Challenges of introducing technology to the age-old industry
When technology meets the new world with old problems
Mind: How about getting the car repaired?
Mind a minute later: Maybe next week. Its too much a hassle.
We are trying to change this second thought at Bumper using technology. We believe the car owners should love the car and not worry about its repair.
Remember the cab-hailing experience before Uber — hand waving, wait for confirmation and surprise in the bill. It’s was too much a hassle. Now — Just tap a button in the app. No hassle and no surprise in getting from point A to Point B. Simple.
Technology does make things that simple. No Hassle and no surprise in Price, Quality and Time to Deliver — An experience unknown to most of the old and highly fragmented industries like automotive, housing, education. But doing so has its own challenges and here are 3 of ours which frustrate and excite us at the same time. Overcoming them in a cost-effective way is the only solution.
1. Innovation is not encouraged because experts don’t ask “why”
We meet a lot of industry experts and veterans to understand the industry. Although, they provide very valuable information critical to us but probably are blinded by their own knowledge. And so confident in what is already working that its becomes impossible to consider feasibility of something new.
“That’s how it works” is the most common statement I get to hear from the experts.
“Why”s are not entertained by the experts as no one asked it from ages and hence unknown to most of them.
- It pushes the team closer to things that are possible now instead of what will be possible tomorrow
- No “why”s starts to creep in the culture and thought process. It is detrimental to innovation. That’s scary.
- Resistance and hence slowness in learning and adapting to new technical advances.
2. Nothing is defined for the educated customers’ of today
Definitions give common language to communicate or otherwise the only path is no Definitions > no Common Language > Broken Communication > unempathetic Customer Experience.
Unfortunately, latter is true. Defining terms is not the forte of this industry and is not known for communication. Here is an example of conversation—
Customer: Can you fix this here. See here. How much will you charge
Workshop guy: Ya sure. It will be around Rs 3000+. Why don’t you get this door also fixed. Together it will be cheaper
Customer: Not sure. But ok, fix it.
Here, customer is unable to ask basic questions clearly like what needs to be repaired, what is the fix, does it even need a fix, how much will it cost etc. because right words don’t exist to ask question and hence to answer them. Everything is “this” “here”, tentative and uncertain. Result —
- Confused and unhappy customer whose trust is shaken
- Businesses or its agents use it to sell more and for more to an already confused customer for a short term gain.
- Unprepared ecosystem for the use of technology which is to be fed with clear problem statements and definitions to do its job. We don’t have either.
3. No existing processes, systems or benchmark metrics
Being pioneer is never easy for anyone in any industry. Technology is new to this industry and hence we are building everything from scratch – brick by brick. Result —
- Systems are not in place for efficiency and customer experience to create value and build trust
- No processes to leverage technology
- Non-existent benchmarks which means nothing to compare against for success or failure at every juncture.
Its like Navigating in the ocean without a compass and hence the sense of direction.
Although, its not a problem that is unknown to startups, but who doesn’t have wishes. Every startup has some real problems to solve and these are ours.
So, here we are.
We are trying to create opportunities out of these challenges.
1. Creating a culture of customer first and “why”s
There cant be any innovation without a “why”. We are asking “why” at every step and answering them. First principles thinking is what we would want to apply ideally but we are lightyears away from it. Elon Musk explains it pretty well in this Youtube video.
We need “why”
- To question the current processes and then improve them
- To identify the right problems which are overlooked for years.
- To break the status quo and keep looking for new ways to help customers
We are answering every “why” and redesigning flows, communication and processes if answer needs it.
2. Define every single unknown
Define every term, process, cost, effort in the current and proposed processes. In a way, we are creating a new language for car repair industry which will be used by everyone — customers, customer care, marketing, website, apps, operations and business partners.
Our goal is to enable customer give the requirement and experts provide the solution with no ambiguity in any promised price, time and quality
This approach has shown a very positive results till now and is improving the overall communication every day. This is the bridge between the business and its customers.
Every question can be answered objectively with our language and that’s the foundation of customer experience. We can better understand and then serve the customer.
Result is red box in here — https://www.behance.net/gallery/57586015/Bumper-Website-and-App-Design
3. Creating processes and flows blended in technology
Question for us — How technology can solve the problem of quality at right price, transparency and brand?
- Design happy customer flow
- Identify problems in the flow and solve problems in priority order
- Find benchmarks from the closest reference
- Measure the impact and raise the benchmark
- Repeat the process
- Use direct customer feedback and smart judgement to know when the problem is solved and move to the next one.
Customer care executives and drivers are our bridge to the customer. We get most of the feedback from them other than by directly talking to the customer and data analytics.
Redesign process, recreate flows and keep raising benchmark value till your team talking to the customer is satisfied
Some Insights and Revelations
- Its not what you see. No definition no solution no process is right. Expect every existing thing to change.
- Gap in any decade old industry and customer expectations is huge and deep rooted. Use it as an opportunity.
- Industry experts are biased for the status quo even if they are not happy with it. Know what to ignore.
- Use the right English to define the unknowns. Every word should be at the right place. No generic words are allowed
- Great team is the must to even try to solve problems of this scale.
- Fortunately, we have a great team.