Using a multilingual bot to scale Thalys’ customer service

Their story

Thalys is a French-Belgian rail company that operates high-speed train routes between major European centers like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Cologne. Founded in 1996, Thalys has been connecting customers in western Europe for almost 25 years.

With an emphasis on providing excellent customer experiences under the motto “Welcome to our world,” Thalys is constantly improving its routes, services, and support to better serve its international customer base.

The Goal

Customer centricity has always been at the center of Thalys’ philosophy. With a diverse customer base, Thalys offers support in four languages (French, Dutch, English and German). To achieve this, Thalys has assembled an excellent team of highly-trained, multilingual customer service agents.  

As Thalys expanded their support channels to include Facebook and Twitter, the team often found themselves overwhelmed with customer requests. Thalys didn’t want to outsource customer service operations but also knew that they couldn’t maintain acceptable response times without help. 

They turned to automation to help them deflect simple customer requests and qualify complex ones so their agents could resolve them faster.

The Solution

In 2017, Thalys launched a competition to find a chatbot provider. Mindsay emerged as the victor, chosen over a large competitor due to our quick delivery time and connected use cases.

Thalys launched their first bot in four languages, English, French, Dutch, and German, on their website and app. The first version of Thalys’ bot tapped into their knowledge bases to quickly provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

A lot has changed since 2017. Now, Thalys’ bot is handling an array of dynamic use cases using API connections with Salesforce, Falcon, and Navitia. Mindsay’s integration with Navitia gives the bot access to real-time train schedules and provides users with customized schedules and links to purchase tickets.

“Mindsay’s technology allows us to constantly improve and innovate. Their integration with Salesforce significantly boosts our agents’ productivity and has cut downtime to resolution. This ultimately allows us to better serve our customers.” - Stephan Krämer, Customer Service Program Manager

Mindsay’s integration with Salesforce has proven to be especially valuable. The bot allows customers to open a case within Salesforce without having to call or fill out a web form. Thalys also employs an agent handover to Salesforce Live Agent. If someone is having trouble finding the information they need, the bot can seamlessly transfer them to a human agent.

Channels
Integrations

The Results

Soon after launch, Thalys started seeing the impact. The Mindsay bot did an excellent job deflecting basic questions from the customer service team and helped reduce request volumes by qualifying customers and directing them to the right channels. Eventually, the bot automated the claims process using a Salesforce API, allowing customers to request compensation for delayed trips without the help of a human agent.

As a result, Thalys has been able to scale its customer service operations without having to outsource or expand the size of its in-house team of experts. The agents also see the value of the bot. They know that the bot takes care of the easy questions so they can spend their valuable time handling the complex requests. This has allowed Thalys to keep costs in check while maintaining a high level of customer service.

Mindsay’s flexible platform has also helped Thalys manage the COVID crisis. The user-friendly platform lets Thalys easily update the bot’s COVID-related information and train schedules, allowing their customer service department to manage spikes in request volumes.

  • 24/7 customer support in 4 languages
  • 99% automation rate
  • Automated claims and reimbursement processes
  • Integrated with Salesforce Live Agent to offer a seamless agent handover
Key Stats

99%

automation rate

4

languages handled by the bot

1

month to launch

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“When I see the number of conversations that the bot handled, especially when COVID struck, it would have been impossible to deal with without the bot. We can’t live without it.”
Stephan Krämer
Customer Service Program Manager

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