Founders of Sparrow flights say user experience is more than just app design
For Sparrow Flights founder David Shepherd, it’s all about user experience.
“It’s really the most important part of our business,” he says “It’s becoming more and more important to ensure your product fits the user habits.”
Sparrow Flights’ booking engine is designed so users can easily book a flight without changing devices. The philosophy is that booking a flight should use minimal keystrokes; once a user’s details are in the app, the keyboard isn’t needed at all.
In response to user requests, the company has rolled out changes such as multiple credit card support already.
“One huge point of difference we have is the pure speed we can pump out changes. A few days after launching Sparrow, a number of customers requested flex-fares. Quite literally these were added a few days later.”
Shepherd says another important aspect of modern business is data. He comes from a digital marketing background, and at his command Sparrow tracks just about every conceivable metric through the app, emails and text messages: marketing, app flow, bookings, and of course user experience.
“It’s amazing to hear some people don’t track these elements in 2016. This is especially important when finding roadblocks in the app. If a number of people are stuck on a area, it needs to be fixed.”
But user experience isn’t just about the app and how it is used, it’s about making sure the user has a great overall encounter with the company.
And customer service is essential for that.
“The main point of difference for Sparrow is the user experience. Not just booking through the app, but the support afterwards. Adrian [Ciaschetti, co-founder] has been taking calls at midnight from customers, trying to give them the best possible support, which I’m sure his girlfriend isn’t enjoying.
“I think this is something that’s hugely lacking in the space - the mix of amazing technology built with supreme UX and backend support from real people, who genuinely care.”
Shepherd cites an example of a customer who had a bad experience when he first booked, but Sparrow staff chatted with him over the phone and apologised for the misunderstanding.
“He has since booked with Sparrow again and has even helped with introductions. If he is reading this, thanks mate, your support is absolutely unreal.”
Shepherd says 80 per cent of Sparrow users have booked more than once.
“From an emotional point of view, that’s hugely rewarding for me. Knowing that people genuinely love your product is an incredible feeling.”
Having someone on the end of the phone to answer all calls isn’t really scaleable for a business like Sparrow.
“We know this,” says Shepherd. “It’s something that’s been asked a number of times. We are looking at chat bots and AI to integrate with the platform to help with very basic requests.”
He says the company’s vision is to create the most user friendly flight booking experience on Earth
“We don’t want the chat bot to hinder this, but to add to the experience.”