Managing relationships with rail customers
1st November 2019
Customer relationships are more important than ever. The better the relationship, the more positive the customer will feel about your company, and the more likely they are to spend with you. The rail industry is currently more challenging than most; rail passenger satisfaction is at its lowest level since 2007, and more than one in five were unsatisfied with their journeys.
In this digital age, where an unhappy customer can broadcast their woes to the whole world – or, at least, to a decent proportion of it on social media – it’s even more vital that you work to build and maintain the best relationships. Otherwise, you aren’t only jeopardising any future sales with that person, but with so many others too.
By handling relationships well, you retain customers, and they’ll spread the word. So how do you go about it? Below are three points to focus on.
Understand and value customer’s personal needs
Customers are looking for a personal touch – they want to feel valued and understood as an individual. An ORR study on rail passengers’ satisfaction levels concluded that communications that are personalised, integrated and pro-active are key. Almost 50% of customers are put off by unrelatable advertising – personalised marketing is far more effective. CRM systems are able to store large amounts of data on each customer, and the use of analytics can then ensure that they are sent only relevant marketing emails. The information is also invaluable to any staff speaking to customers, who can personalise the experience.
Not all communication should be aimed at selling – emails that let customers know about services that may be useful, or personalised acts such as wishing them Happy Birthday, make customers feel more valued.
Really use customer feedback
Customer feedback is often a vastly underrated tool. Using it to develop new products or services can be very successful – as you’re creating something that the customers want and therefore you know that the demand is there.
Feedback also shows you where improvement is required – so you’re able to act on it, improving your offering. And on top of that, customers feel valued when they’re listened to. It’s a win-win situation.
Communication, communication, communication
As is so often the case, clear, transparent communication is vital when it comes to gaining customer trust. The ORR found that, unsurprisingly, customers want timely, pro-active information which allows them to make informed decisions – particularly when it affects their journey. They also found that poor communication on the subject actually bothers passengers far more than any issue itself.
In this age of social media, customers expect easy, prompt responses – and they expect the option of communication on a variety of channels. It’s also important to monitor for any mention of your company online – that way any potential issues that have been mentioned can be resolved quickly, and customers will be impressed by the pro-active response.
It’s important to improve your company’s internal communication too. After all, good customer service begins from within. A CRM system makes communication easier, and can vastly improve synchronisation between departments, as all data can be viewed on one system.
Managing customer relationships with the aim of improving business isn’t a new concept. What is more recent, is the technology available to support the process. CRM systems are an integral part of any strategy. The data stored by the system can be utilised in a variety of ways that help improve customer relationships, and building them really is worth it for your business. Like a relationship in your personal life, they may require work – but they’re totally worth it in the long run.
Passenger365 is a CRM system that’s optimised for the rail industry and TOCs. If you would like to hear how it could benefit your organisation, then we’d love to hear from you.