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V/line: A Case Study

Dennis Adonis

V/Line is Australia’s largest regional public transport operator. In 2014 -15 more than 15.04 million train and coach passenger trips were taken, and the company schedules more than 1700 train services between Melbourne and regional destinations in Victoria, including Geelong, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Bendigo, Albury and many more.

V/Line branded coach services connect with the rail network and serve regional Victorian communities where trains do not operate. In addition to being a passenger service operator, V/Line also provides access to, and maintains, 3420 kilometres of rail track used by passengers and freight rail services.

V/Line is a major employer with a workforce of 1586, many of whom live in regional Victoria.

The challenge:

V/Line wanted to improve its customer engagement by automating the delivery of service information for its train network.

The company specifically wanted to prioritise information related to any train delays and cancellations across its five lines running throughout the state of Victoria.

Realising that its customers were a mobile audience it needed an adequate solution that could best meet these needs and improve the overall customer experience.

The solution:

‘V/Line Inform’, a system to distribute service information to its customers - quickly and reliably, even when customers are on the move.

  • Offers customers the choice of receiving alerts via SMS, email, RSS feeds, or even social media - with separate Twitter feeds for five train lines
  • Alert information is published across all messaging, web and social media channels simultaneously, for maximum visibility
  • Customers can manage how and when they receive service change information, based on their travel requirements, with a customer-facing user portal
  • Allows V/Line to collate and maintain an accurate database of a key part of their customer base, now numbering over 9,000 users
  • The system is also used for internal communications, featuring more detailed and technical information for staff about station closures and resource allocations, along with the standard cancellation and delay notifications

The benefits:

Better engagement with customers, enhanced service information delivery, fewer customer service enquiries, increased customer satisfaction, and improved internal staff communications.

Using the Whispir Platform means V/Line can deliver more accurate content using approved message templates and predefined distribution lists. V/Line can send targeted messages simultaneously via multiple channels.

With more targeted information going out to customers about V/Line’s service delivery it is helping to reduce inbound general enquiries. V/Line’s customer- facing user portal also gives users of the service the opportunity to select how they want to receive relevant information.

In addition to the benefits Whispir is providing to V/Line’s customers, the platform has made it easier for V/Line to reach staff with service information.

Targeted internal communications can be sent from the Whispir Platform using specific message templates and distribution lists. This helps to make the organisation more resilient, and also improves situational awareness so that issues can be resolved more quickly.

“The customer can control if they want messages through SMS or email, but we also use Whispir to push out the information to our website via an RSS feed ... and we have five different Twitter accounts hooked up to Whispir depending on which train line the messages are for”

        Simon Lock - Digital Communications Advisor, V/Line