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Customer Relationship Management Tips: Turn off the radio, please.

Turn-off-the-RadioIn San Francisco, where it’s hard to get a cab, there’s a car service I often use as an alternative. It’s called Uber. It’s not that much more than a cab. But it’s a heck of a lot faster, and it’s convenient, and it’s always available.

It’s Mobile: With a few clicks on my iPhone a clean Towncar pulls up to my home or office and whisks me away!

It’s Social: The driver and I rate each other at the end of the trip so subsequent drivers and passengers respectively see how each party is rated. They also have a great Facebook page.

It’s Open: The application runs on iPhone or Android, and it has my credit card on file so I never need to fumble for money.

But it’s not perfect. After using Uber enough times, I think it would be nice if they knew a few basic preferences—like typical destinations and so on. It also doesn’t give me a place to provide feedback.

Every time I get into the car, the driver always asks me where I am headed—which is usually the same location—the office. Also, I invariably need to ask the driver to turn off the radio and turn down the air conditioning. I’m not a high maintenance guy, but I feel like one every time I have to ask them to do this. Why not provide a way using their services application to store some basic preferences – destinations, radio, air conditioning, and other needs? If you can store my name and credit card, why not break out a new field for some basic preferences?

I think with so many companies reaching out to us and actually “knowing” us as consumers (our needs, preferences, etc.) our expectations have shifted. What was once a nicety is now more commonplace. A disconnect happens when companies don’t anticipate and know their customers’ needs in advance. Essentially, the customer, because of so many other innovative consumer-focused apps and services, is often many times ahead of what is provided to them.

This is the first of many examples I will blog about where I see a disconnect between customer expectations, what is provided to them, AND what companies can do to re-engage with their valued customers. The high bar set by a few innovative companies soon becomes the standard against which all are measured. This is especially true for luxury brands, where expectations are – well, Uber!

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Andrew ODriscoll

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