Browsing Tag


Customer Experience, Design, Service Design, User Experience

Swift Air Media’s In-Flight Customer Experience Goes Glocal at 30,000 Feet

March 15, 2013
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A customer experience at 30,000 feet presents an interesting situation. For one, she is feeling like one very captive customer, sometimes one very bored customer, and very often, both.


In-flight movies and beverage service have helped assuage that but what about in-flight wi-fi?


Yeah. What about that?



True, you can now work while crossing the Atlantic but it is arguable that this is indeed a good thing. On many flight flights wi-fi is a paid service which means the customer has to have enough of a motivator to pay for wi-fi. Somehow paying to do work is a something of a conceptual stumbling block to an impulse purchase. But what if what you could do online would actually help you once you arrived at your destination? What if you could discover new places to stay, eat, and have fun in the city you are about to land in a short amount of time? Making in-flight content relevant for air travelers is exactly what SwiftAir Media is aiming to do with their launch of their native commerce platform for corporations and publishers.

Scott Terrell of Swift Air Media told me in an email, The publishing revolution is really about giving people the information they need and want given their current location and environment. We’re simply applying that to the inflight travel guide experience — telling people what they should do, see, and buy in the city where they’re about to land.”

Back in January 2011 the concept was born:

With Southwest Airlines as their first client, SwiftAir Media provided them with the platform and services to create their own publication to sell direct to the in-flight consumer. Publishers now have a workflow software and can help both with SwiftAir’s media and services division to develop destination specific in-flight content. According to a recent market research report, “Global Market Aviation In-Flight Entertainment and Communication Market (2012 – 2017) the in-flight entertainment and communication market will be worth $3 Billion by 2017. Fair enough, that’s the business side of the equation but what can the customer get out of this?

Imagine you are flying from Phoenix to Chicago, you get on wi-fi on you iPhone and it looks something like this. Offers, deals, and promotions for the Chicago area, updated in real time and right on, say, your iPhone. Scott said it like this, We’re allowing Southwest and other brands to reach their customers and tell relevant stories to them because of our Native Commerce Platform and the E-commerce functionality it has. So people can explore, read, save, share, and buy while in the air, and then again once on the ground.”

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A notable development on device usage tells us that mobile devices are the preferred device in-flight, which makes sense because who, except those fortunate enough to be in first class, have enough room for anything other than a tablet or a smartphone? We know that Apple has an 84% share of people who connect to GoGo wifi. In an article  from TabTimes entitled, “Bye bye laptop” we learn that most users of Gogo’s in-flight Internet service now use tablets and smartphones to connect to the Internet followed by laptops. Article here: Bye bye laptop? Most users of Gogo’s in-flight Internet service tap iPads and … – TabTimes

Let’s take a look at how these activities break down from a customer usage perspective, again, from the good people at GoGo:


Let’s look at some current in-flight trends. Much of it is focused on passive viewing like the extended viewing times that Virgin Atlantic recently announced, “The move is an extension of the boarding to disembarkation total entertainment package that the company introduced on several of its routes last year, and it means that on an average five hour flight, passengers can benefit from screened entertainment for about an extra hour. It is a departure from the recognised system of only commencing entertainment after the aircraft has taken off and the obligatory announcements have been made, and turning the service off again as much as 20 minutes before the aircraft lands.”

But that content has little if anything to do with the specific destination the traveler is going to and providing content that will be informative and helpful upon landing which is why what Swift Air Media is offering shows such promise. This is basic customer experience / service design thinking: know your customer and add some value in whatever context you can do so.

ABOUT SWIFT AIR MEDIA: SwiftAir is an innovative in-flight travel guide designed to provide air travelers with virtual tours, special deals and insider information about their destination city. The complimentary Web-based technology is viewable on board flights equipped with a Wi-Fi connection. Revolutionary to the marketplace, SwiftAir offers key benefits to their partners – both vendors and airlines – as well as to the end-users of the platform.

As a vendor, SwiftAir provides a fresh and exciting entry point to reach an engaged audience who will be more receptive to learning about new products and services. Being featured on the SwiftAir platform, businesses can help consumers shape their travel experience while gaining exposure to a new and captive audience.

As an airline, partnering with SwiftAir can provide unmatched value to passengers by enhancing their on board experience. Additionally, it can serve as a secondary revenue stream to help recover the costs of providing Wi-Fi to air travelers.

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Thank you. Enjoy your flight. ;  )

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Customer Experience

3 Reasons Why Customer Experience Is Going to Drive Disruptive Technology in 2013

March 5, 2013
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Disruptive technology has long been primarily the domain of the CIO or the CTO, which made sense since it does say, “technology” in there. But, by definition, the word disruptive has an all-hands-on-deck connotation that suggests that perhaps we need to call in a champion of Customer Experience in 2013.


I see four major disruptive technologies which will test, and stress, large and small companies this year and I also see critical role to be filled by the CMO or some other champion of Customer Experience.

