Why customer service is key for public transport companies


Attitudes towards owning a car are changing and, believe it or not, they are changing fast. We are moving away from wanting to own a car to Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Up to one in ten new cars sold in 2030 could be a shared vehicle, which could reduce sales of privately-owned cars. This change of heart and mind highly affects what the consumer expects of public transport. When moving from owning a car to paying for ‘a service’, expectations are high, but the question is whether public transport companies will be able to keep up.


If public transport companies are going to take advantage of this shift, it goes without saying they need to be able to deliver a seamless customer experience. It will be hard to meet such customer expectations without the support of third parties that can leverage the technology, products, and services needed for this experience. To truly deliver Mobility as a Service, public transport companies need to seek collaborations with such third parties to solve problems almost instantly, automatically handle and route issues, and make service management as efficient as possible.


How to improve customer service in public transport

One good example of a company that has succeeded in adapting such a new strategy by starting a collaboration with a third party is RCS Nederland, part of Thales Group. RCS is responsible for the development, installation and maintenance of ticketing and payment solutions and services for several Dutch transport companies. It has improved its services with the help of automation and innovative technology provided by ServiceNow.


RCS Nederland noticed rising customer expectations in the area of ​​innovative and high-quality ticketing and payment systems constantly rise. Ensuring maximum availability of the transport network for travelers is critical for transport companies. The link between transport companies and RCS Nederland is the customer service team of the latter. In order to continue their excellence in customer experience, it was decided to transform customer service from reactive to proactive.


Using ServiceNow’s Now Platform, RCS Nederland succeeded in introducing a more proactive approach to customer service. It managed to do this by focusing on four key areas. These four areas discussed below should be under consideration by all (public) transport and logistics companies who want to provide best- in-class customer service.


1. Continuous monitoring

In our always-on economy, there’s no longer an excuse to leave issues unsolved ‘because they happen outside of working hours’. Direct and proactive action is an absolute must, which means you can’t afford to continue without continuous monitoring. It enables a planned approach to maintenance and upgrades, meaning that incidents can be resolved at an early stage, or even prevented altogether. Continuous monitoring is also an important asset to cope with growing security threats. By detecting signals that may indicate a company is under a malicious attack, proactive action can be taken in time.


2. Flexibility

Given the many different KPIs and SLAs companies nowadays have, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution is no longer enough. You should have insight into all aspects of your services, while you should be able to deliver tailor-made reports to every customer. Moreover, action can be taken quickly in case of an incident because there is immediate detailed insight into the specific situation available. Personalized experiences are expected by both consumers and clients. Customer services should therefore have the technology and expertise in place to deliver those experiences.


3. Efficiency

Employees are the most important resource a company has. Efficiency is key, especially in the highly competitive logistics and transport industry. Reducing costs by simply providing circumstances in which employees can be more efficient and effective is a first huge step forward in this process.


4. Automation

By automating operational activities, employees can devote their saved time to substantive work. In other words, companies can do more work with the same number of people. Organizations should prevent ‘busy work’ - routine work that is not core to our jobs. By digitizing such tasks, employees can use their time much more effectively and provide more added value to the company. And probably all have a more meaningful role to play, thereby raising employee satisfaction rates.


Leverage your connections, adopt MaaS

Those in the travel and transport industry wanting to leverage the shift from ownership to MaaS would do well to follow these four key areas. Make sure your customers have no other option than to outsource their mode of transportation ownership.


Our global economy is built on connections. By focusing on strengthening these connections with the aid of the four key areas, monitoring, flexibility, efficiency and automation, mobility companies will be able to meet the demands people have when it comes to MaaS.

Chris Pope is Vice President of Innovation at ServiceNow, one of the leading software-as-a-service providers in the world. He is also a judge at the Accenture Innovation Awards in the theme Finance.


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