Information published on 6 February 2018 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 583.

Germany: Optimising customer service – DB using WhatsApp to help keep stations clean

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Deutsche Bahn customers can now send information on station cleanliness through WhatsApp so that on-site cleaning staff can clean up messes as quickly as possible.

The new clean-up concept was piloted successfully in 2017 in central train stations in Berlin, Hanover and Hamburg. The project is running both in stations and onboard trains on the Berlin S-Bahn light rail system.

DB plans to extend the new service to around 140 stations – as well as the entire Berlin S-Bahn system – by the end of March. The aim is to achieve lasting improvements in cleanliness.

Here’s how it works:

Passengers and station visitors simply send a WhatsApp message with details of the exact location and nature of the problem to the corresponding service number. Phone numbers are displayed on posters and stickers in the relevant stations.

The feedback is sent to personnel, who then start cleaning up as quickly as possible. The customer can opt to receive a notification to let them know that the issue has been rectified, and they can even assign a grade to rate the station’s cleanliness.

DB spends tens of millions of euro each year to keep around 5,700 stations clean.

The WhatsApp cleaning initiative is part of Deutsche Bahn’s “Railway of the Future” quality assurance program. Launched in 2016, “Railway of the Future” aims to bring about sustained improvements in quality, punctuality and customer focus. By offering cleanliness and comfort in train stations along with more punctual trains, more reliable customer information and greater comfort on-board, DB is hoping to enhance its reputation among customers as a likeable service provider. A strategic goal of the multiannual program is to increase DB’s profits by improving the quality of its customer offering.

(Source: DB Netz)