Would you not agree that having wifi while you are travelling is beginning to feel more like a requirement than a gift? Being a regular traveller on the Eurostar wifi is important to me. I have forever been one of most vociferous passengers asking for wifi onboard. When wifi arrived onboard a little over a year ago, there was much fanfare. Except… as the map below on the left indicates, the wifi coverage was, at best, spotty. In essence, the red spots dominated the green spots. And the green was iffy, depending on how people were online. With less than 50% of coverage — at its highest — it was a poor excuse for internet access. The party line was that it was technically difficult to achieve.
Fast forward a year and the map has progressed, without any fanfare this time. For someone who takes this train regularly, I was never made aware of the progress. But, I am happy to report that it certainly makes a difference. I have found that the blackouts are much less frequent and that, as a result, it’s actually practical. Moreover, the strong wifi signal at the station makes a wonderful difference too… Much more incentive to get on the train as quickly as possible!
The situation on Eurostar makes me think of the wifi access that is provided at conferences. Any conference that has any ambition — including getting a wider reach — should make wifi access for all participants an absolutely strategic necessity. And, I’m not just talking about digital marketing conferences.
Thinking about your passenger/customer
For Eurostar, where most passengers will not have endless data plans around Europe (yet), the question of wifi is hardly anecdotal. How to gauge the right amount of wifi bandwidth to provide? On the one hand, there is a technical issue. On the other, there is an understanding of what the customer(s) is looking for. It takes being genuinely customer centric to be able to gauge the need. Otherwise, you end up with a meek marketing message that says, “we’re proud to offer new wifi service” and yet have customers constantly griping, with staff running for the hills and having to explain and excuse themselves for the poor service.
Customer centricity is in the actions
At least now, the Eurostar wifi service is quite palatable. For someone who has been writing (and complaining) about this for many years, I can finally claim that Eurostar has finally delivered a decent wifi service. Wifi is far from abstract. It is instrumental in the way we operate, communicate and socialize. Phew! Is it possible that Eurostar is turning the corner toward customer centricity?
Meanwhile, I am still waiting for the hard and uncomfortable chairs to be acknowledged, much less fixed!