1. MOBILE DEVICES: We all have them and we all want to use them for work. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is the new norm and one that challenges infrastructure, corporate policy, and security, sometimes to the limit. Marc Andreessen did a good job in a recent TechCrunch article explaining why change is now bottom up, as opposed to the top down approach of 50 years ago. BYOD is a bottom-up change that says, “I do this at home and I now want to do it at work too”.

2. SOCIAL MEDIA: If companies were skeptical about social media five years ago, those days are long gone. True, many companies hit it with their blunt instruments of traditional marketing tools which, of course, fell flat. But once they learned the dance and engaged with customers the way they wanted to be engaged, life got a bit better for everyone involved. Did I want to look at a Strabucks Facebook page? No, of course not. Do I want to send a $10 Starbucks gift card to a friend on her birthday through Facebook? Happily!

 3. CLOUD COMPUTING: Last year we saw many companies moving their business processes and mission-critical applications to the cloud. While generally concerned about security, what was once a band of rouge employees posting collaborative work on Google Docs, entire company infrastructures have migrated to the cloud in recent years. But all this is not without peril. Consider Evernote, the wildly popular storage and retrieval company. Their success was born out of the realization that the poor, hapless schlumps who had to use SharePoint at work could use Evernote at home and it was awesome! But last week, right at he time when Evernote was creating a big push in the marketplace with Evernote for Business, a massive security breach happens forcing over 50 million users to have to change their passwords. Evernote responded quickly and has announced today that they are implementing Two-Factor Authentication but I am certain there were some heated “I told you so!” conversations in corporate board rooms. This is where top-down security meets bottom-up consumer demand.

 4. BIG DATA: 2012 was the year when we all learned to use the phrase “Big Data” and roll it around in our mouths. But many organizations haven’t a clue as to what big data is really all about and how to harness and leverage big data and turn it into actionable business intelligence. From a customer experience perspective the benefits of big data are still rather abstract and nebulous.In fact, many consumers assume that companies are going to use big data to trick them into doing something. But when your credit card company suddenly recommends a new restaurant that you happen to be near and they say you will love and…oh wow…they are actually right…well, big data is working for us, isn’t it?

What does this have to do with Customer Experience? Well, pretty much everything. By identifying how your customers engage with your business, you will begin to see how your company’s decisions about cloud computing, big data, social media, and mobile devices all look from their perspective. And this is why a champion of Customer Experience (Service Design if you are in the UK) needs to be front and center with these disruptive technologies. One of the most powerful tools I have seen on consulting engagements over the past few years has been the creation process of a Customer Journey Map. A Customer Journey Map describes the journey of a customer by representing the different touchpoints that define all interactions with your product or service. A great little company in Colorado called EffectiveUI created this customer journey map that I first saw on Smashing Magazine’s site and I have seen it pop up about a hundred times whenever customer journey maps are discussed so I will put it up here now:

journeymapIn a previous post I mentioned that a big insight into doing customer journey maps is that biggest missed opportunities happen in the white space between the individual business units of an organization. If you just looked at an organization’s business units they would look like they were doing a pretty good job but you would be missing some critically important business intelligence. By speaking with customers you learn where the handoffs aren’t happening or at least aren’t happening well. You can also step back a bit and perhaps realize that instead of building a bigger call center, by fixing these procedural and operational customer experience issues you may find that you don’t even need that bigger call center anymore. In a best case scenario, you have discovered that your customers don’t want a better call center experience, they just want things to work right!

So, what about those three reasons I mentioned in the headline? Here they are:

Disruptive technology are disruptive for your company but they are also are disruptive for your customers. Consult with them, find out how they are thinking and feeling about their interactions with your company. Discover some behavioral, attitudinal and quantifiable things you didn’t know before. During times of disruption it is even more important to (now, you know you know this) communicate!
 Then take what you learn and bring it back to the hive to discuss your corporate strategy and operations around these disruptive technologies.

Your customers probably know more about what they want than you do. Obvious? I think not if you observe how most companies operate. Don’t take a “we know best” approach that doesn’t include your customers. It may have worked for Apple but, hey, you’re not them. What if Evernote talked to customers and found that they were putting more and more sensitive information in Evernote, do you think they would have waited for a security breach to implement a more secure authentication? That breach almost sunk their business and I would argue that the resulting customer ill will was avoidable.

Beyond the incredibly useful business insights and intelligence you will glean from your customer experience work there is a powerful risk mitigation component. Disruptive technologies are risky by definition. Why wouldn’t you want to mitigate that risk?

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New Jersey-Based Practice Unite to Solve the Hospital-Physician Communication Problem

February 19, 2013
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[Interview with Adam Turinas, Practice Unite. 17 Feb 2013 via Skype]

[BR]: Hi Adam, thanks for making time for a call on a Sunday. You just released Practice Unite this week so, congratulations! Tell us, what is Practice Unite and who is it for?

[AT]: Practice Unite is the first mobile app designed to address one of the most important problems in US Healthcare – the Hospital-Physician relationships. And looking forward, the relationships with the patients, caregivers, and healthcare services. We found that profitable industries, including those in healthcare, are successful at managing the working relationships among decision makers and staff but in healthcare we still have a way to go and that is our opportunity.

