West Yorkshire Combined Authority

SUMMARY

Faced with the first round of renewals for its Metro Senior Pass, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) wanted to make life easier for its 300,000 card holders by giving them an alternative to waiting in line at Travel Centres or on the line to its Contact Centre. Two early decisions determined the success of the solution WYCA developed with Novacroft. To create the first online renewals portal for travel cards to deal with the huge numbers involved. And, second, to capture address details as part of the process to clean the scheme database. Another bold decision by WYCA, to run a PR campaign rather than contacting card holders directly, also paid off, adding to the scheme’s overall savings and success.

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WYCA was very pleased with the take-up rate which was much higher than expected for this age group – 50% – and because the scheme was so successful it took travel card renewals online for 16-25 year olds too

Mike Hill, Sales Manager, Novacroft

THE CHALLENGE

The Metro Senior Pass was launched in 2008, with each travel card valid for five years. As a result around 300,000 were due to expire between March and June 2013. WYCA was conscious of the varying costs of its retail channels and determined to use online services as the primary method of renewal. It was also concerned about the potential to inconvenience pensioners by making them queue to renew and to have to spend more money on extra Travel and Contact Centre resources to cope with what would be unprecedented demand.

The challenge was reputational as well as financial: we didn’t want to lower standards in our Contact Centres which might have happened if customers couldn’t get through because so many other people were calling to renew

John Keady, WYCA

THE SOLUTION

WYCA explored the options with Novacroft, which had provided the application and replacement system and database for the scheme a few years earlier, and together they decided to develop a bespoke renewals portal, similarly integrated with Novacroft’s InNovator card management system. Brainstorming also brought out some good ideas including letting pensioners apply early to stagger renewals and adding address and postcode details to the automatic online validation process, which would normally only include card number, birth date and name. This would enable the creation of online records for customers who hadn’t applied online originally and the cleaning of all existing records. Recognising that it would not necessarily be the pensioner themselves who would renew online, WYCA also decided to launch a publicity campaign to take the renewal message to senior citizens and their families.

The development process brought home all the benefits of having a relationship with a supplier like Novacroft where there’s a two-way conversation and system testing throughout the project: this meant that when the website went live it just worked!

John Keady, WYCA

THE BENEFITS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

Pensioners appreciate that being able to renew their Metro Senior Pass online means:

  • They can renew quickly and easily in the comfort of their home
  • They don’t have to waste time travelling or queueing
  • They can ask family to help them – or renew their pass for them
  • They can renew up to 90 days before their card expires, whenever it suits them.

THE ADVANTAGES FOR WYCA

Novacroft’s renewals solution has helped WYCA realise a broad range of benefits including:

  • An improved experience for senior citizens, with a simple, quick process that respects their time and makes their life easier
  • Minimal use of administrative, Travel and Contact Centre resources
  • Accurate data input by applicants themselves
  • More evenly spaced out renewals in the busiest months
  • Automatic eligibility verification
  • Significant savings resulting from the initial online renewal process which will continue as online renewals are embedded in the process
  • A clean and complete database including, for the first time, senior citizens who applied for their pass before online applications were available
  • The ability to analyse and compare data to inform planning and policy
  • A reduction of 50,000 in the number of renewals requested for existing passes, representing a saving of £80,000
  • Faster, greener and cheaper communication with customers which will save money on paper, postage – and publicity – in the future.

The relationship between Novacroft’s technical people and our practical people added value to the whole project, which enhanced our reputation and I like to think Novacroft’s too, because it was groundbreaking.

John Keady, WYCA