Inside Lyft’s Customer-Focused Digital Transformation

Since its creation, Lyft has been disruptive.  

It initially set out to eliminate the friction of getting a taxi. But over time, Lyft has grown into a transportation powerhouse. One reason for its success is its total focus on customers.   When faced with the changes and challenges of the pandemic, Lyft took the opportunity to improve its digital services and undergo a digital transformation.  

The result is a frictionless experience that continues to disrupt the industry and shine as an example for all customer-focused digital brands.  

Customer-Centric Mindset

VP of Customer Experience Eric Burdullis says being a customer-centric organization means paying attention to the things that cause problems for your customers. Contact center agents have valuable insights to solve and prevent issues. At Lyft, the technology team regularly shadows customer service to see things from the customers’ perspective. Many employees even drive for Lyft to understand what works with the product and what doesn’t.  

Burdullis says that brands that aren’t paying attention to their customers’ problems are missing a big chunk of business.  

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Pandemic Shift

Like many businesses, Lyft lost almost all its business overnight when the pandemic hit. And as people eventually started leaving home more, customers began contacting Lyft at higher rates about things that had never been issues before, including flexibility and health and safety inside cars.  

With a new customer mindset and a new world for operating, Burdullis led his cross-functional team to re-think all customer entry points from the ground up through a comprehensive digital transformation. The original goal was to eliminate 90% of contacts while improving NPS.  

The team talked to frontline agents and managers about the tasks they did every day that they didn’t feel were adding value to customers—things like refunding cancellation fees or providing the repetitive quick responses. That list grew to include every problem a customer may face.  

From those thousands of ideas, the team prioritized the customer issues and questions into two groups: those that could move to the app and those that could be proactively delivered.   

Lyft’s previous contact form came from the website, but the digital transformation moved almost everything to the app to create easy access points.   Instead of waiting for customers to contact the company, Lyft shifted to proactively reaching out to customers who may have a specific issue or providing self-service options to answer questions and resolve problems quickly. The transition required strong data analysis efforts to track the entire customer journey.   

Lasting Transformation

Coming out of the pandemic, Burdullis says Lyft offers better service and in-app connected service to chat and human agents. Instead of all customers having to use the old web help form to connect to a human agent, Lyft is thoughtful about every piece of the journey and intentionally designs with customers in mind.  

Although Lyft didn’t get to its goal of eliminating 90% of contacts, Burdullis considers 65% an incredible win. The digital transformation also improved Lyft’s customer effort score by double, making it twice as easy for customers to get resolution.  

Lyft’s digital transformation is continually evolving, just as customers continue to change and adapt. With a goal to make the experience as easy as possible for customers and a mindset that puts customers at the center of every decision, Lyft sets the foundation for long-term customer success.  


Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the FutureFor regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

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