East Midlands Trains social media: why we went 24/7 and what we’ve learnt

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

East Midlands Trains social media: why we went 24/7 and what we’ve learnt

East Midlands Trains was the subject of 56,000 tweets last year, a rise of 85% from the previous year. For those working in the social media team, it was confirmation they had made the right decision to be the UK’s first rail company to go 24/7 on Twitter and Facebook.

In an exclusive interview with Status Social, Gemma, East Midlands Trains’ customer information manager, explained the rationale behind the decision and what they had learned along the way.

“We decided it needed to be 24/7 because that allows us to engage with our customers regardless of whether our trains are running or not”, said Gemma.


East Midlands Trains’ have significantly increased their engagement after introducing 24/7 Twitter monitoring.

“A lot of our customers travel early in the morning and they might want to ask you a quick question about a ticket or they want to ask how the train service looks for the morning. We thought we needed to be there to offer them that service.”

Since that decision, the share of customer contact on Twitter has increased from 18% to 27%. Meanwhile, calls have decreased by 4% and now account for just 38% of customer contact.

The number of mentions on Twitter has grown from 30,000 to 56,000 over the same period. East Midlands Trains has five people in their social media team. They also deal with customer service phone calls after hours.

“You’d be surprised how many customers do contact us and say they’ve woken up panicking they’ve not done this… or not sure they can get this ticket,” said Gemma. “It really is great that we can give them that reassurance and we can go home knowing we’ve saved someone from worrying all night.”

East Midlands Trains has different strategies when it comes to its two main social media platforms. While Facebook is used for marketing, Twitter is more about delivering passenger information during disruption.

Customer Information BoardThey tweet disruption updates every 18 minutes on average, beating their target of every 40 minutes. “We’ve learned a lot about reporting disruption on Twitter. In the early days we would tweet about an incident but not tweet again if nothing changed,” said Gemma. “That would lead to customers asking for updates. We also weren’t so good at letting people know the situation had returned to normal. Now we understand their needs much better.”

The East Midlands Trains team monitors Klout as part of its customer service. Klout is a website that ranks people according to online social influence via the ‘Klout Score’ – a number between one and 100. The East Midlands Trains’ social media team check out the Klout scores of anyone who engages with them.

“I think it’s really important to do that,” said Gemma. “Potentially somebody with a Klout score of higher than 30 or 40 has an ample amount of followers and it’s that old adage that if someone has a bad experience they’ll tell ten people. The customers with a high Klout score are no more important than anyone else but if you respond to them well there’s a good opportunity to grow your follower base and deliver a good message back.”

East Midlands Trains is still learning what works best when it comes to social media. Two annual customer surveys help provide vital information and East Midlands Trains’ social media activities have been noticed outside their network; other train operators have visited the team at Derby to share best practice. East Midlands Trains continues to work closely with peers to ensure they lead the way when it comes to social media customer service.

Want to know how we can help you with your social media customer service then call us on Derby (01332) 776910 or Nottingham (0115) 8248242.

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