Research: Passenger Experience for Ridesharing Needs Improvement

Yanfeng, a leading global automotive interior supplier with its North American headquarters in Novi, has released proprietary research which examines passenger experiences during the ride hailing journey.
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A graphic breaking down the steps of a ridesharing journey. // Courtesy of Yanfeng
A graphic breaking down the steps of a ridesharing journey. // Courtesy of Yanfeng

Yanfeng, a leading global automotive interior supplier with its North American headquarters in Novi, has released proprietary research which examines passenger experiences during the ride hailing journey.

The data, which was gathered by Yanfeng’s global user research team, provides insights on influencing positive passenger experiences.

“People’s perception of ride-sharing is not as simple as a five-star review,” says Cathy Bailey, senior analyst of global user research ay Yanfeng and the study’s lead. “The ride-sharing experience isn’t just one simple equation – it’s the sum of its parts.

“If any of these phases fall short, a passenger’s positive perception of the experience will dwindle. That becomes a threat to any service provider looking to create a brand loyal customer base, especially as we anticipate the landscape to become more and more service-oriented.”

The findings concluded that the ride-hailing experience is nuanced, composed of 13 steps within three main phases: before, during, and after the ride. The Yanfeng team found that the six steps with the greatest opportunities for improvement include hailing the ride on the phone, waiting for the ride, building trust and rapport, permission to make the vehicle your own, the main part of the ride, and preparing for the end of the ride.

The top ride-hailing use case scenarios reported in the research included going out, commuting to work, and running errands. During these scenarios, passengers used their time to relax, accomplish tasks, or engage throughout the ride. Use cases and preferences varied by region.

Ridesharing is used more frequently overall in China and provided time for passengers to relax. It also noted trip durations in China are longer, often exceeding 20 minutes. U.S. passengers on average took shorter and less frequent trips, using their ride time to engage with others.

The top reason for using ridesharing services in both countries was going out — 76 percent of China users and 73 percent of U.S. users. Following in second place in China was commuting to work at 73 percent and running errands in the U.S. was second at 58 percent.

“Before starting the study, we spent a significant amount of time familiarizing ourselves with what ride-sharing research was currently available. From our findings, we still were not getting a clear sense of what end-users perceived of the entire ride-sharing experience,” says Beth McGough, senior manager of global user research.

“That led us to conduct our own study. Understanding the stages the user goes through during the ride-hailing journey, how a user evaluates each stage, and how they prefer to spend their time is key to redesigning not only the ride-hailing experience, but reassessing how vehicles are optimized for the general passenger experience.”

For automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and ride-hailing service providers, these insights serve as a guide to assess the functional integrations and features of the vehicle, which can allow them to make improvements in areas customers find value in.

“The current interior experience is focused on the driver, but the passenger’s comfort and wellbeing are equally important. With the popularity of ride-sharing, we now have a large pool of users to survey,” says Tim Shih, Yanfeng’s vice president of design and user experience.

“As paying passengers, rideshare customers tend to be objective when evaluating their in-car experience (vs. their personally owned vehicles) and frequently compare these factors across different vehicle types.”

The results of this research contributed to the design and development of the company’s smart cabin concept car Experience in Motion 2021s (XiM21s). The concept has numerous features, including personalized driver profiles that are automatically recognized and implemented.

These profiles allow customization of the mirror, seat, and infotainment system settings, along with customized safety settings based off the driver’s height and weight. Seat adjustments are no longer done with buttons, but a touch surface on the end of the front seat armrests.

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