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Virgin Trains rolls out handheld ticketing devices to boost customer service

Virgin Trains has launched hand-held ticketing devices across its network in the UK that will enable its customers to skip ticket office queues and purchase directly from station staff.

Virgin

The long-distance operator has issued the tablet technology, called Avocet, in a bid to boost customer service.

Similar initiatives have been introduced in banking and other retail sectors where employees have moved from behind screens and are interacting directly with customers.

With this system, station staff will be able to issue digital tickets to a mobile device, thereby reducing paper usage.

“Avocet is giving us flexibility. Our people can work behind a window, on the concourse, on the platforms or within the ticket machine vending area.”

It will also enable Virgin Trains staff to dedicate more time to customer needs and offer more support around aspects such as ticketing, directions, onward travel advice, etc. The technology was launched across the West Coast network in August following several successful trials at major stations.

Virgin Trains director of digital projects Nick Dodd said: “Avocet is giving us flexibility. Our people can work behind a window, on the concourse, on the platforms or within the ticket machine vending area.

“We have also used the system in station car parks so customers do not have to walk to the ticket office. It’s about opening up our ticket offices and ensuring customers have better access to our frontline teams as well.”

In September, the UK-based train operating company implemented a Rich Communications Services (RCS)-based chat service for passenger communications.

The service, called Text Messaging 2.0, enables Virgin Trains to send photos, videos, audio and messages containing easy-to-select buttons to its passengers and customers.

It was rolled out in partnership with telecom company Vodafone and mobile messaging solutions provider OpenMarket.

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