ServiceStrategy Design Engineering
- 4.3 star rating on the App Store.
Who is LNER?
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services thousands of passengers on the East Coast and has ambitious goals and visions about changing train travel from the inside out. Its key distinct advantage in the market is that it’s both a service provider and an owner of its train stations.
This means that, unlike purely digital services, the business can make a real impact on the customer experience as it controls all aspects of the journey; from booking to journey planning to arrival.
LNER aims to provide a service that people love and which forms better relationships with passengers. From research conducted by Future Platforms, it’s clear that some of the most common frustrations around travel include confusion about ticket pricing, stress from the lack of visibility about journey delays or cancellations, no clarity around seat allocation, and lack of communication by service providers.
The new LNER Travel Buddy app addresses and solves a host of these passenger frustrations. It merges the traditional world of rail with new and improved digital solutions.
Although LNER had an existing mobile app, it did not match the company’s ambition and commitment to changing the face of rail.
In the face of aggregating competitors, such as journey-planning apps, there has never been a more crucial time for businesses like LNER to form relationships with their customers. LNER needed a product that would allow it to compete in this space and to own the customer journey from start to finish.
The business needed a solution that would solve the main frustrations passengers were facing, which were: difficulty purchasing tickets; not having an intuitive booking experience; and having to visit the website instead of being able to complete actions in-app.
Mobile is a key conduit between LNER and the business needed a mobile solution that would better meet its customers’ expectations. The new solution would need to position LNER not only as a service provider but as a travel companion as well. Therefore, it would need to offer an improved, one-stop-shop solution and, above all, delight passengers.
The end result is an app that provides a more intuitive user experience and gathers valuable customer insight and feedback, which will allow the business to improve the app to match changing customer demands in the future.
LNER is always striving to make journeys smoother and Travel Buddy better reflects these values.
Due to the unique requirements, LNER put out a request for proposal, which was won due to the strategic partnership of Future Platforms and Softwire.
Softwire’s experience in the public sector and Future Platforms’ expertise in building award-winning apps and knowledge of the transport industry meant the partners stood out from the rest.
Future Platforms’ team of experts are leaders when it comes to planning around the intricacies and complexities of the systems and integrations required to deliver eTickets, live times, and journey planning.
The solution presented by Future Platforms and Softwire was a clear, standout winner as it highlighted all that LNER strived to achieve – a sleek, customer-centred app that provides all the features necessary for passengers to successfully plan a journey, all from the palm of their hand.
The app was given a complete makeover and several new features were added to improve the lives of its users. These include:
- New eTicketing system that offers several benefits: greater ticket collection flexibility; no need to activate tickets or register devices; ticket sharing options; and save eTickets straight to Apple Wallet.
- One-time sign-in: users need only sign in once. Journey preferences are also remembered, offering a personalised experience.
- The ability to view all LNER journeys directly in the app, so users always know of any changes and are on top of upcoming journeys.
- A find and check information option that quickly shows users their collection reference points for ticket collection from the station.
As well as all these ticketing benefits, extensive research was done in order to learn about which kind of app design would be the most intuitive and pleasing to navigate. With the new design, passengers are still able to quickly check bookings, live train times, and buy tickets, but the app interface is easier to use and it looks better too!
The sleek, market-leading app makes for much smoother journeys and is already improving customer satisfaction after only three months.
The platform has driven digital ticket adoption, helping to reduce friction that sometimes arises with boarding trains. The data that is collected improves the home-to-seat experience, which significantly decreases commuter frustration and stress – a big win for the transport industry. LNER is also able to use this data to create more personalised features that deepen customer relationships.
The bespoke solution has positioned LNER as a leader in its industry and has highlighted its customer-first mentality. This is expected to result in a more loyal client base going forward and will only improve as more features are added and improved on.