Germany’s railway infrastructure is considered the backbone of its economy because of a single company: Deutsche Bahn (DB). As the country’s local and long-distance railway service provider, the company’s growth is remarkable:
Industry: Railway transport, Logistics
Headquarter: Berlin, Germany
Headcount: 300,000 employees
Annual Passengers: 151 million passengers transported in 2019
As mobility and progress go hand in hand – investing in digital technologies is part of the DB’s DNA. In 2016, DB Systel, digital partner of the DB group, came up with a value-adding service: building a messaging app that would serve as a digital travel concierge.
To increase user adoption and lower the barriers to entry, the app should be operated via good old SMS. Therefore, they started looking for a chatting platform to integrate with the SMS service. It would be the perfect combination to provide quicker and more qualified customer service to customers.
Check how companies are using Rocket.Chat
To build the app, DB Systel needed a self-managed chatting platform with the capabilities of live chat. It should be integrated into Twilio, an inbound messaging app, and had to provide strong security solutions to ensure data privacy to end users’ information, such as OAuth (Open Authorization).
After careful research, Rocket.Chat was considered the best option: “We chose Rocket.Chat because of the way they’ve always done open source. It was more interesting for us than other free products because it was clear that major features of it, which are necessary for enterprises, were not being cut off the main code line”, said Oliver.
As the team found that it could be tricky to maintain their own repository, they partnered with Rocket.Chat to help develop the core platform. “Rocket.Chat was very open to contributions, which was important for us”, praised Oliver.
A few months later, DB successfully launched its first concierge app ”Der schlaue Reisebuddy” (“The smart travel buddy” in German) by leveraging Rocket.Chat’s Omnichannel features.
ReiseBuddy: A concierge that’s all about customer experience
Uniting human agents with a domain-specific AI to accelerate responding to standard questions, ReiseBuddy provided an outstanding customer experience for DB’s users looking for travel assistance.
The app was capable of advising customers about bookings, tickets, gifts, flights – and even in its early days, the project had already gained popularity in Germany after winning the “Diamond Star” at the 23rd Handelsblatt Conference for Strategic IT Management.
What no one expected was that ReiseBuddy would lead DB Systel to another business idea. While managing Reisebuddy’s most frequently asked questions, they noticed numerous questions didn’t match a particular pattern.
Hence, they wondered: What if they created a productivity tool based on information retrieval? A platform that accelerates support agents as well as office workers. That’s when Assistify came about.
Assistify: Using Rocket.Chat to speed up customer service
To accelerate communications in customer support and project teams, the DB Systel team launched Assistify. Based on AI technology, this was their second product built through Rocket.Chat’s Omnichannel features.
Since 2017, Assistify has helped numerous industries to increase their productivity. Not to mention Deustche Bahn itself, where it currently:
- Serves 4,000 employees and their customers on a daily basis.
- Offers considerable potential for savings in customer support.
- Supports millions of queries in multiple languages through Rocket.Chat’s translation services.
Adopting a secure cloud service for big productivity gains
In 2019, DB Systel transitioned from the self-managed version to run Assistify on Rocket.Chat’s cloud. Their goal was to use Rocket.Chat’s Secure Hosted Service to significantly reduce the costs of their operation. They couldn’t be happier about it: “Moving the hosting to Rocket.Chat freed ourselves. We need a lot less human power to run Assistify”, said Oliver Jägle.
Teaming up for open innovation & new business ideas
The collaboration between Rocket.Chat and DB Systel led to significant innovations that have continued until today, including major improvements in automatic translations and numerous code contributions.
With Rocket.Chat as its customer service platform, DB Systel not only scaled up its customer service systems, it kept more than 4,000 employees focused on doing what they do best: innovating to deliver a passenger-first experience.
We aim to continue innovating together for years to come and as Oliver says: he is continually learning from Rocket.Chat.