So the headline is that Practice Unite will improve communications among physicians, hospital staff and the hospital system administration.

[BR]: We had dinner together, Adam, about a year ago in New Jersey with Kevin Carlson and the topic was around healthcare apps and now here you are one year later actually going live this week, so well done! Where did the idea for Practice Unite come from?

[AT]: My business partner is a practicing physician and he identified the problem that physicians and hospitals had no good, secure way to communicate the way most people communicate these days on their smartphones.

Out of frustration, he diagrammed out how the app would work. Once we had the concept fleshed out we approached a major hospital system here in New Jersey and conducted a test.

We were thrilled when one of the first people we interviewed told us that Hospital/Physician alignment is the #1 non-reimbursement issue today in healthcare. Another hospital administrator went as far to say, “This is a no-brainer, come back when it is ready and we’ll buy it”. That was enough for us. By November we had a fully functioning app and by December we had a pilot with 30 doctors and staff in  a hospital in Jersey City.

The feedback was incredible. The average rating was 8.5/1o but the top complaint, if you can call it that, was that everyone wasn’t on the system yet. A good problem to have since our goal is to get everyone on the system too!

[BR]: There is no shortage of healthcare apps these days, it is a pretty noisy marketplace right now. What is so different about Practice Unite?

[AT]: Well, it is noisy but I disagree a bit, mHealth apps are certainly proliferating all over the place but these are early days and there are still tremendous opportunities.  So when you say there is no shortage of mHealth apps that is accurate but I would instead say that there is a shortage of useful, widely adopted mHealth apps and there is where PracticeUntie wants to live. We can see PracticeUnite being widely adopted by the enterprise, in most cases, the hospitals, and solving the secure, HIPAA-compliant communication problems that exist today. So in that regard, the field is wide open and we think we do a pretty good job of solving a big healthcare issue.

[BR]: You spoke a bit about his already but a typical marketing questions are, “Who is going to use this and why should they care?” and “Who are your primary audiences and what do you allow them to do that they can’t currently do?”

[AT]: Great questions. Obviously we have primarily focused on the communication between doctors and other doctors within a hospital system but as I said, these are early days.

So the short answer would be physicians and staff within a hospital system but beyond that it begins o get very interesting. We can envision a communication platform that supports secure, HIPAA-compliant  communication s between the hospital, physicians, healthcare professionals, payers…certainly also the patients but also caregivers, and healthcare supply companies. That is a very large ecosystem. What these people cannot do currently is communicate quickly, easily, and securely in real time and that is the opportunity.

[BR]: Tell me a little bit about your development process. How did you go about developing this app?

[AT]: Ours was a typical bootstrapping operation where we did just enough to get market feedback along the way. We contracted with a Digital Designer and a small development group in the Midwest and built our prototype based on my partner’s original interaction diagrams. Having a physician who does his own interaction design wireframing is key. (Laughs).

During this time we were very much in market testing so we would build a bit, test a bit, and repeat until we had our hypothesis either validated or disproved. It was all very agile and fast-moving.

[BR]: What do you have planned to get the word out about Practice Unite over the next year?

[AT]: Short term we are look forward to full hospital-wide implementations and beyond that, being in several more hospital systems this year. Beyond that, we are looking to build in communication that includes hospital staff, patients, caregivers, and healthcare supply companies. And anyone else in the healthcare ecosystem that we discover should be included, actually.

[BR]: What other aspects of healthcare are capturing your attention these days?

[AT]: You know, Bill, the biggest eye-opener for me was the current state of communication being used within healthcare today. In order to be secure and HIPAA-compliant it is not uncommon to have fax machines and pagers…yeah, really…these are in use as the primary communication mediums. I understand why this is…they are going with what works but, let’s face it, these people are also tech-saavy and are on IM, Facebook, Twitter, and their smartphones just like everyone else and they want to be able to have the same ease of use in their professional lives. That’s what Practice Unite aims to deliver.

Practice Unite can be found online at: and by phone at 1-866-874-8616


You may also be interested in Happtique. Happtique is a mobile health application store and app management solution that helps healthcare providers, physicians, and patients easily integrate mHealth into treatment.


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Everything is Changing in Healthcare and You Might Actually Like That.

February 18, 2013
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The issues about Obamacare here in the United States aside, the rapid pace of disruptive technologies in healthcare suddenly put you…yes, you in the center of your health. As a presenter says in the video below, “You are now the CEO of your own health”.

As healthcare explodes with exponentially improved technologies, we begin to change the way healthcare is delivered and see how how healthcare becomes smaller, more decentralized, and more personal. These are early days, to be sure, but theatre of what is possible has a very large stage.


RECOMMENDED READING: New York-based Happtique launches its pilot program of mRx™, Happtique’s patent-pending solution that enables physicians and other health practitioners to electronically prescribe medical, health, and fitness apps to their patients.



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