Challenge

As France’s national rail carrier, SNCF transports 14 million people around France and its neighboring countries every day. With so many passengers, there is the potential for thousands of support requests coming from phone lines, email, social media, and messaging platforms.

To help provide their passengers with on-the-go information, SNCF introduced a mobile app. Since launching their app, SNCF has seen a growing proportion of passengers relying on it for train information, booking management, ticket information, discount card subscriptions, and other travel-related questions.

Despite the rising app usage, SNCF’s customer support team was still dealing with a deluge of support tickets. After taking a closer look at these support requests, SNCF noticed that a sizeable number of them were related to the app. Some passengers felt lost within the app, resulting in them uninstalling it. There was nothing in place to show users how to use all of the app’s great features.

Another issue was that impatient passengers increasingly expected rail companies to respond to their requests right away. If that wasn’t the case, the passengers weren’t happy. When using SNCF’s app to contact support, long response times often led to passengers uninstalling the app.

SNCF picked up on this trend and decided to take action. However, adding more support staff to deal with around-the-clock requests is costly. So, they started exploring ways that they could reduce the load on their support agents while also offering instant, 24/7 service.

Solution

SNCF had several important criteria that needed to be met. First and foremost, they didn’t want to further complicate their support staff’s jobs. Their support team was using Zendesk to manage customer requests and respond to inquiries. Naturally, SNCF wanted to find a solution that could seamlessly integrate with Zendesk.

SNCF’s search eventually led them to Mindsay. A conversational bot proved to be the perfect solution to their challenge. After working with SNCF to understand their key issues, we built a bot for their mobile app. 

The in-app bot can answer questions about how to use the app, lets users create alerts, finds travel itineraries, provides departure information, and answers the most frequently asked questions. It’s not strictly a chatbot though, it’s also a voice bot. Passengers can interact with the bot by either talking or typing.

With our chatbot, SNCF can address passengers’ questions about how to navigate within the app and introduce some of its features, significantly improving the app’s usage. This, in turn, helped to reduce the volume of users uninstalling the app as well as decreased the number of passengers contacting the support team.

The bot’s 24/7 availability has also let SNCF provide their passengers with the instant, around-the-clock service they want without having to scale up their support team.  

Results

It didn’t take long for SNCF to see results. By helping passengers digitize their discount cards, find travel itineraries, create travel alerts, look up train information, and get answers to their frequently asked questions, the SNCF bot helped reduce the number of incoming support tickets by 50%.

When there’s a request that the bot can’t handle, Mindsay’s integration with Zendesk makes transferring the conversation to a human agent painless for both users and support agents.

With the bot answering questions 24/7, SNCF was able to provide its passengers with always-on service while reducing the workload of its support team. In the end, the bot’s responsiveness helped SNCF improve overall passenger satisfaction.