Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Train Companies

TSG implements Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Care and Compensation for CrossCountry

Microsoft Dynamics CRMThe customer

CrossCountry is the operator of Britain’s geographically-largest passenger rail franchise. This franchise was awarded by the Department of Transport to run from November 2007 to April 2016.

Operating express and long distance services covering more of Britain than any other train company, including Britain’s longest direct train trip from Aberdeen to Penzance, CrossCountry are responsible for 295 services every weekday delivering over 32 million customer journeys per year.

CrossCountry is part of the Arriva group, which is owned by Deutsche Bahn.

The customer relations team are pivotal to the success of the train company and provide many services to the customer and the business, including handling enquiries, complaints, praise and compensation.

'Great customer service is key to our franchise and TSG help us to deliver on the promises we make to our customers'

The customer objectives

In 2008 CrossCountry invited TSG (at the time Concentrix) to tender for a new customer care solution to replace the inflexible and expensive legacy system that they inherited at the start of their franchise.

Although the most important kit for any Train Operating Company (TOC) is undoubtedly the trains, the customer care solution is very important as they have stringent customer care service levels that are monitored (and enforced) by the Department for Transport.

The objectives for the train company's project included:

  • Optimising business process for different communication channels:

      - Telephone inbound enquiries: Tailored screens and automation, optimised for the telephone operators

      - Letters and paper-based forms: Integration with scanning hardware, enabling a case to be created from the scan. Includes batch scanning

      - Email: Integration with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook and automated email processing

      - Web form integration for online

  • Monitoring and managing Service Levels: Including a “clock” to record how long a case has been with the customer relations team and with the customer
  • Integrate with external railway systems to check and validate delays reported by customers;
  • Automatically calculate compensation and print a barcoded compensation voucher
  • Provide an assistive email and letter writing function: Standard library of content, with specific content suggested depending on the case classification or reason for train delay
  • Quality Management: Ability to proactively check outbound written communications from customer relations staff
  • Business Intelligence: Provide business intelligence and management information for internal purposes and reporting to the Department for Transport.

Speaking about the initial tender stages with TSG, Matt Foster, Customer Relations Manager at CrossCountry comments ‘The team at TSG worked very closely with us to understand our requirements and how we operate.’

The CRM Specialist at TSG continues, ‘Matt Foster and his team at CrossCountry were excellent in collaborating with us on the project, especially during the requirements gathering and design phase. This is crucial to the success of any project and showed in the fantastic results we achieved together.’

The TSG Solution: TOCrm for the train company

To meet the needs of CrossCountry and other Train Companies, TSG developed and created TOCrm.

TOCrm is based on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM “xRM Platform” and is a highly customised solution that is tailored to meet the specific objectives of a 21st century TOC customer relations team.

TOCrm has been rolled-out to many of the UK’s mainline train operators, forming a strong community of customers who share ideas, best practice and costs with TSG on the continued development of TOCrm.

‘Great customer service is key to our franchise and TSG help us to deliver on the promises we make to our customers’, added Mr Foster.

The benefits to the train company, CrossCountry

CrossCountry were quick to realise the benefits of TOCrm when it went live in 2009.

These benefits included:

  • Reduction in staff overhead by 25% while increasing capacity thanks to efficiency savings - enabling CrossCountry to remove a reliance on temporary agency staff
  • Providing a platform (and capacity) to deliver additional services for the business – including taking responsibility for “Group Bookings”, a revenue generating service
  • Eliminating backlog
  • Meeting the Department for Transport’s service levels plus responding to changes in requirements and new obligations
  • Increased “customer intelligence” - enabling CrossCountry to deliver a more personalised service as well as identifying fraudulent compensation claims
  • 75% reduction in operational cost of running TOCrm compared to the previous system

CrossCountry received recognition for their excellent customer service in 2009 when they were shortlisted in three categories at the prestigious National Customer Service Awards in 2009 – a first and major coup for a TOC customer relations team.

Shortlisted for Manager of the Year, Matt Foster said ‘We're really happy that the customer service solution developed by TSG, along with the dedication of our staff and other changes we've made to our business, has helped CrossCountry through to the finals of two categories at the National Customer Service Awards and achieve Highly Commended in another.’