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Indian Railways’ New Customer-centric Track: Social Media

CASE STUDY, DIGITAL MARKETING
ET Cases, 12 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Syed Abdul Samad and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Indian Railways’ New Customer-centric Track: Social Media

 

Namrata Mahajan’s Tweet to Ministry of Indian Railways and the Response:1


@RailMinIndia plz plz help in train no 18030 one male passenger harassing me at shegaon I am in train terrified

– Namrata Mahajan (@namratamahajan1) November 26th 2015

@namratamahajan1 Please your PNR immediately

– Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) November 26th 2015

.....................................................................

Similar to the above incidents, on December 7th 2015, a group of students from Asian School, Dehradun had tweeted to the Union Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu (Suresh Prabhu), asking for food as their train had no pantry and was delayed by more than seven hours due to heavy fog. And soon the students got their food at the next station.

Taking a cue from Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Ministry of Indian Railways (MoIR) has taken the meaning of ‘helping its customers’ to a whole new level. While trying to catch up with increasing infrastructural challenges, the simultaneous challenge for Indian Railways (IR) has been customer service and customer engagement. However, with an ever-increasing number of ‘netizens’ in the country, IR has been trying to transform itself into a customer-centric organization using Social Media platforms (especially Twitter), to address customer service requests or customer complaints or customer delight........................


1 “How the Indian Railways is using social media to help passengers in distress”, http://www.dqindia.com/how-the-indian-railways-is-using-social-media-to-help-passengers-in-distress/, December 10th 2015(Accessed date: June 24th 2017)

2 “How the Indian Railways is using social media to help passengers in distress”, op.cit.

Teaching Note Preview

Indian Railways’ New Customer-centric Track: Social Media

 

Synopsis

Since 1853, Indian Railways (IR) had grown to form a complex network of tracks, trains, stations and manpower and had served billions of customers in its 164 years of history. While it had been trying to catch up with infrastructural challenges, the biggest challenge has been customer service and customer engagement. Of late there had been a welcome change at IR, as it has been using Social Media platforms (especially Twitter), to address customer complaints, service requests and has been trying to transform itself into a customer-centric organization. This case study enables the participants to analyze IR’s new-age customer connect initiatives leveraging the power of Social Media and discuss whether it could overcome the deeprooted stoic culture.

Prerequisite conceptual Understanding/Before the Classroom Discussion

The students/participants should have a conceptual understanding of traditional and Social Media and the various types of each of them. They can read the chapter/material related to ‘Online Advertising, Social Media Marketing, and Planning Integrated Digital Marketing Campaigns’ from the curriculum taught in the Digital Marketing program.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in the MBA/Post-graduate program for the following in Digital Marketing course/module:

• Social Media Marketing and Social Media Platforms – To understand how a public-sector undertaking could focus on being customer-centric by connecting and engaging with its customers through Social Media platforms

Assignment Questions

I. How was Indian Railways’ customer engagement through Social Media helping transform itself into a customer-centric public-sector undertaking?
II............

Preamble to the Analysis and Suggested Classroom Orchestration

This case study helps analyze IR’s presence and customer engagement through Social Media channels and enables a debate on the effectiveness of its initiatives across these channels. While it discusses how IR’s digital strategy has been changing the public-sector undertaking in terms of its operations, it also discusses how its Social Media strategy has been engaging with its customers and developing a customer-centric culture across the organization. This case study further helps in discussing the challenges faced by IR in transforming itself into a full-fledged customer-centric organization. The case study analysis was carried out as presented in Exhibit (TN)-I..................

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Abstract

This case study enables the participants to discuss and analyze Indian Railways' new-age customer connect initiatives leveraging the power of Social Media. With its history of 164 years since the first train between Bombay (now Mumbai) and Thane, Indian Railways had etched its existential necessity by serving billions of Indian commuters. With time, the complexities too grew along with its complex network of tracks, stations, trains and manpower. While Indian Railways had been trying to catch up with increasing infrastructural challenges, the biggest challenge for IR has been customer service and customer engagement.

However, a welcome change has been ushered in with the urgency and intensity generally found in private entities and that which has been absent in Indian Railways for decades. Using Social Media platforms (especially Twitter), Indian Railways has been trying to transform itself into a customer-centric organization. Be it customer service requests or customer complaints or customer delight, the Indian Railways has been showing the right intent to deliver the right content. Would it be good enough? Would the deep-rooted stoic culture at Indian Railways change to become more customer-centric?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand how Indian Railways’ customer engagement initiatives through Social Media – especially Twitter – are helping transform itself into a customer-centric public-sector undertaking
  • To discuss and debate on various alternatives available to Indian Railways to increase the ‘social’ penetration among its workforce and make them count for its customer-centric endeavors

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used in the MBA/Post-graduate program for the following in Digital Marketing course/module:

  • Social Media Marketing and Social Media Platforms – To understand how a public-sector undertaking could focus on being customer-centric by connecting and engaging with its customers through Social Media platforms



This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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