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Great Western Railway receives 4,731 customer inquiries on Facebook Messenger

British train operator Great Western Railway launched on Facebook Messenger at end of the 2015, receiving 4,731 queries through the platform between December and March of this year, with the resolution time averaging between three and 20 minutes. 

Going forward, the train operator will be placing a Messenger button in email communications as customers have commented that they get a faster response on Messenger than on email. GWR will also place a Messenger call to action on all new timetables while train managers will hand out business cards to commuters instructing them on how to get in touch via Messenger. 

?Facebook Messenger is one of the top global messaging platforms with over 900 million people per month sending messages,? said Paul Johns, chief marketing officer at Conversocial.

?As a company that aims to put its customers first, GWR tries to engage with them and react to any enquiries on the medium that they use, which is social,? he said. 
?Messenger offers secure and quick communication and enables GWR to reach its passengers in a very human, personal way. Shifting passenger communication from open social to personal messaging allows GWR to provide the level of customer service they demand and customers expect.?

The train operator and social customer service platform Conversocial originally presented the case study at Facebook?s recent F8 developer conference. 

GWR manages 208 train stations and its trains call at more than 270 stations around Britain. 

Social media matures?
While consumers have been using social media sites such as Facebook for years to vent about poor customer experiences, more experienced users increasingly prefer more private conversations with brands, according to Conversocial. 

GWR was looking for a new format for social customer service that would provide meaningful engagements to provide help and resolution. 

Since the launch on Messenger, GWR has processed 6,000 pieces of content through Facebook, with 85 percent of messages coming in through Messenger, for a total of 4,731. 

The train operator has resolved 84 percent of queries coming through Messenger and is looking to bring this number up to 90 percent as Messenger evolves into a primary social channel for GWR. 

Real-time response
The use of mobile is helping GWR respond more quickly.

Right now, response time sits at 20 minutes right before rush hour. During the peak rush hour of 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., the response time decreases to three minutes. 

The average response time across all GWR channels is under five minutes. 

The quick turnaround on Messenger is a reflection of GWR?s social team having autonomy in its responses and the ability to look up the information they need to respond to queries. 

The team has also been trained to keep a human tone of voice in responses. 

GWR?s goal is to ensure response times do not go above 10 minutes in the future. 

The train operator's commitment to Facebook Messenger comes at a time that a number of brands are upping their presence on this and other messaging applications in response to the amount of time consumers are spending on these platforms. Recent, a number of brands, including Staples, 1800Flowers and others announced integrations on Facebook Messenger. 
?The social team at GWR has real-time conversations with commuters and other rail users,? Mr. Johns said. ?This is critical for customer success ? the social team has complete autonomy in their responses, as well as the ability to look up all the information they need in real-time to respond to a customer as soon as their query has come in. 

?GWR has a tight, three-minute window to resolve issues during peak travel times, so the social team is empowered to deal with human problems in a very human way,? he said. ?Messenger helps GWR team promote this value, resolve issues fast, and engage in a manner passengers relate to.?