The proper communication of changes being made during the implementation of new transit software is crucial to the success of the project, and one of the most important groups to update is your agency’s customers.
Spending the necessary time to understand what information should be shared with this group and when to do so is imperative.
Take a proactive approach to your customer communication efforts by:
Working with your software provider to identify any potential changes your customers should expect. Examples include:
Changes in the reservation process - One of the most important interactions between transit agencies and their riders is the reservation process. If the task of making reservations is different post-implementation, customers need to be aware of those changes ahead of time.
Changes in pick-up/drop-off times - Assuming an agency’s core activity is moving people from place to place, the management of pick-up and drop-off times cannot be altered without letting riders know. Do they need to plan their time differently? Sometimes the change management of making things more efficient can actually feel more difficult for some.
Changes in the enforcement of existing policy- Every agency has a variety of operational policies that are documented for their riders. However, it’s also true that as time goes by the enforcement of the policies can become inconsistent as exceptions are made. It’s important that if you intend to begin enforcing those rules again that your riders are aware of it in advance. The initial step is to determine what internal exceptions are being made on a regular basis and incorporate that information into your communications.
Implementing operational changes before the go-live process. Many new software implementations may require operational changes as well, even if it only involves the way that you communicate to your riders. These changes are the most likely to affect your customers and should be implemented proactively to allow them to acclimate to a new way of doing things. This type of communications allows for minor operational kinks to be ironed out and new processes to be adopted by the time the new system goes live.
Communicate your goals. It’s so vital that your riders understand the benefits of your transition, so that they don’t feel that change is being made just for change’s sake.