By George Aveling, CEO of TACK TMI Malaysia


I used to be bamboozled by the world of digital. The new language was scaring the pants off me. Digital disruption, IOT, AI, big data, sophisticated and mysterious algorithms, bots…and the list goes on.

I was feeling out of my comfort zone until…

I realised that, the heart of all of this is still about delivering on the fundamentals of business – to provide a great customer experience in a simple, convenient and cost-effective way.

Big data is about taking understanding of customers to a deeper level. AI is about scanning data efficiently adding value to the customer experience – at unbelievably fast speeds. Algorithms help uncover customer needs, and the IOT is the new environment that is enabling this to happen.

So, here is the point: Don’t get bamboozled by the new digital wizardry and the terminology that goes with it. Fall in love with the possibilities that it creates to add value to your customers and your employees. The money will come after that.

So, how do we apply those fundamentals to the customer experience in the world of digital disruption?

Let me now turn to a digital company that I love because of the customer experience that it delivers. The company, Grab, is in the ride-hailing industry. It used to compete with Uber in this part of the world. It knew the psychology of the customer and of drivers better than Uber, resulting in Uber taking a share in Grab and then pulling out of the market.

Why I love the Grab digital customer experience

Grab has changed my life. Before Grab, taking a cab was mildly stressful. Would I be charged by the meter? Would the inside of the vehicle be odour-free, clean and tidy? What experience would I have with the driver?

Ride-hailing apps like Grab have disrupted the traditional taxi industry through the digital experience. Or, I should say, through a customer experience that combines digital and traditional elements.

The Grab customer experience – focus on the few fundamentals that count

The Grab experience is designed to give its customers a stress-free, good value ride. It understands the expectations of its customers, and it designs a process to consistently deliver on those expectations.

So, what are those expectations? While I am not privy to the research that Grab has carried out, I have a feeling it revolves around the few fundamentals that matter most to customers.

First, it’s about empowerment. When you order a Grab, you have a feeling of control. You know the price in advance. You know how long it will be before the car arrives. You can see exactly where the car is located on its way to you. I am a Grab passenger, and yet I feel that it puts me in the driver’s seat!

Second, Grab makes it easy for me. The app is super easy to understand. And, it makes it easy for me to pay automatically by credit card. It emails me my receipt. And, I can have the receipt put on a company account. How easy is that?

Third, Grab has a process in place to deliver a consistently good cab experience. It makes it easy for me to give feedback. It gives me a feeling of control. I can give instant feedback. And, at the same time, the customer feedback is a mechanism to motivate drivers to be their best on every ride. As a result, I get a consistently good experience from Grab drivers.

Fourth, Grab fares are good value. Even during peak periods, when prices are higher, I will still take a Grab. This shows, once again, that price is a factor, but it may not be the deciding factor in consumer choice.

Grab has stuck to the fundamentals of the customer experience in the digital world. And, success has followed.

So, here is the message.

Amid all of the shiny bells and whistles that technology provides, the aim is to design it to deliver a customer experience that puts a smile on customers’ faces.

Digital is not about technology. It’s about delivering a human experience. Focus on your customers in a digital world and, like Grab, you will be a winner.

One last post-script. After reading this blog, someone asked me whether I am being paid to write it by Grab. The answer is no!

And in this there is another message from the fundamentals of the customer experience: deliver a consistently good customer experience, and you will create raving fans who become your best marketing ambassadors.

Until next time.

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