The Travel Summit 2020

June 2020, San Diego, USA

The Travel Summit 2020 is travel's largest gathering of CX and marketing executives set to revolutionize hospitality with analytics-driven AI

Ready? Gett set to 'always exceed customer expectations'

Gett, the on-demand mobility platform for worldwide corporate ground transportation, is using behavioural economics and social sciences to build winning products for mobile. Pamela Whitby hears more

What tips does Gett Director of Product Tamar Schultz have for other organisations developing new, innovative and business winning products for mobile? “If they are in our space, they should just keep doing what they are doing and we will do something better,” she says.

Jokes aside, over the past three years, the Israeli on-demand mobility platform for worldwide corporate ground travel, which became operationally profitable in late 2019, has been honing its strategy ahead of a planned IPO this year. Although it remains unclear how current global economic uncertainty will impact the industry, the vision, says Schultz, who will be speaking at the Travel Summit 2020, remains clear:  "We want to take care of all employees ground transportation needs by aggregating them into one place, regardless of where their job takes them."

Gett Director of Product Tamar Schultz who will be speaking at the Travel Summit 2020 (San Diego June 1-2)

Founded in 2010, and formerly known as GettTaxi, today the firm has 15,000 corporate clients, a presence in 1,500 business centres across Europe, the US, and Canada, and has completed over 50-million journeys.

Ahead of the San Diego event, Schultz shared four short lessons for product development. 

Lesson 1: The promise you deliver you customer is never enough

As part of her role, Schultz, who will be speaking in San Diego, is considering how behavioural economics and other social science insights can improve the product and drive business results. “There is a lot of room for experimentation and learning. It’s fascinating,” she says, but is quick to add that “this way of approaching things requires a really big change in mind set,” she says.

Unlike traditional product thinking, which looks mostly at user needs, this approach requires teams to:

  • Look for new opportunities
  • Find places where it is possible to influence behaviour by better catering to decision-making processes
  • Understanding how memory works; people tend to remember the beginning and the end of experience most clearly.

This is not easy but what she can say with some degree of certainty is this: “Simply delivering on what you promise your customers is not enough, even if that itself isn’t always easy.”

In Gett’s case, the promise is a two-sided marketplace for riders and drivers. Riders expect a car to turn up at the tap of a button and deliver them to their destination in the shortest timeframe possible. Drivers, on the other hand, expect regular work. “That is the expectation, and no one says ‘Wow!’ when we only deliver our promise on that valuable service. So the game is always to exceed customer expectations,” she says.

Lesson 2: The simplest ideas often deliver the greatest value

Schultz is constantly on the look out for companies that are making a difference, or who have created something that delivers the wow factor. Netflix is one company that is successfully applying behavioural science and is exceeding customer expectations. “You almost feel like they have read your mind. They are one step ahead of you. They manage to give you want you want without having to think about it,” she says.

Another company that has surprised and delighted her is automotive firm Toyota. “When you enter and exit my car, you don’t have to use the keys. You simply hover your hand over the handle and the windows go up and mirrors collapse. I can’t help thinking how brilliant this is every time I lock my car,” she says.

Often it is the small things that can make the biggest difference

This is a good example of a company delivering a great experience by tapping into how memory works. “As I’ve already mentioned, people tend to remember the beginning and the end of an experience. Something trivial like how a car locks and unlocks itself may not define the quality of the ride, which lets face it, is more affected by traffic than by Toyota, but goes a long way to create a positive experience when you leave your car. Often it is the small things that can make the biggest difference,” Schultz says.

Lesson 3: Always delve deeply into the stats before claiming success 

Getting product development right isn’t easy and a specific test that Gett ran to boost driver engagement during rush hour is a case in point. “The idea,” says Schultz, “was to change the choice mechanics of the ride offer.”

Prior to the test, the default setting was that drivers were offered a ride and could either accept or reject it. The question, ‘Do you want this ride?, could be answered with a simple yes or no. They were given around 15 to 20 seconds to respond, and if they failed to do so, the offer was sent to another driver.

In the test scenario the default was switched. This meant that if drivers did not respond to the offer the ride was theirs. The mental model switched ‘Do you want to take this ride (yes-no) to ‘the ride is yours unless you don’t want it.’   

This was one of those cases where the operation was a success but the patient died!” 

This was a risky step that really played with the core driver experience, and Schultz admits to being a little ‘scared of how they would react’. As it turned out, drivers loved it; they loved the fact that they were guaranteed the ride. Crucially, it provided certainty. 

However, because of the risky nature of this test, it was carefully tracked from day 1, using both success metrics and risk metrics. The key success metric was ‘rush hour engagement’, which rose by as much as 10% depending on the city. However, ‘ride cancellations’, the risk metric, also rose. “In the most extreme case, one in every five rides was cancelled and that was not something we could live with,” says Schultz. 

Drivers were cancelling more than usual because they didn’t notice the ride offer coming in in good time, and riders were cancelling as they were waiting too long to be picked up.

Interestingly, however, this led to a lasting change in behaviour but while there was a significant overall increase in rush hour engagement (even after excluding cancellations), the toll on the passenger's experience was not reasonable. So, Gett closed the experiment and did not proceed to full launch.

Schultz sums it up: “Even though overall the stats look good, and the new feature seemed a success, a closer look at the full picture and risk metrics told a different story. This was one of those cases where the operation was a success but the patient died!”  

Lesson 4: Provide certainty

The importance of providing certainty is something that Schultz believes has given Gett an edge over competitors. Since 2015, the group has shown the end destination to drivers so they can make a reasonable decision about whether this works for them. This is something that Uber only recently started implementing.

“The reason we show the drivers the destination is that it gives them some control. Letting somebody into your car and only finding out where you have to drop them at pick up is an unpleasant experience. It creates uncertainty,” she says. 

According to Schultz, the decision to give drivers a choice led to an “amazing” 3% increase in ride completions. It was a win-win for the business and for customers and a clear indication “that we need to keep finding things that benefit the business but also benefit our customers”.

If you would like to hear more from Tamar Schultz, Director of Product, Gett, and other leading brands including MGM Resorts, Airbnb, Vacasa, Hilton, Marriott and more, join us at the Travel Summit 2020 (San Diego June 1-2)

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