Unforeseen delays, technical faults, and weather conditions: these are some of the everyday issues which can cause disruption for Train Operating Companies (TOCs), resulting in a poor passenger experience and dissatisfied customers.
For TOCs, ensuring all passengers enjoy a comfortable and relaxing service is always the priority. Yet with the volume of passengers increasing each year placing a greater strain on rail services, meeting this objective becomes harder. 2016 saw 1.7 billion railway journeys in Britain alone, a 3.7 per cent rise since the previous year.
Shorter platforms and a lack of space on the railway lines can result in congestion and slower services. While TOCs are working hard to enhance station infrastructure and meet this demand, they also need to ensure that passengers’ Digital Experience meets their expectations.
TOCs can create an exceptional Digital Experience for passengers by delivering premium WiFi connectivity, something which is now an expectation for busy travellers. State-of-the-art connectivity allows passengers to make the most of their travel time, from catching up on work to unwinding with a favourite TV series or audiobook, browsing social media or messaging friends and family.
While the majority of TOCs now offer either a complementary or paid-for WiFi service, this connectivity typically lacks the bandwidth to support a high volume of users. On busy trains, in particular, the connectivity speed is either reduced or does not connect at all.
For passengers, the frustration of a limited WiFi connection is worse than having no internet connectivity at all. This coupled with having to login multiple times to a WiFi service makes for an exasperating experience.
It is vital that TOCs choose a WiFi provider who can deliver reliable, high-speed connectivity to all its users, especially during peak travel times. By implementing a premium, free WiFi solution TOCs can guarantee seamless connectivity between the train and the platform.
This continuously connected passenger journey is where TOCs will raise the standard for the passenger experience. TOCs might consider sourcing agile, SME WiFi providers who not only have the technology and innovation necessary to deliver robust connectivity but who also appreciate the importance of cost-effective, efficient solutions.
The intelligent technology behind a continuously connected passenger journey means that passengers need only sign in to the WiFi once throughout their whole journey, even when switching between transport methods. The technology will then recognise the user’s device for up to 365 days so they can enjoy uninterrupted connectivity at all times. For commuters and frequent travellers, this simple solution will be particularly beneficial and facilitate a faster Digital Experience.
Ensuring passenger satisfaction means that TOCs should consider the traveller’s whole journey and the impact delays might have on their travel plans. A robust WiFi solution will support users with WiFi connectivity wherever they are in the station; essential for passengers who might need to access train apps, check travel information online, and arrange transport at their end destination.
In this way, superior WiFi connectivity can help TOCs to exceed passenger expectations and enable travellers to have a smooth, safe railway experience. Reliable WiFi is also necessary for users to stream entertainment services and browse the web with minimal buffering, all contributing to happier travellers and an enhanced train experience.
A premium service means passengers do not have to worry about losing connectivity or using their own data during their journey. TOCs can equally reduce their mobile data costs with such an innovative solution, as the data offloading between the train and station reduces the charges on the TOC’s mobile network. The smart data offloading capability allows TOCs to upload otherwise expensive passenger infotainment data and train telemetries via the high-speed WiFi when in the station.
The benefits of a premium WiFi service are not limited to passenger satisfaction; TOCs can use their WiFi to enrich passenger engagement and develop insights on passenger expectations. A fully-branded User Experience means TOCs can promote their brand-identity and maximise passenger engagement, whilst the user receives a tailored WiFi experience. TOCs who provide a frictionless WiFi service will see great improvements in their customer satisfaction levels and more users sign-ups as a result.
This wealth of customer data can then inform a deeper understanding of the passenger profile. Through the advanced analytics feature, TOCs can analyse their data across a variety of sources, from marketing preferences to survey data. This analysis then feeds into targeted offers and promotions for the passenger, creating a personalised experience whilst enhancing the brand-customer relationship.
WiFi analytics will also help TOCs to manage the train service demand and build a better service for travellers. A WiFi solution with Transport Analytics gives TOCs great insight into passenger movement from train to station, highlighting where passengers are coming from, the length of the journey, and dwell times. This information is invaluable for TOCs as it provides a more granular view of peak travel times and allows TOCs to plan timetables according to demand.
In the dynamic transport industry which sees more passengers year-on-year, meeting their expectations and ensuring satisfaction on busy services is a constant aim for TOCs. Giving customers seamless digital connectivity throughout their journey will certainly enhance the passenger experience.
While the rest of the passenger journey may be hectic, TOCs can make their trains a relaxing space, where reliable WiFi facilitates entertainment access, messaging apps, and more. A Continuously Connected Passenger Journey guarantees satisfied customers, whilst TOCs will benefit from the WiFi analytics to create a holistic view of the passenger profile.