Keep customer needs at the heart of your strategy to reap rewards

Christopher Macleod, marketing director, TfL
Christopher Macleod, marketing director, TfL

Until transporter rooms become a reality (I'm sure Google is working on it), transport is going to remain profoundly analogue, writes Christopher Macleod, marketing director at Transport for London.

But while reliable and consistent service will always be at the heart of any transport business, good information also has a huge part to play, helping people plan journeys, get service-status updates and navigate the occasional delay. It can also help in avoiding travel "hot spots", as we saw during last summer’s Olympic Games in London.

The scope to provide better information is being facilitated by the rapid growth in digital channels and devices; 58% of Londoners now have a smartphone – checking them up to 150 times a day, apparently.

At TfL, we’re responding with a digital strategy that focuses on mobile – our website now has 20m visits a month, with mobile likely to overtake desktop inside the year – and is multichannel, using the full range of digital services to provide customers with the best possible experience. So, for example, our number of Twitter followers has risen to 500,000 from a standing start in 2012 and we have brought wi-fi to 120 Tube stations.

What have we learned rolling out this programme? One thing that isn’t new is to always keep customer needs and behaviour as your reference point. It’s too easy with new technology to get seduced by features that aren’t really needed or can’t eventually be delivered. But you can learn from feedback; which is why we’ve just launched our new website in a beta version first (take a look at tfl.gov.uk/beta).

Providing information openly and in easily accessible forms is improving how people view us, with our reputation on the up.

Value for money is important, so we look for all developments to cut costs while improving service. We’ve been particularly encouraged by the results of our "open data" policy, where we make available for free a wide range of data such as Tube, bus and roads status for developer and media use, improving our reach and saving us development costs. There is now a community of 5000 developers distributing our information and launching scores of "TfL-powered" apps.

But the pressure to match the best in customer service never stops. So we’ll continue to roll out new features enabling greater personalisation and making us easier to do business with. Providing all this information openly and in easily accessible forms is improving how people view us, with our reputation on the up.

Which only leaves me to say: "Beam me up, Scotty".

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Ritz returns to UK TV screens after 30-year hiatus
Mars creates chief health and wellbeing officer role
Brands make the most of Germany's dramatic victory over Brazil
Adios Justin King! Watch our video tribute as he leaves Sainsbury's after a decade
Nike calls time on 13-year Manchester United kit deal
Three TV ad banned over misleading 'free' call claims
GNM boss David Pemsel: 'The Guardian has got its mojo back'
M&S has missed a massive opportunity to put digital strategy at its heart
Google partners with the Barbican to show coders are artists
Samaritans encourages men to talk about issues with #DownNotOut campaign
Lego's partnership with Shell 'not awesome', according to Greenpeace viral
Chevrolet launches £350m Manchester United shirt deal with nostalgic video
Warburtons rebrands to 'Warbeartons' in Paddington Bear movie tie-up
M&S blames new website as non-food sales fall again
Top 10 skills for young creative talent: The Mad Men era of on-the-job learning is long gone
Pepsi Max calls on fans to take part in Kelly Rowland video
From mutton chops to manscaping, Gillette takes a trip through 100 years of male grooming
Digital democracy creation: how the marketing industry made its voice heard
Three prints spoof apology letter to hapless holiday-less consumers
Sponsors congratulate Novak Djokovic on Wimbledon win
Cristiano Ronaldo launches CR7 fashion range and website
How eBay drove awareness of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for Sony Pictures
Lidl plots 'more British' brand in drive for customers
WeChat-owner Tencent on China's impact on international marketing - not vice versa
Imperial War Museum releases film announcing WWI exhibition
Why brand and music collaborations need to work for the fans, not the brands
Viral review: Star Trek's Zachary Quinto has Independence Day fun with Newcastle Brown Ale
Why brands should beware of Facebook's emotional engineering
Beats by Dre turns up the heat ahead of the France v Germany World Cup game
Top 10 ads of the week: Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul helps XBox reach top