Imagine that you could make the payment of the monthly pass in more than 40 locations in the city, and not to mention the outskirts of it.
Imagine that you could have the convenience of managing the stress and time wasted in a queue at our traditional selling points.
Imagine that you could perform the payments of your monthly pass using your own computer or smartphone.
There is the notion that it is necessary to create more ways and places for a costumer to perform the payment of the monthly pass. It is common sense that we should acknowledge the faults in our selling system so that the solutions can arise, and here is one of them: ATM payments! And what a wonderful solution that is!
Let’s talk about this project a little and making a little abstract of this post:
“I am a customer and I want to pay my monthly ticket using one of the many ATMs that can be found in the city of Braga, or using the website of my bank, how could I do this?”
The answer is quite simple, and do it is even simpler. You only need to go to a point of sale, request the activation of the payment by ATM on your record, show your monthly pass and indicate your tax number and email and that’s it! Now from the 21st day of each month you will receive an email with all information and then you may perform the payment using your bank website or ATM machine. After that, and within 2 days, when you use the pass on the bus, the pass will be validated automatically and you will also receive by email the invoice of the payment you have previously done.
- Simplify the payments of almost every monthly pass;
- Multiply by almost an infinite way the places where a costumer can make the payments of the monthly pass;
- Attracting new customers to public transport due this new ease of payments;
- Explain all the rules for this new method of payment;
- Demonstration of how everything works;
- Advertise this future mode of payment by ATMs.
And what should be taken into account to meet the objectives?
- Suiting all resources, even if few, to the goals set;
- Betting, as never before, in the training of all the involved people in all the various areas of operation of the company;
- Invest in advertising like social networking, panels on the buses, flyers, media, general public, etc …
- Beta testing being a huge success;
- A dedicated service desk ticketing to promote this new way of payment;
- Hundreds of subscriptions on the first month of general deployment;
- Continuous advertising;
- And last but not least, the will to see how everything went after only two months offering this service, and this is no small step because it was never considered on any other project…
So starting from the beginning:
Contacts with the technology solution providers
Initial contacts were performed with nearly a year in advance, because this was such a huge step that it would take careful planning and because of that many meetings were conducted.
The results of all these meetings:
- the way to implement the communications with our servers and the remote servers of the ATM company;
- the business rules to the fares that could be paid using the ATM, or similar;
- the marketing strategy;
- the training of all the staff involved.
All of this was determined on those reunions. That helped determine what would be needed from a technological point of view, and not only, that was how I came to in charge of this project.
Perhaps one of the most important points, and expensive, of this whole project. All solutions undergo an evaluation in which we compare the positives with the negatives, being the negative ones almost exclusively financial.
It was contracted with the company of the ATM’s a communications rate of three times daily, thereby, theoretically, we could ensure that the next day the payments would be validated and charging of the monthly pass would be valid on board of our buses.
The internal rules were also changed as it began to be required to send the data of the bus when entering and leaving our park.
We have many kinds of monthly pass, from students to seniors, all with different rules and requirements for proof of these situations and so everything was identified and defined, having been carried over to the system in order to soften and make the most universal possible this implementation
For example students have to prove the status of being students in September every year, so excluding students because of this situation would be a bad policy, to avoid that, rules were created in the system so as to enable them to benefit from this mode of payment.
Training of all staff involved
Training is something that will be a key factor in the success of this project, therefore methods never used before were created: a strong focus on all the physical component of the manuals, the quality of the classroom training, assessment of knowledge, creation of paper manuals with reinforcement in video tutorials.
Some of the documents that were distributed during the training and the video tutorials that were presented:
- Bus drivers
- Ticket booth employees: since everything here would be even simpler, I only developed a paper document to be printed and distributed to the employees.
All these artefacts were distributed or made known to all employees together by the head of the training department.
In order to test all the efforts made so far, a controlled group of 12 people, including some family members of min,, was created, which would allow a convenient way to test the system, these tests were carried out in two months and were successful at all levels. With that said, we began to devote every effort to the advertising of this method of payment so that everyone knew that they could charge their monthly pass anywhere. We started this in September, during our reception to the Uminho Students and during that month in order to have everything ready for October.
The tasty part of this whole project is this! (at least for me)
As has been usual, for my happiness, I was given the green light to the creation of all advertising support for this project, interestingly with some worthy details worth mentioning:
SIBS has a number of restrictions on the use of MULTIBANCO (ATM payments) brand and the use of its brand image. Some models were created and sent to their legal department for approval, only one resisted and then improved, that’s what can be seen now.
- Bus Screens
- Social Networks
- Ticket machines aboard the bus: this was a pretty neat idea, because with this sticker on the ticket machines on the entrance, all the costumers could see what we were trying to publicize, because of the rule of validating the trip ticket, or monthly pass, on this machine…
- press conference – made by the CEO’s of the company and the Mayor of Braga. A advertising maneuver because this way we would have coverage from the local media and totally free.
The results so far are pretty interesting and this was my biggest project yet, involving all the planning and management of all the project stakeholders, suppliers, employees and even customers. Awesome!
And this is not over yet because in December I will carry out a survey of all the opinions of the users that are currently using this payment method and try to get feedback on what they think is good and what could be improved, and this is the way of doing things correctly because improvement should be a continuous process, and sometimes requires an outside view to help us to do even more.