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Arrivals board at an airport

When customers know too much

Airlines operate a strict time schedule for arrivals and departures to minimise airport overheads and maximise time in the air. They don’t make money while aircraft are on the ground. It requires speedy disembarking, offloading, cleaning, refuelling, reloading and boarding. Airlines need passengers to be ready and waiting to board their flight when called, not browsing through the duty-free or having an extra drink at the airport bar.

Aviation enthusiasts everywhere can now download flight tracking apps to their smartphones and tablets and monitor the movement of aircraft across the skies. What do you do when you know the inbound aircraft you will be departing on is still an hour away from arriving, and yet the airline has already called you to the gate?

Train operators at London’s main terminus railway stations often have trains already on the platform for a while before the platform number is displayed to passengers. This time is used to clean the train from the inbound service and enable staff time to change shifts and prepare for the next journey ahead.

Passengers of busy services want to be first to board so they can get a seat and somewhere to put their luggage (classic certainty behaviour). If they find out the platform number too soon, they show up, causing problems for staff trying to do their work and it can be dangerous.

However, the API data source that informs the rail network is also consumed by Google and used in Google Maps. If you are a rail commuter in London and hoping to be first on board, you can get a head start by looking at your journey on Google Maps to find your departure platform long before it’s shared with everybody else.

Customers’ ability to get their hands on data about aspects of your business processes will only increase. They will invariably get hold of information that increases their convenience but makes your work harder. Rather than pretend they don’t know it, how can you adjust your customer experience to accommodate it?

How can you make it part of the customer experience?

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