After a very successful first cohort to kick off our innovation labs programme in early 2020, we headed into the second cohort full of optimism and confidence that we would find yet another team of innovators who would provide business solutions to help us improve our customer experience.

Cohort 2 started in late August 2020 and was delivered virtually as a result of the pandemic, comprising of 11 start-ups working hard to solve some of the challenges we were facing. The start-ups attended virtual workshops and worked with sponsors and owners to build their MVP, which they would ultimately pitch to us at demo day at the end of the programme.

This cohort is where we were first introduced to Wordnerds, an AI-powered text analytics solution that looks to help companies better understand their customers by providing actionable insights from numerous customer communication channels.

Their combination of cutting-edge artificial intelligence and old-school linguistics allows companies to read – and genuinely understand – what people really mean, not just count the words they use.

As a dynamic train operating company that puts passenger experience, happiness, and safety at the forefront of everything we do, we were immediately intrigued by the ideas Wordnerds were producing and the possibilities that their solutions presented our Customer Relations teams with.

We were continuously impressed by Wordnerds throughout the process and ultimately decided to continue working with them following the programme, developing a relationship that has provided us with several examples of crucial information that we’ve been able to act upon since.

Their Solution

Their data provides us with a single view of the customer voice, linking data from social media, complaints, surveys and live-network feedback, allowing meaningful insights that we could then takeaway and discuss internally. Getting to the root cause of issues quicker means we can take action on what matters when it matters most.

Real World Example

During the pandemic when we wanted our passengers to feel as safe as possible, we used Wordnerds to train and fine-tune our artificial intelligence across our platforms so that we were able to find and surface common themes within all the data. After conducting a deep dive analysis, exploring issues that passengers weren’t flagging with us directly but instead in untagged social comments, they discovered concerns around onboard mask compliance – despite assurances from our station teams that we were doing everything we could to enforce the rules.

As a result, our Insight & Innovation Manager Michael Davies was able to present this finding at one of our weekly board meetings and request that action be taken.

We then used this insight to alert our onboard teams and increase our face covering messaging on board our trains and at stations.

This proactive approach then saw mask compliance sentiment ascend into positive territory in our following reporting period, as we were better able to understand and help our passengers feel safe whilst restrictions were in place.

The Outcome

We not only continue to use Wordnerds to flag any new issues such as the above, but also as a key resource for our BAU reporting. Their AI data helps inform our ‘Voice of the Customer’ period reports, which is shared with our board and subsequently across the entire business.

Wordnerds provides us with real-time actionable insights from social conversations around performance issues, key stations and monitoring passenger experiences to find areas for improvement. Working with Wordnerds has really strengthened our ability to highlight and act on what our customers are telling us. We have used the tool to really hit home the impact issues have but more important using it to highlight what actions we can take to improve our customer experience.


Our Customer Experience Insight & Innovation Manager Michael Davies said:

‘Working with Wordnerds has allowed us to increase the speed in which we provide customer insight to the business, allowing us to focus on the key themes and topics that matter to our customers across our network.

“In turn this has meant that they’ve also helped us to utilise best practice from across the industry, so that we are able to react to the real-life challenges our customers are facing in a much quicker and more efficient way.

“Wordnerds have added real value to our processes and way of working here at TfW, and we look forward to that relationship continuing”.

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