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Moving Forward: How Transportation Companies Serve More Riders with Replicant

Hold times are a challenge in every industry. But for transportation contact centers, reliable service is especially critical. 

Customers depend on punctual rides and easy-to-reach assistance to get where they’re going on time. When interruptions in service happen, customers need fast access to status updates, weather reports and ETAs. 

But if customer service agents are asked to handle repetitive, high volume call types, phone lines get clogged quickly, making it harder for customers to schedule, cancel, and modify rides.

And while transportation companies are dealing with many of the same challenges as every industry – rising customer demand, economic uncertainty, and labor shortages – they also face a unique set of obstacles. 

From public agencies like statewide mass transit to private organizations like taxi, bus and train services, factors like seasonality, outages, and compliance must be accounted for.

As customer satisfaction continues to be priority number one, passengers and transportation contact centers need an answer fast. With Contact Center Automation, not only can a solution be deployed in a matter of weeks, it’s already making an impact at some of the world’s largest transit agencies. 

The Challenge

Budgets and Economic Uncertainty 

Transit agencies went through some of their hardest years during the pandemic, when ridership hit record lows and caused revenues to plummet. This has forced many organizations to increase fares while cutting the amount of routes offered. 

“The largest systems are very pressured at their lookahead on their budgets,” said the President of the American Public Transportation Association. Now, with economic headwinds driving further uncertainty, contact centers must find new ways to cut costs while increasing efficiency.  

Staffing and Retention 

Since the pandemic, hiring agents has become more competitive than ever. Job candidates want higher wages, better benefits, and stipends to support a work from home environment. In addition, the strict training and compliance requirements associated with onboarding a transportation agent lead to higher costs than other industries. 

Given the tightened budgets seen across transit agencies, these expectations are often impossible to meet and sustain. Similarly, outsourcing customer service to BPOs has become expensive and ineffective in improving SLAs. 

Call Spikes and Wait Times

Commuter ridership is experiencing a steep rebound as more employees return to offices. This has proven to be a major challenge for contact centers, who already experience seasonality from the spring to fall months. 

As a result, riders who call in for support are experiencing longer wait times; they’re also abandoning calls at a higher clip than ever. On the whole, call spikes caused by both predictable and unpredictable events are impossible to staff for and only further harm customer satisfaction. 

Compliance Transit agencies face unique regulation hurdles that make reliable service not only a priority, but mission critical. Agencies that offer paratransit service for disabled patrons, for example, must adhere to SLAs set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Failure to meet these expectations can lead to violations, legal repercussions and monetary fines. With stakeholders that can include agency boards and elected officials, a transit contact center’s Average Speed to Answer can have political and PR ramifications, in addition to the direct business impact.

How Automation Keeps Riders Moving

Whether you’re a public transit agency or a private taxi, bus or train service, Contact Center Automation can elevate the customer experience while adding guaranteed efficiency gains that drive cost savings. 

Contact Center Automation is not your standard IVR experience. Customers can speak naturally, receive SMS updates, and ask any amount of questions to receive end-to-end resolution, not just routing or FAQ information. 

For an industry that has long relied on legacy technology to deflect and contain callers, a modern experience makes self-service more intuitive for customers’ most common requests. When these call types are fully automated, agents are spared from answering thousands of simple calls every week.

Common automation candidates for transportation companies include:

Trip Management:

  • Rider authentication & call routing
  • Ride status
  • Same-day travel problems
  • Book a trip
  • Confirm a trip
  • Cancel a trip
  • Reschedule a trip
  • Cabin & Seat Upgrades
  • Pre-Travel Reminders
  • Trip status notifications
  • FAQs:  Confirm Fares, Bags, Boarding

Rider Management

  • Manage Subscription Service
  • Manage Rewards 
  • Check Card Balance 
  • Purchase Card
  • Lost & Found FAQ
  • FAQs: Replacing a lost card, balance questions

Accelerated Value for Contact Centers 

Replicant plugs into contact centers’ existing tech stack to help resolve common rider requests that don’t require a live agent. Starting with rider authentication and routing, Replicant handles fare confirmations, ride status checks, new bookings, booking confirmations, modifications, cancellations and reschedules. 

With zero wait times and quick resolutions, customers get what they need over any channel and agents are given the context they need to resolve high value calls. The result is increased containment rates, high customer satisfaction, eliminated call wait times and decreased abandonment rates.

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