The latest episode in our Women of CX webinar series is a look into customer loyalty in the fast-growing rideshare market.
This past Thursday, we welcomed Amandine Plas, who joined Chattermill’s Anisha Kainth for a chat about her experience with a number of mobility businesses before her current work as CMO for shared moped brand Cityscoot.
Read on for our key takeaways from the conversation. As always, the full webinar – including the Q&A – is available to watch on demand below.
How Did You Journey Into Your Role As A CMO?
After graduation, Plas began her career working at an NGO. But she admits she soon wanted to move to a faster-paced environment – which led to her finding a position at Chauffer Privé.
Chauffer Privé was bought by the mobility app FREE NOW shortly after, which saw Plas working in the marketing and performance teams covering France, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. After this, she joined Cityscoot.
How Has CX Influenced Your Career
Customer experience has always been important to Plas’ work.
‘I think customer experience has always been at the centre of my priorities,’ she says. ‘Even when I worked for an NGO. If you want to be considered by your customers, you need to really listen to them. You need to anticipate their needs – especially in very competitive markets.’
‘Ride-hailing and mobility are really competitive,’ Plas adds. ‘So I think customer experience is the key to success in this sector.’
What Has Your Experience Been As A Woman In Marketing?
‘I think being a woman in marketing is quite normal,’ Plas says. ‘When I joined Cityscoot, it was the first time that my team was mainly made up of men. I think it’s really important to have diversity in a team.’
Counter to this observation of women in marketing, Plas points to how different the mobility industry is when it comes to female representation.
‘Cityscoot was made by men for men,’ she says. This meant that the service they offered (moped hire) was assumed to be used by men and all marketing communications were male-leaning.
But things have changed. Now Plas’ team is 50/50 men and women. And Cityscoot is better able to aim their services and their communications at women too.
Did You Have Challenges When Entering Into A Mostly-Male Team At Cityscoot?
‘It was quite difficult,’ Plas says. ‘When I joined the company, they had been thinking like this for five years. It was not that easy to make them realise that maybe we can also reach out to new customers, and this new customer could be a woman.’
‘It’s really a switch in mentality in how you communicate to your customers; how you do your advertising,’ she adds. ‘It’s something very basic. But you need to do it, and you need to realise this. If you’re only with the same people thinking the same way, it’s not that easy to see a basic thing.’
Have You Seen Your Customer Base Change In Terms Of The Number Of Women?
The shift within Cityscoot’s marketing team has seen some positive changes to the customer base and getting more women using their mopeds.
‘Plus 30% in two years in terms of new user acquisitions,’ Plas points out. ‘It’s step by step. We’re not there yet. We do a lot of partnerships with women’s magazines and women’s brands…but it’s the mentality. It’s a cliché that women don’t drive mopeds. I don’t know why. We need to work out how to change things.’
What Does Cityscoot Want To Achieve Through CX?
‘As I mentioned, I think our market is a very competitive one. If you want to stand out, you need to offer something more,’ Plas says. ‘If you don’t have something more. If you don’t anticipate the habits of your customers. If you don’t anticipate their needs to personalise their experience, you won’t be the best.’
‘You also need to be able to answer very quickly to their needs to have the best experience.’
How Does That Then Influence Your Marketing Strategy?
Plas highlights that today, customer experience really is driving the whole company – from the marketing team to operations to the tech team.
‘For instance, we do user research and market studies to know what to develop in the tech team and where to dispatch – and at what time – our mopeds in the field,’ she says.
CX is driving the shape of the product/service, as well as how best to communicate and on which channels. But this wasn’t the case when Plas joined Cityscoot. It really was all about the product at the beginning.
‘But we realised that if we want to be at the top in terms of services and in terms of meeting expectations, we needed to focus on customers,’ she adds.
How Has The Change From Being Product-Led To Customer-Led Been?
‘At the beginning, it wasn’t that easy,’ Plas admits. ‘For instance, the tech team were a really independent team. They were really doing their own roadmap.’
