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Setting up a Mobility Service for Success in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

As Serco is awarded the mobility services contract for Red Sea Global, Serco Middle East’s Operations Director for Transport Samantha Rowles and Director of ExperienceLab and Innovation Rena Baba explain the critical elements required to ensure successful operations and a world-class customer experience.

For any economy, mobility services are a crucial part of the infrastructure, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no exception. As the country continues to modernise and develop, it is essential to establish a reliable and efficient mobility system that can support its growing economy. Vision 2030 has eight strategic themes and mobility will play a role across all of these – from social empowerment and supporting residents in their day-to-day activities, enabling the private sector with their logistics to delivering premium experiences for visiting tourists and much more.

The carbon-neutral destination covers more than 90 islands, of which only 22 will be developed.

To give one example - The Red Sea. The carbon-neutral destination covers more than 90 islands, of which only 22 will be developed. The resorts will be reliant on multiple modes of green transport across land, marine and air – from seaplanes and boats to buggies – to ensure that guests enjoy a seamless luxury experience from the moment they arrive. Here, Serco will deliver a world-class, net-zero mobility experience covering all aspects of the mobility services operations, maintenance, health and safety and guest experience - each one requiring many different considerations.  

The main consideration however, that should be at the heart of any good mobility service is  the customer. Four vital elements to delivering them the best possible experience are:

1. The people, and a culture that puts the passenger experience first

2. The process - dynamic workforce management

3. Data and a unique metric for measuring success

4. Governance and a decision-making framework that enables continuous improvement

These four elements, when combined, deliver the best possible approach to ensuring a first-class customer experience. And happy customers mean more passengers using services, repeat visitors for tourism and a more efficient, holistic mobility service.

Here, we explore in more detail how these elements will be implemented by Serco to ensure a successful mobility system for The Red Sea.

Creating the right service culture

A successful mobility system starts with a service culture that puts the passenger first. This means instilling a mindset of service excellence in front-line staff. To achieve measurable impact, it is essential to train and empower employees to act in the best interests of the passenger. This can be achieved through targeted training programmes that focus on customer service, problem-solving and decision-making. For new organisations especially, as they define their aspirations and CX vision, their employees will need customised training to show them how to act on the communicated vision. The training should go beyond sharing the new core values and CX vision and should empower employees with scenario-based examples, tactics and tools.

In addition to training, it is also essential to create a culture of continuous improvement. This means empowering employees to provide feedback and suggestions for how to improve the passenger experience. This starts with creating a channel with the front-line staff to share customer feedback and insights they can gather on the job. This feedback can then be used to inform decisions about service improvements, route planning and infrastructure investments.

For example, if passengers report or express frustration about long wait times at a particular location, mobility providers can adjust schedules and routes to improve service. By creating a culture of continuous improvement, the mobility services can adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of passengers.


The process - Dynamic workforce management

Dynamic workforce management is a flexible way of managing and optimising the workforce to allow for changing business needs and priorities. It uses real-time data to make decisions about staffing levels, resource allocations and skill requirements. Dynamic workforce management and deployment can help mobility services providers better manage their staff resources and optimise their operations to provide a more seamless passenger experience.

The monitoring and analysis of real-time data taken from various sources – for example customer demand and employee performance metrics, is a key element of ensuring this model works at its most efficient. By empowering staff members with the right tools and information, providers can ensure that their passengers receive the high level of service they expect.

For example, ensuring the right number of staff members are allocated to different areas of operations at certain times. For example, during peak hours, more staff members can be assigned to high-traffic areas such as ticketing or security checkpoints. This can help reduce wait times and increase customer satisfaction.

Dynamic workforce management systems can also provide real-time feedback on how well different parts of the operation are functioning. If there are delays at a particular checkpoint, the system can notify staff members and provide suggestions for how to alleviate the bottleneck.

