Virgin founder Richard Branson revealed that the company is set to invest £50 million to improve its customer experience. Richard Branson is hoping that putting money into improving services will encourage people who might consider alternative travel options to step back on the train.
Virgin Trains has revealed the results of one of the most extensive pieces of customer research ever undertaken by the company and has used the results to determine its investment priorities.
“We don’t just want to meet customer expectations, we want to exceed them. And that’s why we’re committing to go further than any other train operator to create an unparalleled on-board experience for our customers,” said Branson.
Customers were asked to name their top priorities for an ‘ideal customer experience’ from booking a journey and on-board experience through to arrival. Being rewarded for loyalty ranked top in the customers list of priorities with 84 percent saying that they would like to be rewarded in some way for choosing Virgin. Also topping passengers’ priorities was help with pre-boarding and 62 percent of passengers requested better facilities at stations to enable them to be able to either work or wait comfortably.
“Our customers told us what would make their journeys with us even better and we listened. We have already started to make this a reality, from beefing up our pre-boarding teams to making a great start with our new Nectar rewards programme,” said head of marketing for Virgin Trains Chris Perl.
As part of the customer experience investment, Virgin have partnered with Nectar the UK’s largest loyalty programme, to introduce a customer reward scheme. Customers can now collect Nectar points when booking tickets online, receiving 2 points for every £1 spent on tickets purchased.
Graham Leech, Executive Commercial Director at Virgin Trains commented, “On top of our great value fares, we are delighted to be partnering with Nectar to offer our customers an even bigger reward for choosing us.”
£20 million will be spent on station refurbishment, with extra waiting rooms and tickets machines. There are also plans to upgrade the website and invest in on-board catering improvements. Other improvements include upgraded Wi-Fi for business class passengers and a Teddy Tracking service to reunite children with lost toys. “We have ambitious plans to delight every customer who travels with us,” said Branson.
numero believe that the key to Virgin Trains remaining the leading travel operator, is its commitment to providing exceptional, personalised customer’s experiences. For those businesses that want to remain successful, relevant and at the top of their game, they need to keep up with their customers and deliver the experience that they want and expect.