‘In the end, they realised that sometimes the feature doesn’t make sense from a customer point of view. In the end, we want to be able to answer the customer's needs. We don’t want to develop a perfect feature and nobody is using it.’
Today, there is much more alignment across all the teams at Cityscoot, and the customer is the centre of the whole strategy.
Have Customer Expectations Changed In Your Industry Over The Past Few Years?
Plas has certainly noticed customer expectations change in recent years. She points to two main ways in which they have.
‘The first one is due to covid and the globalisation of the home office. People have changed their habits, and it has had a huge impact on the whole mobility sector,’ she says. ‘They maybe use us less. But when they use us, they want to have a perfect experience.’
‘Also, for Cityscoot especially, competition came,’ she adds. ‘Customers became more price-sensitive, more demanding on proximity. If you have a competitor moped just next to you, you don’t want to walk ten minutes just to grab a Cityscoot.’
Personalisation is also a big factor.
‘They really care about having a unique experience,’ Plas says. ‘New users may be less loyal. So you need to constantly adapt your product and your service to be able to answer to these new habits.’
How Have You Maintained Your CX Strategy During A Period Of Such Significant Growth?
For Plas, the key way they have managed to maintain their CX strategy while undergoing such significant growth is by making internal changes. These changes were informed by listening to their customers.
One big change came with the rollout of subscriptions to the service.
Until recently, the brand had prided itself on offering the service without any subscription, giving the customers the freedom to ride a moped whenever they want.
But after collecting consumer data, they found users preferred to commit to a subscription to ensure they have access to the service. This was largely due to fees for private motorcycle ownership in Paris becoming very expensive.
Cityscoot launched a subscription within 2 months after realising this, and the results have been very positive.
‘Two years ago, it wouldn’t even be possible to think about a subscription,’ Plas adds. ‘You really need to adapt to the customer demand.’
Why Do You Think Customer Loyalty Is Declining In Ridesharing?
Plas is quite clear about declining customer loyalty.
‘In the rideshare industry, there are two key factors to make customers convert,’ she says. ‘You have the price and the ETA (how fast the driver will come).’
While Uber was initially the clear market leader, competitors have caught up, and users have quickly gotten used to using multiple apps. Simply put, this means they can compare prices and ETA in real time. This gives customers the flexibility to hop between different brands, so driving loyalty is increasingly difficult.
What Do You Think Are The Unique Challenges In The Industry?
We’ve already heard about how competitive the rideshare industry is. Plas highlights that Cityscoot has direct and indirect competitors – across ridesharing brands, bike providers, and other moped/scooter hire schemes.
She points to the fact that no customer uses only your service. Brands operating in the industry have to become a strong partner of their customers by offering a strong loyalty program, strong brand identity, and a strong community.
What Are The Key Features Of A Loyalty Program?
Plas reflects on her time working at FREE NOW and the discovery that their customers didn’t expect the same things at the same moment.
They found that young people wanted instant gratification and instant discounts, while older people wanted to feel special, to be VIP members of the brand community – with added personalisation and gamification.
Are There Any Other Big Challenges In Ridesharing, And How Do You Plan On Meeting These Challenges?
Plas foresees a number of changes on the horizon. She anticipates that while there are a lot of actors in the market currently, only two or three will survive – with partnerships and buyouts occurring between brands.
Plas also notes that cities are increasing regulation in the market, which means that rideshare companies need to be reactive and adaptive to new local constraints.
In light of these challenges, Cityscoot is already working on intra-industry partnerships with Uber and others to ensure their mopeds are available in more apps.
Plas anticipates that Cityscoot’s future will inevitably be multi-model, and that to succeed, they’ll need to be prepared to continue to answer to customers and the needs of the respective cities they are operating in.
It’s only by doing this that ridesharing companies are likely to be successful in the months and years ahead.
Watch The Cityscoot Women Of CX Webinar Again