How Traffic Scotland Delights Travellers Across Scotland With Social Customer Service

By: Sofie De Beule

October 27, 2015

These days, transport companies rely heavily on social media to update travellers in real-time on key travel information (e.g. road works, strikes, accidents, etc.) and manage crisis situations. Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government’s vision for transport. The Traffic Scotland Service is operated by the Traffic Scotland Operator, Amey, on behalf of Transport Scotland.

It’s the Traffic Scotland mission to provide real-time traffic and travel information to road users across Scotland in many different ways including the Traffic Scotland Service customer care line, website, smartphone app, radio service, and variable message signs. Social media plays a key role in the service they offer. We talked with Douglas Cairns, Operations Support Manager at Traffic Scotland and Amey, who will also be speaking at C3 Europe in London tomorrow, October 28.

Sofie: What’s been the biggest challenge in terms of social customer service you’ve encountered? What has helped you to overcome this?

Douglas: Firstly, it’s a challenge to keep our audience informed with up-to-date information about our network. Secondly, there’s a continued increase in interaction and expectation from our followers.

Scotland has a diverse trunk road network, from motorway to single carriageway sections. Social media is an important tool that helps us monitor what’s happening on Scotland’s trunk roads. It plays a key part in gathering information and complements the intelligence we gather from a wide range of sources, giving us a complete picture of what’s currently happening across the network. Using multiple sources helps us to keep the travelling public safe and up-to-date with information that is accurate and reliable.

The use of social media completes the picture for Traffic Scotland. Utilising Engagor enables us to monitor social networks for information on incidents, roadworks/events and weather affecting our network.

Social media is also a great source of information as the public quickly starts tweeting when something is happening on the network. We are able to use this information to further enhance our monitoring capability. The sooner we know about an issue affecting the network, the quicker we can get traffic moving again. Engagor allows us to quickly identify and filter live conversations and separate out posts we need to respond to. This ensures our team gets the relevant information to our audience in a timely manner.

Sofie: What are your priorities in terms of social customer service?

Douglas: We work with a number of operational partners in order to provide the public with accurate and consistent information in a personal and approachable manner. This is our priority and fundamental to our service. When someone reaches out to us on social media, they need to know that there’s a person sitting at a desk responding to these queries. We believe it’s that personal touch that really makes the difference.

Sofie: How do you make your company stand out on social?

Douglas: Without a doubt it’s the way we communicate with our audience. Depending on what’s happening on the network, we like to display the different personalities on our team through the use of images, style of content, and use of humour. This approach has been extremely beneficial to our service and has been embraced by our audience which continues to grow.

Sofie: What will attendees learn from your presentation at C3?

Douglas: As our audience and requirements have changed over the years, we have needed to adapt quickly to changing demands, whilst working with Transport Scotland to provide and maintain a first class traffic and travel information service on Twitter.

This month we hit a massive milestone of 100k followers which is partly down to the way we interact with our audience on a day-to-day basis via social media. Although we still have a long way to go, we were able to learn from our mistakes. My advice to attendees is listen to your audience and not be afraid to speak to them. You may be surprised with the outcome.