A small case study on collecting “Service Feedback”, by our Senior Director Naga Chokkanathan:
Redbus.in is a very famous Indian portal for booking bus tickets. It got (and continues to get) lot of media publicity (mostly free) and as a result, grew from an unknown entity to a well known and trusted brand in a very short time frame.
In the last few months, I heard great things about Redbus via various sources (Newspapers, Television Channels, Magazines, Friends, Relatives, Social Media Pals etc.,) but never had a chance to use their website, mainly because of two reasons : 1. I prefer train travel’s comforts 2. Few years back I had some VERY BAD experience with private bus operators, and decided never to go back.
However, two weeks back, I was forced to travel by bus because train tickets were not available on the day I wanted to travel. With zero motivation / interest, I went to redbus.in.
To cut a long story short, I loved RedBus website, very little content, but presented in the manner that makes sense to the end user, No gimmicks, wonderful interfaces which are intuitive and make the booking process very fast, Integration with almost all popular payment channels, discount coupons, cash vouchers, SMS confirmation, Email Confirmation, Mobile Ticketing… It had everything!
So, I booked my first RedBus ticket, traveled in a private bus after many years, and next day morning, I got an Email, with a subject line “How was your travel?”
It was a mail from Redbus.in asking for feedback about my travel, with a personalized link to a very short form, which took just one or two minutes for me to fill, Nice!
But the best part is, the way Redbus uses this feedback data. They collect this information and decide on the rankings for various bus operators. For example, “xyz travels” may have a 4 star rating, and “abc travels” may have a 2 star rating. Next time when someone else books a ticket, they will know who is more reliable, punctual and providing a better service / care to the travelers.
More than any other Redbus.in feature, this impressed me the most. As I told earlier, I had very bad experience with few bus operators and Redbus is helping me avoid them, by collecting feedback from all its travelers. As long as people take that one or two minutes to fill out the feedback form, the social ranking system will ensure that good operators get more business and bad people are ignored, even if they sell tickets and cheap rates, People won’t have bad experiences anymore (hopefully!)
Also, this forces the bus operators to improve. They can’t rest on their laurels and continuously keep the service level high, else, they miss the online business, which is growing everyday.
Good job Redbus, This feedback system is a primary differentiator between you and all other retail sites / eStores out there in India.
As a CRM consultant, I can see the value in this huge data Redbus is collecting, wanted to share some feedback about how they can improve this in future:
1. In India, there are more indirect internet users, than direct. What I mean is, many people just ask their son or daughter or neighbor to just ‘book a ticket for me’. They may never use Redbus.in, but they are the ones who travel in those tickets booked
2. Hence, feedback has to be collected in two ways: Redbus Experience Feedback (From the person who booked the ticket) and Travel Experience Feedback (From the person who traveled), In some cases both may be same, but the current form assumes they are always the same, which is wrong
3. To solve this problem, Redbus can consider this:
- While booking a ticket, ask for the mobile number of at least one passenger
- After the travel is completed, send an Email to the person who booked the ticket (Redbus.in member), and an SMS to the person who traveled (Passenger)
- Email system is similar to what they have today, but it will only collect Redbus experience feedback
- SMS system will given them two toll free numbers, one for bad feedback and one for good feedback, If they liked the travel, they can call the good feedback system, Else, they can call the bad feedback system, where they can also register (in their own voice) why they didn’t like it
- This system ensures that Passengers can give the feedback even if they are not internet savvy. They needn’t type a feedback, they can speak, if possible in their own mother tongue (Not all Redbus users speak English, FYI!)
4. I opened the feedback Email in my iPhone and clicked on the link, it took me to Redbus.in home page. Looks like I need to go to my PC and fill the feedback, This not the right way, When someone is taking pains to click on the feedback link in their phone, it is better we respect them and collect the feedback then and there, no one will click that link twice (After all, giving feedback is work without any immediate benefits to me )
5. I am not sure if Redbus does it, but they should phase out bus operators who get bad feedback on a regular basis, or give them a time-frame (say “improve in 6 months, else get out”). This makes sure there is a healthy competition among bus operators to stay in Redbus.in database. (Of course, Redbus.in will lose some business because of this, but in the long run, it will become a gold standard for excellence in bus travel!)