Can anyone beat tech companies to ownership of the customer relationship?


One of the big reasons transport operators give for not releasing big data is because it might give away too much information about the customer and the relationship.

In this article in Passenger Transport Abellio’s Mike Kean puts forward a good discussion on whether operators can have a relationship with customers. Already we “trust” Google and Apple with a great deal of our data, they also deliver some fantastic tools to make life easier. The big tech companies are already branching into payments and journey planning. How long before they take this to booking your tickets, or even reading your diary and proposing the best travel solution and the chance to buy tickets?

This is not a huge leap of the imagination with current technology. It will be interesting to see if both sides decide to battle it out for the customer relationship or if they work together to provide a better end to end service. My bet is on which ever transport companies aligns first with the tech companies – they will gain a significant advantage.

Back to big data, the sooner operators realise that there are lots of bright people and companies out there who can make better use of data, the better. Most operators have more data than they ever use. Make it public and people will soon put it to good use and create some things that we will not even have thought about yet.

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