Virgin Trains

Screwing average and creating amazing

We work alongside Virgin Trains as their retained partner, driving forward the end-to-end customer experience across all digital platforms with great success.

The challenge

Virgin Trains runs over 100,000 train journeys every year carrying around 38 million passengers. They were aware that there were many improvements that could be made to the customer experience, and the digital channels were not living up to the exceptional Virgin brand we know and love. They'd also learned that their customers have set habits and aren't particularly loyal.

They needed to re-engage customers, and give them a reason to come back to their digital channels, improving the end-to-end experience for customers who are first deciding to travel by train, to those making a purchase, through to engaging those coming back for more.

We partnered with Virgin Trains to help them deliver a truly amazing omnichannel experience. Our objectives were to:

  • Work with internal teams to deliver against their digital KPIs on an ongoing basis
  • Meet and exceed the desired customer experience, measured by customer satisfaction and customer success (using Hotjar, Google Analytics, formal customer interviews and informal customer discussions)
  • Own the design and ensure the experience is fully consistent across all platforms
  • Make it easier for customers to (a) book, pay and fulfil tickets through digital channels; and (b) self-serve online to reduce calls to customer service teams

An early iteration of the new booking experience for Virgin Trains customers

Our approach

We work side-by-side with Virgin Trains, as an extension of their team. We're continually collaborating through joint workshops, sketching/ideation sessions and designing the best customer experience, together:

  1. We quickly on-boarded at the start, basing ourselves on-site at Virgin Trains once a week from the offset and integrating with the team - this allowed us to truly understand their business goals, challenges and why previous decisions had been made.

  2. We created a prioritised roadmap, based on our audit of Virgin Trains' previous research along with our knowledge of the rail industry and user experience.

  3. Part of our successful collaboration was down to just getting cracking! We found that forming a strong working relationship, building trust and understanding how each other works, really develops when you start solving business and customer needs together. Within weeks of the relationship forming, we'd already designed a range of new features to go live.

  4. Working on-site at the Euston offices means we can easily run rapid research with customers at the station (typically through interviews or guerrilla testing). We consistently analyse Google Analytics, monitor Hotjar recordings and carry out user research to inform our design decisions.

  5. Continually working at the Virgin Trains' offices once a week, for our entire engagement, means we're truly embedded in their business. Working across multiple teams has allowed us to help facilitate and join up comms across the company and bring together collective learnings about customers, allowing the business to make better informed decisions.

  6. As a strategic partner, we've run workshops to flesh out early concepts, and challenge the Virgin Trains team to think outside of their sector to spark new ideas. Our various ideation workshops and roadmap planning sessions have allowed us to create a 12-month digital roadmap, with a backlog of ideas for teams across the business to develop into potential customer propositions.

  7. On a more tactical level, we've designed/redesigned lots of new features and products within their digital estate. A few examples include us designing an Alexa skill allowing for daily interaction with Virgin Trains, new navigation with better access into the purchasing funnel and new landing pages to allow Virgin Trains to earn more in incremental revenue.

Our fully transparent and collaborative way of working, means that everyone can see exactly what we're doing, with direct access to our open access Trello board. This has been an integral part of our successful partnership, as we're working as one cohesive and joined up team.

We often run design workshops as part of working as one extended team

Impact & results

Our ongoing roadmap of wins for Virgin Trains has made countless improvements to the purchasing funnel to increase conversion. For example, we've transformed the online sale experience, increasing conversions during seat sale times.

We're A/B testing numerous theories on an ongoing basis, helping Virgin Trains make continuous small wins across all key metrics, such as ticket sales, account registrations, average transaction value, no. journeys with Virgin Trains and mobile revenue share.

Some key metrics include:

  • Travelling by train as a family can be expensive, we've increased click through to family offers by 23%.
  • Interacting with the search panel to find tickets is a fundamental customer interaction, we've increased this interaction by 5% on desktop, and 10% on mobile.
  • We have made tactical improvements throughout the booking flow, for example when choosing a train time, just one of the improvements alone has increased conversion by 4%.
  • We’ve introduced new landing pages so Virgin Trains can earn increased incremental revenue
  • We designed an Alexa skill that enables customers to book tickets using just their voice
  • The new navigation has increased key interactions and click through rates for key pages
  • Our 'deck of personas' inspire new ideas to improve the experience for Virgin Trains customers
  • We’ve introduced new landing pages so Virgin Trains can earn increased incremental revenue

  • We designed an Alexa skill that enables customers to book tickets using just their voice

  • The new navigation has increased key interactions and click through rates for key pages

  • Our 'deck of personas' inspire new ideas to improve the experience for Virgin Trains customers

Here are some more clients we work with

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Get in touch

Phone

+44 (0)20 7423 6320

Address

133 Park Street
London
SE1 9ED
United Kingdom






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