If organisations can be agile and responsive and optimise their resources, then this model contributes towards increased productivity, reductions in costs and improved customer service. In addition, it can also empower employees who are working collaboratively to achieve wider business goals.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure - establishing a unique metric for mobility

To measure success in the mobility system, a unique metric is needed that considers the passenger experience and broader impact on the organisation. This requires new ways of measuring success beyond traditional metrics - such as on-time performance or passenger numbers. By their very nature, experiences across mobility services tend to be complex and are difficult to quantify. Understanding the holistic experience of how a passenger truly felt they experienced a service is difficult and it becomes more of challenge to communicate that understanding into hard metrics.

Historically, many transport entities relied heavily on metrics that are sharp and easily quantifiable such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) as their only indicator of customer experiences. However, these metrics provide limited insights and are overly simplistic for tracking the holistic experience of passengers as they interact with complex mobility services. In addition to that, these metrics are self-reported and collected through surveys which can be easily skewed and might not be backed up with the insights that operational teams need to act and improve the service and are crucial for dynamic workforce management models.

One way to measure success is through journey management and analytics. By tracking passenger journeys from start to finish, mobility providers can gain insights into the passenger experience and identify areas for improvement. Metrics for passenger experience needs to combine different data types and sources to understand people’s experiences with all their complexities and need to be shared and understood by all stakeholders across the organisation. Finally, customer experience metrics need to be tied into overall business impact or key business goals. The correlation between these metrics and business goals are what will encourage management teams to adopt and act on the new measures.

Serco’s ExperienceLab Measurement Framework

To achieve a holistic view of the passenger experience, Serco’s ExperienceLab created a measurement framework for mobility that brings together data from multiple sources including customer service interactions, journey management and analytics, operations and customer feedback channels. Combining different data types and sources enables the experience and operations teams to understand passengers’ experiences in more depth.

This framework acts as the foundation of creating a single view of the passenger experience. Which enables mobility providers to gain a deeper understanding of passenger needs and preferences and make data-driven decisions about service improvements.

Governance and the decision-making framework

To operationalise passenger experience, governance and a decision-making framework must be established. This framework should align decisions with the broader goals of the mobility system and ensure that resources are allocated effectively. Clear communication and collaboration between mobility providers, regulators and government entities is also essential to ensure that decisions are made with the passenger in mind.

One way to establish this framework is by creating a mobility management organisation (MMO) that oversees all aspects of the mobility system. The MMO would be responsible for developing and implementing policies, setting service standards and monitoring performance. The MMO would also be responsible for coordinating between different mobility providers and ensuring that services are integrated seamlessly.

Data Laptop

Planning for Investments

To ensure that the mobility system is providing the best possible service to passengers, it is essential to plan for investments strategically. This means identifying the areas where investment will have the greatest impact on passenger experience and prioritising these investments accordingly.

A data-driven approach should also be used to ensure best use of budgets. By gathering and analysing data on passenger needs and preferences, mobility providers can identify areas where investment will have the greatest impact.  

Strategising for Experience Improvement

Improving the passenger experience requires a strategy that focuses on continuous improvement. This means identifying areas where the mobility system is falling short and developing a plan to address these areas.

By operationalising the passenger experience through governance, planning for investments and strategising for experience improvement, mobility providers can ensure that the system is meeting the needs of passengers and contributing to the broader economic growth of the Kingdom. Through continuous improvement and a focus on the passenger, the mobility system can evolve to meet the changing needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the people it wants to attract.

passenger at checkin

Samantha Rowles
Director of Operations - Transport, Serco Middle East 
Samantha is passionate about leading by example and creating high-performing teams that strive to achieve more than they thought was possible. Samantha’s dedication to the use of technology pushes boundaries of normal business practices in the search for differentiation.

Rena Baba
Director of ExperienceLab and Innovation for Serco Middle East
Rena’s expertise helps clients understand how customers use their service, with the insights influencing the development of solutions, enhancements and optimisations that benefit both the client and the user.

Rena Baba and Samantha Rowles