[Infographic] Anticipating the Ripple Effects of Change (Part 2): Driverless Cars

Last week I posted a fascinating video which illustrated the need to anticipate the ripple effects of change (see Cats in Borneo). The sidebar below provides you with a quick summary of the video. It reminds us how our decisions impact, and are impacted by, the complex systems that we live within.

Systems Thinking Summary

Today we are continuing that theme by illustrating some of the anticipated ripple effects of future change from driverless cars. As a futurist, I am wired to look to the future in order to help businesses anticipate changes which will impact their organizations. The impending changes that driverless cars will bring reveal significant changes in the next decade.

Graham Winfrey provides an insightful list of five industries which will change as a result of driverless cars:

  1. Fast Food. Believe it or not, 70 percent of sales at McDonald’s come from drive-thru customers (Bloomberg). When people enter their destination into a driverless car and press “go,” they’ll be less likely to change course mid-route to grab fast food. Why? When it’s just as convenient to go anywhere for food as it is to go to McDonald’s or Burger King, people will likely choose fast food less (CB Insights). On top of this change, fast food locations near gas stations are also likely to attract fewer customers, as driverless cars will probably refuel when they’re not transporting passengers.
  2. Entertainment. Freeing up people from operating motor vehicles will present consumers with new blocks of time to read the news or enjoy entertainment. This will create opportunities for broadcasters to send video content to screens inside driverless cars and for advertisers to serve location-specific ads about products and services passengers will be near on their trip.
  3. Hotels that derive a significant amount of business from single-night customers during road trips are set to lose a lot of business. Why? It’s likely that many travelers will simply decide to sleep in their cars rather pay for an overnight stay. To be sure, it may take 20 years or more for this to become commonplace, but the roadside motel seems like a less viable business proposition as driverless cars take over.
  4. Property Values. When commuting substantial distances to work in a car becomes less of an inconvenience, property values will likely shift. Instead of the highest values concentrated in urban areas, home values will likely spread out more evenly across cities and into suburban areas. Parking garages and other spaces built around human drivers may also be converted to serve other purposes, as autonomous driving technology gradually reshapes city planning.
  5. Short-haul flights: Though most people prefer flying to driving due to the quicker travel time, shorter flights will likely see a drop in customers. The convenience and lower cost of sitting in a driverless car will begin to appeal more to people who don’t want to go through the hassle of waiting in line at the airport, going through security, and paying for ground transportation once they’ve arrived at their destination (Winfrey).

The following infographic addresses the same topic but provides some fresh insights (Owyang).

Autonomus-world_F2_HighRes_RGB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there are many news stories which focus on driverless cars we are still in the early changes of thinking about the ripple effects of the changes they will cause in other industries. Successful companies and leaders will learn to anticipate changes such as the ones noted above. The ability to move more quickly than your competition is a key ingredient to strategic agility and  future-readiness.

In the past month our oldest child received his drivers license. I cannot help but wonder if this traditional adulthood right-of-passage is on the verge of becoming obsolete. Perhaps the DMV is yet another ripple in the pond of changes that driverless cars will bring.


Head ShotJeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: jeff@jeffsuderman.com

Sources

Jeremiah Owyang (Feb. 10, 2016). Chart: Autonomous Cars Change Every Industry, Even Yours.

Graham Winfrey (Feb. 2, 2016). 5 Surprising Industries That Will Be Transformed By Driverless Cars. Inc. on-line.

Image Credit: PBS

Customer Service – The Ritz-Carlton Way

Today’s blog contains a summary of a recent presentation about customer service. These ideas were delivered by Donald Lenahan, the Director of Hotel Operations at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Rancho Mirage, California. Mr. Lenahan provided some great insights and I know you will enjoy them.

Customer service.

We know that great organizations do it well! Each of us has received it and we have also provided it. We know what good service feels like and tell our friends about “that amazing time when…”. We also know what bad customer service looks like! In fact, statistics reveal that we tell our friends about bad customer service experiences more than we speak about the good ones! So how can we ensure that our organizations’ customer service efforts create positive experiences?

Effective customer service is something that the Ritz-Carlton has built their business on. It is not simply a core value – it is their core value! And this is why we often think of the Ritz-Carlton as a world class organization. The following seven principles provide insights about how you deliver customer service the Ritz-Carlton way.

  1. Define it. Clear expectations about customer service provide your team with the ability to know what matters. At the Ritz-Carlton, employees understand that their goal is to create happy customers. Exceptional customer service begins with exceptional attention to defining what it is, what it looks like, and what it feels like.
  2. Hire it. “Effective interviewing is about early talent identification”. The Ritz-Carlton has a rigorous and demanding hiring process which involves several different stages. This attention to screening for customer service ability on the front end helps minimize service issues after they are hired.
  3. Train it. “You have to build a service culture. This means training, training, training! We must set clear expectations early on!” The Ritz-Carlton has a thorough training program for new employees. However, what sets them apart may be the retraining they continually do with their current employees! Training ensures that they are continually reinforcing the customer service values of the Ritz-Carlton with all of their staff.
  4. Communicate it. “All of the people in our company are talking about the same thing every day”. The Ritz-Carlton reinforces excellence with weekly reminders which reinforce key customer service themes. Repetitive use of tools such as their training matrix, the 12 service standards and their employee promise all work together to continually reinforce service priorities.
  5. Empower it. “Customer service mistakes will happen. So how do you equip your staff to handle mistakes? At the Ritz-Carlton, “All staff are expected to ‘move heaven and earth’ in order to make customer service occur and correct problems”. When a guests luggage gets lost, or a meal isn’t right employees are empowered to serve their guests.  In this way, customer service failures can become opportunities because they create retention and brand loyalty.
  6. Reward it. Lenahan continually spoke about ways that they recognize and celebrate good customer service. It is done in simple ways such as using thank you cards, sharing positive guest comments, and weekly awards. His comments revealed that employee engagement is related to far more than our paycheck.
  7. Measure it. ‘Delivering effective customer service is a journey of continuous self-improvement”. The Ritz-Carlton has a strong commitment to enabling effective service with data. A customer database is used to track guest preferences. This equips employees with knowledge they can use to provide you with things you want – a room on the ground floor, a bedtime cup of tea or early check-in.

There are some principles which are timeless. Mr. Lenahan revealed that this is the case with effective customer service! The success at the Ritz-Carlton is not a result of a silver bullet or the ‘secret-sauce’ of customer service. Instead, we learned that the Ritz-Carlton standard is achieved through customer service standards are a result of blending intentionality and thoughtfully executed principles.

“Listening is a key ingredient of solving customer service problems”.

Head ShotJeff Suderman is a futurist, professor, consultant and pracademic who works in the field of organizational development. He works with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational Future-Readiness (and he loves great customer service!). He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman. Email: jeff@jeffsuderman.com