Raj Singh on the mobile mind shift in business travel

On August 21, 2014 Concur execs and customers gathered in Chicago, Illinois for our Fusion Exchange roadshow and were joined by keynote speaker Julie Ask, co-author of The Mobile Mind Shift. After their fireside chat, Concur Communications Director, Tricia Manning-Smith, had an opportunity for Q&A with Raj Singh. These were his takeaways.  


Tricia Manning-Smith:What was the most important thing you learned from Julie?

Raj Singh: At the core of the presentation was, you have to re-think all of your customer experience moments.And when you do you have to change both the culture of the way your company thinks about customers and the way you deliver to your customers.Which means a bunch of technology work that has to happen – it doesn’t matter if they’re technology companies.Starbucks isn’t a tech company, but you know what? They build a lot of technology. Kellogg’s isn’t a technology company but they’re going to have to change the way they deliver in order to make sure they maintain the dominance of whatever space they’re in.So that’s part A.Part b is she gives this framework of how to approach it, about defining these mobile moments, which very useful, and a good enough reason to check out the book, I think.




TMS: What are these “borrowed moments”?

RS: “borrowed moments” are the idea that your customer isn’t just going to come to you and say, hey – solve this problem for me.Your customer is where they are naturally.So they’re traveling and they’re at a hotel and they’re at the checkout counter at a Hyatt and the room is not available.  So they’re going to go to the Hyatt app instead of going to Concur, because they don’t think naturally about going to Concur.When go to the Hyatt app, having Concur automatically there saying – hey, you’re changing this. I’m going to update your itinerary with this change that you’re going to switch to another Hyatt around the corner.Our capacity to be where the customer wants us to be…. Uber is another example where you book a car.You’re not going to go to a Concur app to book a car, you’re going to go to your Uber app.But wouldn’t it be cool if Concur was there, saying do you want to send this to your expense report or not?Those moments are us saying—we don’t have to own every customer experience.We just have to be where you want us to be.Regardless of who owns that experience.




TMS: How does that change your business operations? What will you do differently, better, faster? What can people expect?

RS: We’re on this journey, Julies presentation – I would say we’re a company that’s on the path. What we’re learning now is just how much hard work there is to do, both from an engineering perspective but also from a company culture perspective to say – our customer is at a spot where they don’t want service when we deliver it.They want service now. Immediately. So that immediacy and transparency that the customer expects, we worked hard to deliver it.We still work hard to deliver it.But we’re still not all the way there.That means we have to upgrade our systems and change the way our people think.We shouldn’t think any more about communicating to 20k companies, we should think about communicating to 25m travelers about what’s going on.That’s a different mindset, and that will take time.So that means we have to work on giving people the tools, and educating people as to what that means.




TMS: What do people expect as business travelers?

RS: They want service now.Immediately. Immediacy is the term.And you want it context relevant, and you want it in some way shape or form to amend to your personal needs.So context relevant – I’m in Chicago, don’t show me Minneapolis information.It’s personalized.It’s about me, you know about me, so make sure this is about me.And I want it now.When I’m standing at the hotel counter that’s when I need it, not when I left the hotel already because I couldn’t get a room. Those three things: Convenience – [personalization] – and that immediacy point –most of the world is not ready for that yet.


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