Passenger frustration focus of O2 digital services survey

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The passenger transport industry may be missing out on sales to the tune of £1.2bn by failing to connect effectively with customers digitally, according to O2.

Research conducted for the company by analysts Conlumino claimed that passenger services companies, such as rail and bus operators, are struggling to harness digital technologies despite the fact the majority of passenger spend – 64% – is now influenced by these digital channels.

The survey used a nationally UK representative sample of 2,027 consumers. Within this survey consumers were asked a number of questions about their habits and preferences when making a journey, via both traditional and digital channels. A cross section of 25 UK passenger services businesses was also surveyed, assessing opinions of key people within the organisation around their use of digital services and tools.

The survey found that over 80% of people have used digital channels to plan journeys and look up prices, more people are now buying tickets via websites and apps (66%) than in person or over the phone (53%) and 65% have used digital methods to check for travel news updates – four times the number of people who rely on more traditional services such as station updates or over the phone information.

Of these people, 84% said they find websites or apps used to buy tickets confusing. 87% said they found lack of real time information either somewhat frustrating, significantly frustrating or very significantly frustrating, while nine in 10 said the same about inconsistent pricing across different outlets.

Of operators surveyed, 30% answered either ‘we excel at doing this’ or ‘we do this well’ when asked how they rated their company on adapting to new technology.

Ben Dowd, Head of Business at O2 commented: “With the arrival of 4G, ubiquitous connectivity will only make these technologies more central to the consumer experience. The impact of successful digital services will be the deciding factor when it comes to engaging and retaining customers.”