential future car breakdown thanks to telematics. The dealer's role is changing like it has never before, Tesla doesn't sell cars in their dealerships…only online. What happens then, when you have a question, or you are stuck in front of your screen because you can’t find the accessory you need?

How Konecta can support

Regardless of which channel is being used, there has to be an apparatus behind the scenes making sure customer care is up to standard, offering a frictionless experience at a variety of levels. Although mobility services are mostly digital and app-based, both for the driver and the consumer, there is a lot of human care that goes into each channel.

Konecta is a leading provider of customer experience business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions, working with some of the sector’s largest companies. Ronen explains how Konecta works with its clients to set themselves apart from their competitors. 

“We support our agents by giving them an understanding of the culture of the markets they serve,” he says. “If they are based in Manila, and they have perhaps only tried pasta a few times, then they may not know the difference between penne and tagliatelle in a situation where there has been a mistake with an order. 

“Solving language issues is a big part of what we do. It is a big resistance point – when people are talking to someone who doesn’t understand the issue they are talking about, they are not empowered to solve the problem. We use digital translation tools to help our people understand how they can help customers in the best way possible. 

“Context is equally important. If there is a big event in a specific city, then agents need to be made aware and know how to support drivers and explain to customers why there are delays. A big part of our training for agents focusses on these areas. We create micro-teams for specific cities and give them an environment that helps immerse them in their markets. If we have 100 people serving the UK, they will be in a room with the BBC on TV and they will know what events are on. 

“We’ll also provide daily briefings for people on the frontline of service delivery. We can predict that there will be peaks for takeaway or taxi services in certain areas, helping to plan ahead and make things as straightforward as possible for everyone involved.”

A multi-dimensional experience

Guillaume concludes: “Mobility is a multi-dimensional customer experience. Konecta has helped deliver that for a number of automotive and public transport clients taking a customer centric approach. We build knowledge bases, AI generated and self learning, which enable our teams to answer any questions, on any subjects related to their product through a mix of voice, chats, and social networks.

“Whatever form of transport they are taking, customers want to be confident about planning their journey and then their actual experience matching up to that. Equally, they want to know they can reach out for instant support or admin support at a later date.

“Ultimately, mobility is an increasingly challenging business – but it is also full of opportunities. Scale is important and margins may be tight, yet there is a lot that companies can do to step ahead of their competitors through CX. Sharp, disciplined service is key, and Konecta serves more than 20 mobility providers worldwide and  can support you in delivering that better, more personalised customer support .”

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