Passenger Assist: communicating assisted travel services to rail passengers

25th March 2019

Passenger Assist offers a range of assisted travel services to rail passengers with disabilities or who may face difficulties travelling, with the aim of making rail travel accessible to everyone. Communicating these services to passengers is vital; in a study carried out by ORR, 63% of passengers that currently use Passenger Assist could not have completed their journey without it.

Why is it so important people know about Passenger Assist?

In 2017, ORR conducted some research to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the assistance provided by both Network Rail and train companies to passengers with disabilities. They focused on the following areas:

  • encouraging awareness and better uptake of Assisted Travel;
  • making Assisted Travel more reliable, and introducing redress where it falls short;
  • strengthening staff training in identifying where assistance is required and offering help in an effective and customer-friendly manner; and
  • enhancing the current monitoring regime to ensure train and station operators continue to meet their obligations to passengers that require assistance

With passenger experience becoming an increasing focus for rail operators, failure to meet the needs of all travellers can cause damaging effects for rail operators.

The results showed that most train users were happy with their service, however, passengers who did not know about the service and who turned up on the day claimed there is still room for improvement.

What feedback did customers give?

The ORR – Measuring Up report found that passengers with disabilities want to remain independent and eliminate feelings of anxiety and fear when travelling alone. While some passengers claimed they felt very happy and confident they were well looked after from the start of their journey, some found that the services weren’t so great – with one passenger saying, ‘Ramp wasn’t ready, they had six wheelchairs to get on two separate areas and no ramps, wasn’t good, lucky train was late.’

During the 2017 survey, a clear theme from suggestions for improvement by rail passengers was communication.

How does a CRM system help?

Marketing Week’s diversity survey revealed that only 22% of consumers said they felt people with disabilities are well-represented in British marketing and advertising, and this is a problem. It’s not wise to ignore an entire market, which is why using the right CRM system to support your marketing and communications to passengers could have a huge and positive impact.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows rail companies to automate successful marketing campaigns, getting assisted travel services noticed by more people – the right people. Aside from communicating assisted travel services to people who need them, it can also help raise awareness for travellers who travel with a person who needs assistance, too. A CRM system can capture insightful information that allows you to segment your market and target them accordingly, so rail operators can support in the vision to better educate consumers on Passenger Assist and how to use the service, ensuring everyone receives the help they need and making rail travel accessible to all.

Find out more about how technology can improve the communication of assisted travel services by contacting us here.

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