UK rail users face a further rise in ticket prices from January 2020. Industry and passenger bodies are already joining the regular annual debate on whether rises should be based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure for July in the previous year (2.8% for 2019). While less than half of train fares are regulated in this way, passengers will be concerned about any price rise at all.
So, what can train operators do to help mitigate the cost of increasing fares and the effects on customer satisfaction?
Making Delay Pay
Transport Focus is the independent watchdog for transport users. It recently launched ‘Make Delay Pay’, a campaign to encourage passengers to claim the compensation they are entitled to. It comes as statistics reveal that one in three passengers claim for eligible compensation. Part of the campaign’s aim is to turn compensation into an incentive to train operators: “reliability must keep improving”.
One of the watchdog’s previous initiatives was working with the Government and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to set up the new Rail Ombudsman. It provides a free independent way of resolving disputes between passengers and rail companies. Yet, Tracsis Travel Compensation Services (TTCS) believes that automating Delay Repay could help mitigate disputes and negative customer satisfaction.
Sarah Dalby, TTCS’s Managing Director, says: “Passengers care about service reliability and costs. And if they have had their day disrupted by a train cancellation or delay, they’re entitled to claim compensation when the delay hits certain thresholds. It’s good news that these Delay Repay thresholds are being standardised across TOCs as franchises are renewed. But some train operators are yet to take advantage of the solutions available for making all Delay Repay easier.”
The benefits of the TTCS automated Delay Repay innovation include increased customer satisfaction, a faster, slicker and more efficient claims process for the train operators, with increased revenues and reduced fraudulent claims. It’s also configurable to the requirements of individual train operators. What’s more, TTCS’s award winning ‘One-Click’ claiming meets the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) new recommendations to the Williams rail review.
Office of Rail and Road recommendations
The ORR recommends “…that train operators automate their claims processes to the greatest possible extent, including the use of automated (one-click) claims processes so that more passengers can access compensation in ways that are convenient to them.”
Sarah adds: “Train operators (TOCs) will be glad to hear that our ‘One-Click’ claiming can do just that! With its phased implementation process, operators can quickly start reducing processing costs and improving fraud detection. It’s biggest benefit right now is that it can help improve customer service at a time when the media is fuelling the passengers’ fire on forthcoming fare increases.”
Read more on how we’re revolutionising rail, 'one-click' at a time…