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National Express Group has partnered with IBM to improve customer experience at its c2c rail franchise, rolling out mobile and analytics capabilities to staff and passengers.

National Express Group has partnered with IBM to improve customer experience at its c2c rail franchise, rolling out mobile and analytics capabilities to staff and passengers.

Train operator c2c, which runs services for commuters between London’s Fenchurch Street and South Essex, created mobile apps on IBM’s cloud platform to help travellers arrange journey’s via a smartphone. 

The app, developed by IBM’s Interactive Experience consultancy arm, allows customers to plan their trip door to door by postcode, as well as track specific trains, check which shops and services are available at particular stations, and receive service disruption alerts on the move.

Plans are also underway to create an ‘automatic delay repay’ application that will pay compensation to smart card holders each month for any delays, and is expected to go live by the end of 2015.

“Our work with IBM provides the foundation for our plans to transform the experience of passengers when they travel with c2c,” said Ruth Harrison-Wood, commercial director for c2c.

“We knew intelligence could be driven from the high volumes of operational and customer data we generate daily. IBM has helped us get a holistic view of operations that will allow us to improve customer satisfaction in multiple areas, including delivering a first in UK rail with national postcode-to-postcode journey planning.”

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The partnership is also aimed at aiding on-platform staff equipped with mobile devices to provide up to date information to customers on train status and schedules.

Analysis of ‘Internet of things’ sensors along c2c’s tracks will be used to pinpoint the location of trains throughout more accurately.

Dashboards will also be made available to staff, using IBM’s cloud platform to analyse a variety of internal and external data, offering key performance indicator on information such as cancellations and delays, customer and employee safety and complaints.

“The cloud model enables us to work on a subscription basis, allowing us to expand as needs change, so improvements can be built-in quickly and cost-effectively,” said Harrison-Wood. 

Last week, IBM announced investment in its cloud network with data centres in 11 new locations across the globe, in order to enhance its services for enterprise customers. The $1.2 billion (£0.8bn) investment involves new cloud facilities in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo, with another other eight new locations delivered through a partnership with data centre operator Equinix.

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