What Every B2B Company Can Learn about Customer Experience from Renting a Bike
On a recent trip to Berlin, I could not help but notice the multitude of rental bikes strewn across the city. There are no less than a dozen companies competing in the booming bike share business.
I’d used a bike share once before in the States a couple of years ago, but the industry has come a long way from swiping a credit card to rent a bike from a central bay.
This new experience blew me away.
On a quiet street somewhere between Tiergarten and Karlsplatz I rented my first Mobike. Here’s how it works: You download the Mobike app and sign up with your name and email. Immediately, the app scans your area for the closest bike. Turns out there was one 20 meters from where I was standing. As you approach the bike, the app loads a barcode reader, which you use to scan the bike. Like magic, the bike unlocks, and you are off and riding.
As you pedal your way through the city, Mobike tracks your mileage. When you are done, you can leave the bike anywhere. Amazing. You lock the bike and receive confirmation of your charges.
For this ride, I cruised about an hour and the total cost was under two euros. Remember, that I was not asked for a credit card to sign up. It’s only after your first ride that Mobike asks for a card to load up your account. I put 10 euros on my account for future rides.
The whole experience left me smiling—and amazed. By combining hardware, software, and IoT, Mobike has reduced all the friction points and created tons of loyalty correlators that drive repeat usage. What do I mean? Well, in terms of reducing friction points, they made it incredibly easy:
- Download the app and sign up: First name, last name, and email only. No onerous forms or credit card required.
- Locate a bike: By allowing existing users to drop the bike anywhere in the city, you are never more than a few hundred meters away from a bike. They’ve embedded transponders into each bike, and the bikes show up as pins on the app. Genius.
- Unlock the bike: Scan and go.
The initial experience provided near-immediate gratification, which is the most important element of any new product experience.
Loyalty correlators are things that keep a customer coming back. Mobike has this in spades.
- Branding: The bikes are bright orange and hard to miss, and their design is stylish and modern.
- Accessibility: The bikes are everywhere, putting their product wherever customers are.
- First experience: By delivering an easy and memorable first experience, they won my future business.
What does a B2C bikeshare have to do with B2B customer experience? Everything.
Consumer experiences are reshaping our expectations for B2B and enterprise applications. Every day we interact with intuitive, instantly usable software and hardware. As a result, the hurdle for “good enough” is rising. B2B companies no longer get points for delivering intuitive web and mobile experiences. That’s the ante into the game. Market leaders need to look beyond those core elements to identify ways to surprise and delight their customers. Like Mobike, innovative B2B companies need to create a frictionless customer journey, one that anticipates the user’s needs and hides complexity behind hardware, software, and IoT.
At ATPCO, we are looking at how we can digitize and simplify all customer touchpoints – from research, to buying, to onboarding, support, training, and renewal. In addition, we are developing a three-year strategy to simplify and modernize our product user experience. We’re embracing customer centricity and recognize that while we are transforming our customer experience, our customers are doing the same.
There’s never been a more exciting or critical time to embrace customer centricity.
Enjoy the ride. Share your thoughts on B2B customer experience when you see us at our premier B2B event, Elevate 2018.