Our future vision is based on greater digitalisation and an even better customer experience. With Salesforce by our side, we’ve got everything we need to achieve it.”

- Griet Lissens, Customer Service and Quality Director, Thalys
Salesforce Client Since 2016


Increase in agent productivity after just one month


Thalys helps more travellers create great memories with Salesforce

High-speed trains. Onboard wifi. Paperless tickets. As a Trailblazer, Thalys has always been at the cutting-edge of rail travel in Europe. Its red trains cross France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, helping passengers get to their destinations in comfort faster.

Whether they’re travelling for business or pleasure, Thalys aims to leave every passenger with great memories. “We want to deliver a seamless, personalised customer experience, regardless of the passenger’s language, culture, origin, or destination,” said Griet Lissens, Customer Service and Quality Director. “We’re very focused on making everything as easy as possible for our passengers, and that means constantly innovating when it comes to customer service.”

Salesforce is a key part of Thalys’ innovation story. “With Salesforce, we can turn our improvement ideas into reality – it’s transformed customer service,” said Potencier.

Just one month after the roll-out of Salesforce to 70 agents in 2016, Thalys saw a 20% increase in productivity. It’s also reduced performance reporting timescales from one week to 30 minutes, enabled faster compensation payments, and reduced the number of open cases by 30%.

With Salesforce, I can constantly digitalise and innovate.The easier I can make things for our agents, the better they can serve our customers.”

Griet Lissens, Customer Service and Quality Director, Thalys

Personalised interactions help turn 7 million customers into ambassadors

Founded in 1997, Thalys is the only rail service to offer a high-speed international link between four countries. A truly multicultural company, Thalys’ key goals include promoting growth, maximising sustainability, and delivering added value to its customers.

Building loyalty is a key component of Thalys’ plans for growth. But with more than seven million passengers in 2017, understanding its customers is no small feat. “We want to create ambassadors that not only come back time and again, but share their experiences with friends, family, and colleagues,” said Lissens.

To achieve this goal, Thalys’ customer service reps need to be well-informed and knowledgeable so they can personalise every interaction with customers. With customer data fragmented across 10 separate databases, they spent most of their time looking for information rather than utilising it.

Thalys boosts competitive advantage with constant innovation

As part of a digital transformation, Thalys decided to redesign its approach to managing customer information. After investigating a number of options, Lissens and her team decided on Salesforce. “Service Cloud met our agents’ needs witih minimal customisation,” said Lissens. “It also offered flexibility, rapid deployment, and ease of integration.”

The solution was deployed with assistance from Thalys’ integration partner Accenture.
“Our agents were involved from the start, as they were responsible for driving the change,” explained Lissens. “We asked them what they wanted from the new solution, and we created their interface based on this. We call it Thango, as it represents an intricate dance between the customer and the service agent.”

Although the initial goal was to simply establish a new CRM platform, Thalys got a whole lot more. “With Salesforce, we are now part of an ecosystem that’s constantly evolving. We can exploit new technologies and ideas that help to keep us at the cutting-edge of rail travel,” said Lissens.

A 360-degree view supports 300km/h customer service

From buying a ticket and requesting a refund to providing feedback and booking additional services, every part of the customer experience is now managed via Service Cloud. “Customers don’t like to wait – our trains hit 300km/h, and so should our services,” said Lissens. “With Service Cloud, we have a 360-degree view of the customer experience, which means our agents can focus on adding value rather than looking for information.”

As with all modes of transport, delays are sometimes unavoidable. To help streamline compensation claims, Thalys uses Einstein’s AI capabilities to calculate the amount owed to a customer based on various factors, including ticket price and the length of the delay.
This not only ensures accurate and rapid payments, but also massively reduces work for customer service reps.

Real-time KPI reports enable smarter decisions

Reporting has also been streamlined with Salesforce, as Lissens explained: “Our customer service managers used to spend one week every month creating reports. Now they are generated automatically in Service Cloud and just need a quick check before being sent to
senior management.”

Real-time reports mean real-time data. With a more accurate view of performance, the Thalys management team can make more informed decisions that drive ongoing service improvements.

To help agents and managers make the most of the features and reports available in Service Cloud, they’re encouraged to use Trailhead on a regular basis. “Thanks to Trailhead, our agents can get to grips with Service Cloud quickly,” said Lissens. “I can make even quite complicated customisations without any help from IT.”

Centralised information takes sales to the next level

With the B2B sales team also starting to use Salesforce too, Thalys now has all customer knowledge in the same place. “Account managers capture every customer interaction in Sales Cloud, so both sales and service can make sure they’re having relevant conversations,” explained Lissens.

The team isn’t only logging customer information in Salesforce, but also distributor and partner data, which makes it much easier to manage all its important relationships.

Continuously innovating keeps Thalys one step ahead

As part of its commitment to customer service and satisfaction, Thalys is always looking ahead. “As soon as you stop innovating, you start going backwards,” said Lissens. “We continually evaluate our customers’ and our agents’ changing needs. With Salesforce, it’s easy to stay a step ahead.”

Thalys is currently implementing Marketing Cloud to make it easier to send out personalised offerings and loyalty programme communications. It also wants to give its train managers a 360-degree view of passengers by equipping them with tablets running Service Cloud.

Happier agents means happier customers

Greater visiblity has already transformed customer service outcomes: for example, open cases reduced in volume by 30%. But for Thalys, it’s not just about better service metrics, it’s about happier people. “The most important result for us is that we have far happier agents, and that translates to happier customers,” said Lissens. “Our future vision is based on greater digitalisation, greater customer control, and an even better customer experience. With Salesforce by our side, we’ve got everything we need to achieve it.”

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