Railway operators - it's time to learn from Generation Y

Which? recently announced that more than half of the UK’s railway operators have poor customer satisfaction ratings1.

But many of you probably already know that – probably from your own experience – and just as likely from  reading posts on Facebook and Twitter by unhappy friends.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel – railway operators can improve their customers’ experience by looking to the same technology that unsatisfied passengers use to share their stories.

And with the rail industry at a crossing, with eight of the 17 UK rail franchises up for grabs in the next two years, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at the passenger experience.

The key is mobile technology. More and more people rely on it to organise themselves. Social media updates to their smartphones keep people connected with friends and family. Apps deliver updates on everything from bank account statuses to fast food delivery tracking. And people can keep an eye on work emails even when they’re not in the office.

Signalling for change

People don’t want their joined up lifestyle to be interrupted, even for a moment. There’s plenty that train operators, along with coach, ferry, plane and taxi operators, can learn from people’s mobile habits to help improve the passenger experience.

  • The roll-out of wifi at train stations and on trains is happening – but not enough. With wifi on every train and at every station, passengers will always be connected and able to browse websites, check emails, or keep an eye on social media. And in line with the rail regulator’s Passenger Information During Disruption (PIDD) legislation, it helps to ensure passengers can always access information if there is a problem.
  • Passengers can also use this wifi to receive updates from their train operator via text, email or to a mobile app, using GPS to keep information relevant. This could be updates on train delays, offers on food and drink at stations, local taxi and bus services at their destination or information on the towns that their train is passing through.
  • If there was a smartphone app to get dressed, people would want to use it. For now though, being able to make payments using a mobile device is probably enough. Near-Field Communication (NFC)-enabled payment for rail fares can make travelling by train even more efficient.
  • Through the use of mobile apps, a great deal of insight can be gathered about customer preferences, helping to further bolster the customer experience and drive loyalty.
  • Railway staff shouldn’t be left out. With access to at least the same technology that the passenger is using, they can easily find all the information they need to answer queries on the spot.

To find out more about providing a better customer experience, call Matt Worth on 01235 433 507 or visit www.o2.co.uk/enterprise/jucu 

1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21494270