Liam O’Brien
March 30, 2020

Dynamics for Transport, and why Japanese oysters are so great

A few months ago I was thrown off a plane to Ireland, after I had gotten all the way to my seat, because I only had my driving license for ID (no passport). Which is particularly frustrating, because I have Irish citizenship anyway. D’oh!

I hate to say it, but obviously, it was a little bit my own fault. In my defence, I’d flown to Ireland loads of times before without my passport and assumed it would be the same this time. No-one in the airport stopped me from getting onto the plane. It would have been easy to pick up the passport if the airline had sent me a reminder that morning about the documents I’d need to fly.

I wonder how many other little brain fades like mine happen across the UK transport network every day. Or just small frustrations with the way things seem to run, where it feels like the whole system is trying to ruin your day?

Filling in the CX potholes

I’ve been thinking (as usual) about where Dynamics could help solve some of these issues. There are a whole bunch of these customer experience moments which might have simple fixes. You wait half an hour for a bus, and then three come along at once. You get to the airport two hours early, and then find out the plane is delayed anyway. You get on a train only to find out that your season ticket expired a couple of days ago.

Compare that to the customer experience with most taxi firms. You get an automated text when the taxi is dispatched to tell you the make, model and number plate. Then you get another one when it arrives, with the name of the driver (in case you’re sociable enough to strike up a conversation, unlike me). At one of my local firms, they even recognise my phone number and offer to send a car straight to my home address when I call. None of these things speed up my journeys, but they massively improve my experience as a customer.

Travel is stressful, and small touches make a big difference. Letting passengers know that their season ticket is coming up for renewal, or giving live updates for when the next bus will arrive, or sending a passport reminder on the morning of their flight. That can all be managed through Dynamics – especially with push notifications through Power Apps.

Getting things on track

I met up with the team at ixRM recently, who develop this kind of thing for transport operators with their Passenger365 solutions. It’s a really nice example of how well it can be done, and once you’ve built it for one client it’s transferrable to others. You could even link up the apps for different regional franchises – like multi-city bus companies.

For example, a few years ago in Japan they integrated all local transport systems in the major hub cities. So you can now buy a reloadable ‘Pasmo’ card in Tokyo for the local trains, trams, buses and monorail, and then use the same card for transit in Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and so on. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do the same with an Oyster card in the UK? (Hey, that’s where the blog title came from!)

Some of this is slightly blue-sky thinking, but the data is all available to make it happen. Transport companies can accurately track where their vehicles are with GPS. Combine that with road traffic data and your CRM, and you could give passengers accurate, real-time updates about their journeys. It would also help reduce the number of calls to your clients’ contact centres, saving them money there.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has done something like this for their clients, or is thinking about it. Drop me a message and let’s see what we can do.