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Case Study: 

How Great Western Railway Uses Messenger For Social Support

For the PDF of the Case Study click here.

GWR’s #SocialFirst Story

Great Western Railway (GWR) take customer service very seriously. The ethos of the GWR Social Team is “Personalized service, whenever, wherever".

“Our aim is for Messenger to give a customer a first response in 10 mins in business hours and under 3 minutes in peak times. We also aim to continue to resolve in real-time over Messenger and commit to a resolution rate around 90% making Messenger a primary channel in our social strategy.”

—Jessica Smith, Digital Community Manager at Great Western Railway

The Social Maturity Journey

#Challenges

  • Great Western Railway (GWR) wanted to implement the new Facebook Messenger tool to communicate with their customers, making the line of communication easier during the very busy holiday season.

  • To better serve the mature social customer, who now prefer private conversations, rather than mass venting sessions on Social, GWR wanted to offer a new format for meaningful engagements to provide help and resolution.

Mobile Responses in the Moment

The team are great at responding in real time to commuters using their service.

  • Just before rush hour, response time sits at 2 minutes between 4pm-5pm as commuters prepare to board their trains home from work.

  • During the peak rush hour of 5pm-6pm, that response time decreases to 3 minutes showing that the GWR team have been resolving conversations in real time on average, across the 3 months as commuters are in the middle of their journey.

This real time conversation with commuters shows that the GWR social team have complete autonomy in their responses, as well as the ability to look up all the information they need in real time to respond to a commuter as soon as their query has come in.

Team Empowerment

How do you resource a team in peak times using a real time channel such as Messenger? Messenger requires an engaged team with all the information they need to respond at their fingertips.

With a response time on average of under 5 minutes across all GWR channels, it’s imperative that the team has been trained in keeping a very human tone of voice, motivated to help people, and have the ability to reply without management approval.

It’s this flow of conversation that makes Messenger such a successful channel for GWR.

Resolving Customer Issues in Messenger

Messenger’s functionality promotes a real time conversation with you, the customer. This also means that the customer chooses the channel, and expects a resolution in the channel of their choosing.

The great news for GWR is that they meet this commuter expectation. Their social team are trained to deliver resolution in the moment of the customer’s choosing, which is especially important for a commuter waiting for a train.

GWR’s team deliver an overall resolution rate of resolving a commuter query in the Messenger channel of 84%.

There can be a variety of queries sent by a commuter, from the train service to tickets queries and general chatter from a commuter using the GWR service. The GWR team originally implemented Messenger to speak to commuters over the peak period of engineering works. Consumers are now using this channel for so much more.

Customer Feedback - Messenger’s triumphant success

Here’s a sample of the consumer reaction...

Our personal favorite has to be this comment from one GWR commuter, who found this human approach to her Social Media query, an absolute commitment to Social Customer Service. 

“I'm rather stunned actually - corporations and businesses don't very often react to human problems in a human way, so consider our relationship repaired. That is a lovely gesture, thank you....And in the interests of fairness I will spread news of your kindness if you don't object. I think it is a genuinely wonderful thing to do and I wasn't expecting a reply let alone this.”

 

The future of GWR + Messenger

“We will be ensuring that all our email call to actions that go out to our customer database will have a Messenger button at the bottom to come and speak to the team through that channel. We’ve seen our customers comment that they get a much faster response on Messenger than on email and we aim to keep providing that level of customer service.

All new timetables have a call to action to speak to us on Messenger, for any fare or ticket queries.

We are also ensuring that all train managers are equipped with business cards on all stations, during busy peak times or train delays to hand out to commuters to get in touch with us on Messenger so we can resolve their query as they are on the platform."

—Jessica Smith, Digital Community Manager at Great Western Railway

Results 

 
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