Improving customer service response time with a Messenger-powered digital assistant


Train-travel made convenient

Thalys is a high-speed railway operator connecting France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Established in 1996, the company recently ported its existing digital assistant to Messenger to provide its passengers with an additional channel for receiving immediate responses to frequently asked questions including ticketing information, refund policies and pandemic-related queries.


Providing more efficient customer care

The international railway company needed to answer a large volume of questions related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including booking information, refund policies and health and safety protocols.

To do this, Thalys decided to automate frequently asked questions about train travel and transfer unresolved queries to its in-house customer care team using Messenger.


Speeding up customer service

To maximise Messenger as a communication channel, Thalys implemented an automated experience that answered frequently asked questions as well as queries that came in after the customer care team’s regular hours. The high-speed railway company partnered with automation provider, Mindsay, to create a digital assistant with Messenger’s native templates and quick replies. Once integrated, the automated experience for Messenger could guide customers towards the answers of 72 frequently asked questions, including booking information, refund policies and COVID-19-related health and safety protocols.

During regular business hours, the Mindsay and Messenger-powered digital assistant used Messenger's Handover Protocol to transfer customers with complex queries to Thalys’ in-house customer care team, which uses a system provided by social media management company to organise and route inbound messages.

The digital assistant also automates the claims process by connecting to Thalys’ systems, allowing customers to request compensation for delayed trips without the help of an agent.

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Going places with automation

By integrating an automated experience to address frequently asked questions on Messenger, Thalys optimized its customer service team’s allocation of resources and increased efficiency by improving response times.:

  • 68% of conversations were handled by the automated experience for Messenger
  • 91% of messages are accurately identified by the bot
  • 45% of customers whose requests were transferred to a live agent interacted with the automated experience again after the handover
  • Average response times outside of agent hours dropped from 223 minutes, to 4 seconds
  • Average agent response time within agent hours decreased by 43% (from 7 hours, to 4 hours)
*Results are unique and are provided by the featured business. Success story results will vary, as they depend on a variety of factors.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our customers increasingly turned to online customer support methods and we needed to provide them with accurate information and answers as fast as possible. In working with Mindsay and Falcon, our hybrid customer support experience uses both automation and our team of in-house customer service experts to improve operational efficiency and instantly provide customers with the information they need, in their chosen language.”

Griet Lissens
Quality & Customer Service Director, Thalys

“We deeply value the collaborative and innovative partnership we’ve built with Thalys since 2017. Messenger is a vital communication channel for Thalys. We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done together to improve customer support with advanced automation on Facebook’s platforms.“

Ilias Hicham
Chief Product Officer, Mindsay

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