NS International is a major rail operator based in the Netherlands. As part of the state-owned Nederlandse Spoorwegen rail company, NS International operates international inter-city and high-speed train connections to more than 3,300 European destinations. Countries on the network include France (Thalys), Belgium (Intercity Direct), as well as Germany, and Switzerland (Intercity-Express). NS International also operates Eurostar.
The company is committed to providing quality public transportation services and constantly updates its offering of international rail services. During regular operations, NS International moves more than one million people every day through a wide variety of services.
As a major railway operator, NS International (NSI) knows that booking an international train trip creates excitement for customers. But it also creates uncertainty around the actual procedure of the journey and current regulations across the border; especially for infrequent travelers and amid the coronavirus pandemic.
NS International wanted to remove uncertainties and thereby reduce contact pressure from inquiries to customer service. Market research revealed that infrequent travelers have a high need for additional travel information such as check-in procedures and maps. To get the data on track, NSI needed to distinguish between frequent and infrequent travelers as the basis for a personalized campaign.
Working with digital agency partner Merkle, NS International created a data-driven email campaign to send customers ‘Ready to Go’ (RTG) messages after successful bookings. Using Selligent Marketing Cloud as the technological backbone, the team integrated a new data source from travel bookings to create a dynamic campaign featuring:
Merkle is a leading Customer Experience Management (CXM) agency, where data and technology are the driving forces. As a global network of thinkers and doers, and part of Dentsu, Merkle has more than 50 branches and 9,600 employees worldwide. In Amsterdam and Rotterdam, more than 285 people work for leading customers such as Microsoft, HEMA, NS, Marktplaats, Vodafone, BMW, and more. Merkle brings together people, brands, and society to help brands move forward by combining CRM, media, and creativity to help more customers make their marketing truly people-centric.
Executed in Selligent Marketing Cloud with a constant view on deliverability and engagement, the Ready to Go email campaign brought customer satisfaction on the fast track. Thanks to enhanced data integration, NS International expanded the reach of its emails by 40 percent, to serve even more travelers with direct trip information and highly relevant content.
Right from the start, the campaign’s impact cut the number of customer service inquiries in half. Meanwhile, positive sentiment towards email communications from NSI grew in the double digits.
“By removing any uncertainties and putting the traveler at ease, this should result in a satisfied and ultimately loyal customer,”said Arjan Van der Salm, Business Development Director, Merkle the Netherlands.
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