A personal butler looks after the wishes of his client and performs all his time-consuming tasks. What was once an exclusive service for the privileged few can now be afforded by everyone: these concierge services are already booming in the USA. There are now also several companies in Germany that offer such services, and these now include Deutsche Bahn. For requirements both large and small, Reisebuddy from DB Dialog and DB Systel offers a special service that is not restricted merely to rail travel requirements. Although the service is primarily used for information on travel connections, delays and reservations, it can do a lot more!
Tickets, car rental or flights – Reisebuddy is ready for anything
The service enables customers to book online tickets, flights or car rental. You can also use it to book a table in a restaurant or tickets for a show, for example. If necessary, your digital friend can even help you out with matters of the heart: if you want to send a bunch of flowers or a gift, you just need to send a quick text message to Reisebuddy. The Reisebuddy team then searches on the internet for a suitable service, makes useful suggestions and then handles the booking.
And the best thing is: Reisebuddy is a totally free service. The customer only pays for the text message. Only when the customer orders a product or service from the vendor, e.g. buys a ticket or flowers, does a payment have to be made. For quick and easy payment, the system uses PayPal. When this online service is used, the third-party provider charges the customer directly and no commission fees to Reisebuddy are incurred.
How Reisebuddy works
Once you have logged in at http://reisebuddy.com/ (website in German only) with a mobile phone number, the service is available. The text queries are processed by a dedicated team at the DB Dialog customer contact centre. The staff there search for the best offer online or by telephone and send the customer their suggestions by text message. Reisebuddy is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One further advantage of the text message: the customer is saved the trouble of waiting in a queue to speak to the service provider. And, unlike online bookings, Reisebuddy does not require continuous mobile phone reception.
Pilot project implemented in seven weeks
Reisebuddy was created as a joint project between DB Dialog and Skydeck, the innovation lab of DB Systel, where ideas are developed for the future and everyday problems are solved with creativity. The starting point was the question as to which business models can be used to drive forward the digitisation process. One shared objective was to improve communication with the end customers. With Reisebuddy, DB Dialog and DB Systel are pooling their core competences. DB Dialog is contributing its vast expertise in customer service and complaint management. DB Systel is making its IT knowledge available and contributing to the collaboration with its start-up methods for products and process development.
In the beta phase from November 2015 to March 2016 more than 1500 users have registered. During this time there were more than 2600 queries to Reisebuddy via text message. Lena from the Reisebuddy team remembers her most curious case so far: a customer needed food for Jack Russell. Lena quickly discovered that the Jack Russell in question was a dog, and the appropriate food was located.
Reisebuddy shows how customer enquiries can be answered quickly by text message. Thanks to the flexible standard software “compactCRM” used, similar projects can be implemented in a very short time. However, Reisebuddy, which was realised in record time, is also a very good example of how existing software can be adapted to customer needs. At every stage of development, the focus was on the user. And with Reisebuddy, end users can now feel like royalty – with their own personal butler.