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The Accidental Customer

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Many customer experiences involve regular or repeat customers. Once you know the drill, it’s ‘all good’. But what about first time or occasional customers – the accidental tourists? Are you rolling out the welcome mat, or are you keeping new customers locked out because you make it too hard for first timers?

When it comes to public transport I am 100% a train guy. I know where they start and finish, which one to get, and that it will generally be on time. Lately though I’ve needed to move between locations in and around the city in a hurry, and unless I want to pay for a cab (and annoy  the driver with a small fare) it’s walk or bus. I walk a lot and I want to have a viable alternative so I am determined to become a competent bus user. Here’s my dilemma…

The routes that I am travelling are well serviced. In some cases I am led to believe that more than 50% of the buses go where I want to go. My great fear though is getting on a bus that misses the closest stop to my target destination, or worse, that it doesn’t stop at all! Alternatively if I wait doggedly for a specific number, I will potentially miss numerous buses that would have gotten me there earlier.

The other day, to my great relief, I travelled with an experienced bus commuter from the Cultural Centre at South Bank to the other end of Brisbane city. I happily left the choice of bus to her. She knew a few bus numbers that would do the job, but as we stood there with dozens of buses rolling past, we wondered if we were missing some that would do the job just as well. We asked a couple of bus drivers if they went the right way, but didn’t have any luck.

So we consulted the bus timetable at the bus stop (picture on the right). Struggling to read the detail?  Me too!  Unless you know exactly what number you’re looking for, or where the bus terminates 30 min after you’ve got off, it’s useless!

Which brings me to the other option I have to help me – the Translink trip planner app. Why does it have to give me a short list of individual options that involve walking short distances and buses that actually arrive 5 minutes late or early, rather than simply giving me a list of all the buses that will take me where I want to go???? Arghhhh!!!!

It seems the only way to become comfortable with using buses is to build your experience by trial and error and to learn all the numbers that do the job. But what if I’m going somewhere slightly different? Surely it doesn’t have to be this hard!

Thank goodness I get to catch the train home tonight!

Are you looking to grow your business and appeal to new customers? How do you balance satisfying the old and the new at the same time? Do your experiences welcome in new or occasional customers, or do you have the front door slammed shut? If so, you may be retarding your business’ growth. Talk to us at 3rdView about getting the balance right between your long-time customers and those looking to try you out today.

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On October 18, 2013
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