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Commuting Comes to a Standstill as #UKStorm13 Hits: Has Social Customer Service Helped The Situation?

By Rachel Tran on Oct 28, 2013 11:24:00 AM

As Britain spent the weekend bracing itself for the arrival of the storm on Monday, this morning the only thing that seemed worth worrying about was how commuters were going to get to work with the majority of train operators around the country calling a halt to services.

Amongst the tweets poking fun at the#UKStorm13 situation, social media platforms erupted with updates from users about their travel concerns and lengthy delayed services. Train and transport companies battled a storm of their own as they tried to keep their communities updated with up-to-the-minute news and service problems, whilst also attempting to reply to individual customer issues.

How has Social Customer Service helped transport providers and their customers on the day that the UK was threatened to be hit by the biggest storm in the last five years?

Greater Anglia

Setting the bar once again for what it means to deliver effective social customer service during a time when their customers need it most, no wonder 92% of Greater Anglia’s customers are happy with their quality of tweets.

Greater Anglia did a great job of keeping their community updated with a blast message letting customers, and potential customers who may need to use their lines as an alternative option, know about the status of the trains. Their tweets announcing cancelled services even prompted praise from affected customers who appreciated all the Twitter updates. The train company replied to the majority of individual tweets from their customers, apologised for the delayed responses and thanked them for their patience.

Take Away: Keeping your communities updated in real-time is just as important as thanking them, and apologising when needed. This will help ease the tension your customers may feel with service disruptions. It will show them you are trying your best, and will get back to them as soon as possible.

TFL Travel Alerts

TFL’s Twitter account provides real-time updates for the London’s Underground, DLR, Overground and Tram transport system. The travel providers were online from 6am this morning and sent out a tweet letting their customers know they were ready to provide updates. This is great approach to take to ensure customers are aware that they can reach out, and you are there, if they need help.

Take Away: In situations like this, when you know engagement levels are going to be at a high, it is better to almost ‘get in there first’ and let customers know you are active and online. This will show you are ready to keep your community up-to-date and help with individual customer cases when you can.

East Coast Trains

East Coast Trains had more trouble on their hands this morning compared to the aforementioned transport providers as they provide a much bigger service, with trains running between London King’s Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East of England and Scotland. Some of their customers were stranded this morning in London with no way of getting home and turned to Twitter for an answer.

Throughout the morning, East Coast Trains provided regular service updates, and posted images up of trees disrupting their train lines to prove that it wasn’t just talk from the train company. They also actively replied to the majority of tweets, with each reply being personalised, offering sympathy if needed or suggestions for alternative routes choices – showing they care, and took the time to ensure each customer left them feeling a bit more confident in travelling with them in future.

Take Away: Apologising and sending blast update tweets are great when speaking to your general community, but when providing a solution - in this case offering alternative travel routes - will prove to be more helpful in the eyes of individual customers. A customer who is happy with your service will tell 4-6 people about it, just like this East Coast Trains customer who told her own Twitter community about their great social customer service.

News sites have spent the last few days flagging up weather warnings and advice to ‘stay in your homes’  about the arrival of one of the biggest storms in the UK. Transport providers actively providing social customer service have had days to plan for this disruption, and it appears the planning has paid off for some.

Download our latest Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service to learn more about how Conversocial can help with your business.

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Topics: Best Practices, Social News, Customer Service, Customer Experience

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