I always find it interesting when people fight the inevitable.
I live and work in the Washington D.C. area and fly out of Washington Dulles often. Like most in the tech industry, I use Uber or Lyft to get to and from the airport. It is convenient, reliable and most of all, easy. All I need is my phone and the app.
To me, it is the opposite of the taxi industry, which in my experience has been inconsistent and at times an unpleasant experience. I don’t live far from the airport, so those folks driving taxis don’t love my business since the fare isn’t too much. On the other hand, those driving for Uber and Lyft are just fine with it because they know there is demand all over the area. What I always find interesting about businesses that disrupt markets is how those who oppose change like to frame the discussion.
I was reading a Washington Post article where the Airport Authority is trying to impose restrictions on services such as Lyft and Uber. In the article they state, “Airport officials say they are aware of the growing demand for the app-based ground transportation choices and want customers to have access to the options they desire while also ensuring the quality of the services and passenger safety.” If you read on most of the article and comments are about keeping the playing field level, since the cabs are required to meet certain licensing and regulation requirements.
What isn’t discussed is the fact the industry itself has gotten disrupted. Why? Because these companies are thinking about what’s best for the customer, not just the business. Time and time again digital disruption keeps rolling along and companies that are not prepared for the transformation are getting run over. They are trying to swim upstream.
The same is true when providing service to customers.
Customers are just plain busy. They want to get things done quickly and with low effort. They want to help themselves if a solution is easy. They want companies to enable them to get things done. That means empowering employees to meet customer expectations, leveraging technology to make it easier and smarter, and embracing the fact that their market is being challenged—so they must innovate.
If you do that, you might have a satisfied customer on your hands. Don’t underestimate the value of satisfied customers. It gives you a foundation to work off of. If the rest of your digital puzzle is compelling, innovative and customer-centered, you might even gain their loyalty or advocacy. At a minimum, you won’t be swimming upstream.