Five Tools to Reactivate the Passenger Experience

Very little has been easy in these times, including grocery shopping, meeting up with a friend to grab coffee, or simply getting out the door without forgetting your mask.

But with every challenge comes an opportunity – transportation routines and behaviors are reforming, and now is the perfect time to revisit shelved ideas to reactivate the passenger experience.

Put these five applications into play – today.

  1. Reduce Friction

COVID-19 has added additional steps to everyday life. I spend much of my week identifying how I can help transport operators reduce friction by streamlining passenger information, making sure riders get the right information at the right time.

Ask yourself: What can I do to make the process easier?

Reexamine your passenger journey, from doorstep to destination. Consider challenging your team to map out the passenger experience, and remove any non-essential steps in the process. This is not always easy, but the results will be worthwhile. In the wise words from UX Mastery, “Every interaction a customer has with an organization has an effect on satisfaction, loyalty, and the bottom line.”

  1. Seek Simplicity 

Decision fatigue is a real human condition (especially right now). User research shows time and time again how simplicity wins over abundance of choices.

Ask yourself: Are there places where you are unnecessarily introducing choice for your passengers?

Consider experimenting with ways you can streamline. My favorite way to do this is to take a given experience, (for example, purchasing pages on your website) and start removing items (sentences, buttons, etc.), asking along the way “Does this page still make sense?”, if the answer is yes keep going, until you can simplify no more.

  1. Be Memorable

Change is the only constant these days, but do not let stand in the way of reliable messaging. I often suggest that transport operators keep their core messaging on-hand, even printed out or on a sticky note, nearby. That way it is easy to reference when writing any communications.

Ask yourself: Is your messaging consistent across all passenger touch points (website, mobile app, signage)?

Consistency will not only boost your brand leadership, but it will also be remembered. In this COVID climate, passengers will be checking for changes in your service. Don’t let them be disappointed by inconsistent or outdated information.

  1. Design for Extremes and Mainstreams

This time-tested design approach involves interviewing passengers that fall outside of the mainstream (on the extremes) to understand new perspectives. For example, what does the passenger experience look like for a rider who is 7’ tall? What about for someone 4’ 11”? How about a 94-year-old vs. a 18 year old?

Ask yourself: Which audiences might you reach out to gain a new perspective?

I have always found these types of interviews give fresh eyes to old problems. As noted in IDEO’s design toolkit, “An idea that suits an extreme user will nearly certainly work for the majority of others. And without understanding what people on the far reaches of your solution need, you’ll never arrive at solutions that can work for everyone. More importantly, talking to extreme users can spark your creativity by exposing you to use cases, hacks, and design opportunities that you’d never have imagined.”

  1. Back to Basics

I hear from transit operators across the region that they spend a significant amount of time developing and executing mass surveys. Consider replacing large annual efforts with smaller, more frequent feedback mechanisms (push notifications, on-vehicle QR codes, onboard Wi-Fi pages). This way you are always collecting feedback – getting real-time sentiment and not asking riders to remember how they felt on their last ride. GoMedia’s Vision Research Solution is a good place to start.

Ask yourself: What is working today? What is not working? What has worked in the past? What would they like to see in the future? What is essential and what can be left behind?

These fundamental questions remain important for any service longevity. Refocus your efforts on research to truly understand passenger needs in today’s post-COVID era.

Connectivity is at the core of raising passenger experience to new levels. We continue to bring innovative technologies to market that enhance the journey, by supporting behind the scenes (back-end operation services), and front of house (passenger Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment, passenger information services). We hope you will join us in building a brighter, more connected future in transportation.