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Anticipating customer needs – on the move

2nd Dec 2014
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In this blog, Mike Tansey, Travel and Transport Industry Global Business Services, IBM, discusses why customers now naturally expect real-time information and updates when it comes to their travel plans and what c2c is putting in place to make sure they meet these needs.

With the rise of the mobile app, few sectors are feeling customer demand more, or are arguably faced with more opportunity to respond, than the transport industry. Customers now naturally expect accurate, real-time information and updates on the move, to help them plan their journeys and their day. Some of the companies that IBM is working with are coming up with interesting ways of anticipating and satisfying those customers’ expectations.

You might like to read more about mobile marketing and commerce in the Mobile Commerce MyGuide but for now, let’s take train operator c2c as an example.

Operated by National Express, c2c is already a good news travel story. The award-winning train operator runs services between London Fenchurch Street and Shoeburyness, serving 26 stations in East London and South Essex. It’s already delivering the best performance in the UK rail industry, holding the UK records for punctuality by a franchised train operator. And it was named London’s best commuter operator in Which? magazine’s survey of rail companies.

Having been awarded a new 15 year franchise, c2c wanted to ensure that they stay ahead, and have recently launched a number of interesting customer experience innovations. Among these is the c2c Live mobile app which runs on the IBM Cloud. It contains a postcode-to-postcode national journey planning tool - a first in the UK railway industry - so that customers can easily plan their trip from to and from specific locations:

  • Customers can submit a ‘Request for assistance form’ which will be immediately picked up by c2c staff at any station.
  • The app shows disruption alerts and suggests alternative routes, and tells customers about busy trains, helping them to avoid the commuter squeeze.
  • And it has live departures and arrival times so they can work out of they’ve got time to grab a coffee or not.

To back all this up, on-platform staff are equipped with mobile devices that can access up to date information on train schedules and status to provide real time information to customers.

And finally all that data will be available on dashboards that enable staff to drill down to into key performance indicator data including travel revenue, cancellations and delays, complaints, employee data, and customer and employee safety data – to enable better business decision-making.

c2c plan to follow this next year by an ‘automatic delay repay’ application that will calculate delays up to the minute and automatically repay compensation owed to smart card holders each month – something that is bound to enhance the customer experience!

Interested in this topic? Download the full Mobile Commerce MyGuide.


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