First Capital Connect followed by one fifth of its passengers on Twitter

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Twitter has become a valuable service for First Capital Connect's passengers.

Twitter is paramount for a train operating company and it merits the investment we have put into it.

One in five of First Capital Connect (FCC) passengers are now following the company’s Twitter service.

The service is controlled from its 24/7 customer management centre, responding to passengers’ queries, monitoring the website and station information systems.

Twitter was originally used to relay automated messages to the passengers; however in 2011 FCC introduced the staff-passenger interaction which is now common practice on the service.

Keith Jipps, FCC Customer Service Director, said:

“We are delighted with the growth of our Twitter service.

“Twitter gives us an unprecedented opportunity to talk with our customers one-to-one, as well as one-to-many.

“It’s been hugely popular amongst our passengers as you can now contact, while on the move, a real person for up-to-date advice and information.”

Twitter is one of the biggest social media revolutions in recent times, which has brought a new dimension to consumer customer service. The service is ideal for a train operating company given the constant stream of information that needs to be shared with passengers.

The social media site has become an everyday part of most commuters’ days relying on First Capital Connect [@FirstCC] to provide up-to-date travel information and a live forum to highlight concerns and ask questions, whilst digesting news and opinions from other sources.

Ally Dear, FCC’s Digital Customer Engagement Manager said:

“Twitter is paramount for a train operating company and it merits the investment we have put into it.

“In the beginning it was just one person, but now we have a team that are able to offer a really high standard of customer service.”

The service acts as a platform to be able to share information and updates to nearly 37,000 followers – one fifth of their passenger base and this continues to grow daily. This includes disruption notices and press release material in 140 characters of bitesize news with signposts to further information.

One of Twitter’s greatest assets is its sense of individuality, where passengers are able to communicate on a personal and human level with Jay, Leigh, Ian and Lloyd – each one bringing their own personality traits into the social equation.

Ally said:

“I am really proud of the team because they have to deal with difficult situations from hot trains to fatalities on the line.

“They are the trustworthy voices of the company. By having direct links with control the team are able to relay important information in real time.”

Twitter is a relatively new forum for customer service. It now gives the passenger the chance to have a constructive two way conversation without having to formulate an email or call up any helplines. People now see it as way they can have a voice, passengers can report faults or give praise to members of FCC staff – it is a way to improve customer service.

The positive feedback to @FirstCC is always welcomed by the managers and directors, with ‘James the station announcer’ at St Albans currently becoming a twitter sensation amongst passengers for his high levels of customer service.

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Roger Perkins
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