Already halfway through our journey with London Midland, we have started developing our conversational interface offering, LoMi.
A recent article from IBM pointed out:
“By embracing an integrated rail ecosystem and new cognitive technologies to acquire, associate and apply information, railways can become more efficient and effective, and can create a more responsive and agile operating environment.” (Source: IBM)
Nowhere is this attitude more evident than at the London Midland LABS accelerator (a rail initiative to find the next big thing in travel customer experience). We’re now halfway through an intensive 12 week program and have spent the past few weeks defining our product.
The accelerator has allowed us access to the top voices in London Midland and other key stakeholders, so we’ve quickly been able to find out what the company (and the rail industry) is currently looking for. Perhaps surprisingly, the company is as much driven by what the chosen 10 companies in this cohort can provide for them, through our innovative solutions and thinking, as by the current stand out issues within London Midland itself. It’s this modern thinking and having access to decision makers and their vision, that has made moulding our offering a breeze - and that’s where the value in these accelerators lie.
Building Dazzle last year, our voice activated in room hotel concierge powered through Amazon’s Alexa, has enabled us to build up an expertise in voice and Messenger. We’re now applying this to the train industry to see how we can help London Midland innovate. We’re calling our solution to the customer service problem ‘LoMi’, a bot through which customers can get immediate answers to any queries they have using Amazon’s Alexa. They can even continue the conversation once they leave their house, on the Messenger app. It means that London Midland can provide customers with accurate answers in real time, without having to lift a finger. However, we know that these type of personal assistants always need to be designed with a human in the loop (and that is certainly our philosophy). Given this, as soon as the automation doesn’t recognise a particular question (and consequently can’t provide the answer) that’s when a customer service agent can and will take over. Happily, as time goes by and the corpus of questions and answers is constantly added to, the bot can take even more pressure off these agents.
Voice bots and messenger services are quickly becoming popular and a great way for brands to keep in touch with customers, and our intention is to provide London Midland with a dashboard where they can keep track of all interactions from individual customers in one place. If someone chats to LoMi through Alexa, then uses Messenger, then Tweets the company, the customer agent will be able to see all interactions and quickly and easily understand any problems.
The value add we’re aiming to provide London Midland with is the data that goes hand in hand with these interactions. We’ll be reporting on who is asking what, when, where and how, giving both the customer team a solution to better track issues and individuals and the marketing team information on the client base. All of this will feed into what we are (temporarily) calling the ‘mega dash’ - it’s from these learnings over time that the train company can understand and amend its operations to improve and enhance their service.
This is, at least, the plan. As we know in software development, things can change, and quickly, but we’re looking forward to what the final home stretch at London Midland’s Labs will bring.
About the Author
Ed Rigg is Account Manager at Lola Tech, where he is responsible for building and maintaining long-term customer relationships. Lola Tech is a pioneering travel software business leading the field in travel tech innovation. With big-name clients globally, their talented team is adept at creating awesome systems to increase your uptime and conversion rates or to provide you with that innovative edge to outshine the competition. Supporter of Dazzle, a voice activated personal assistant for the hotel industry. Visit Lola Tech for more information.