Emotional Customer Engagement Drives Customer Experience at Pilot Flying J

Officials at Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, know a little something about catering to customers.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, roadside assistance available at over 145 locations nationwide and growing as part of its truck care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss ShopsThe Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering Diesel Exhaust Fluid at the pump. The entire company network serves more than 1.6 million customers daily.
Making an emotional connection with customers is a critical piece of the loyalty puzzle for Pilot Flying J.
“Pilot Flying J is passionate about making a better day for our guests on the road,” Tyler Tanaka, Director of Loyalty Marketing at Pilot Flying J, explained to Loyalty360. “A large segment of our guest base is professional drivers, who are spending life traveling the highways and are faced with the challenges that come with a life in transit. The emotional connection we strive to build with our guests begins with providing them time and money saving solutions that make their lives easier. Pilot Flying J envisions the myPilot app as a tool to connect with our guests wherever they may be on their journey, helping them solve challenges that they face over the course of their day with route planning, money saving offers, and in times of emergency with roadside assistance. Beyond providing our guests these helpful tools and services via our app and loyalty program, Pilot Flying J builds on that emotional connection in-person at our stores and roadside with our friendly team members for an exceptional all-around experience.”
Data holds the key to customer insights, Tanaka noted.
“Pilot Flying J has made tremendous strides from a data perspective, and data science has become a real focus area to enable us to more accurately evaluate the success of our myRewards loyalty program and ensure a positive guest experience,” Tanaka said. “Our loyalty program is very targeted based on the behaviors and attributes of our guests, which span from over the road professional drivers to four-wheel gas drivers. Almost 50 percent of our total loyalty program investment is delivered in a targeted way based on these driver attributes to deliver the 1-to-1 personalization that we are striving to offer our guests.”
Pilot Flying J officials are committed to driving a better customer experience through enhanced technology.
“For Pilot Flying J, continuously innovating and leveraging technology to provide utility, safety, comfort, and convenience to professional drivers is a top priority in improving the guest experience,” Tanaka explained. “We have spent a lot of time working to better understand the pain points along our guest’s journey so that we can create a frictionless digital experience that provides enhanced utilities to ease these pain points. As a result, Pilot Flying J is transforming the customer and guest experience through the myPilot mobile app and our innovative myRewards loyalty program, delivering features such as shower and parking reservations, mobile fueling, roadside assistance, and targeted deals in myOffers to save our guests time and money.”  
Still, the company faces challenges, namely staying ahead of the curve with its loyalty efforts, and getting those who are not driving vehicle with 18 wheels use the centers.
“Through the years, Pilot Flying J has had a lot of success with our myRewards program, but we are always innovating and incorporating key learnings to continue to improve the guest experience,” Tanaka added. “Loyalty is a long-term initiative to win share of mind and driver’s choice. We have very strong awareness and brand loyalty among the professional driver and RV segments of our customer base. The biggest challenge and opportunity is to invite the four-wheel drivers to experience a Pilot or Flying J Travel Center and make us a preferred stop along the highways.”

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