Expand call center coverage to improve rider experience with Spare Call Center.
By the numbers
- Call Center Customer Satisfaction
- Average Length of a Phone Call Reduced By
- 4m 14s
- Rider Satisfaction Score
- Ridership increase since launch
The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) serves seven suburbs roughly 15 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. These suburbs include Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Rosemount in Dakota County, and Savage, Prior Lake, and Shakopee in Scott County. MVTA was established in the late 1980s as part of the Suburban Transit Association initiative, allowing outer-ring suburbs to have their independent bus transportation agencies.
In 2019, MVTA introduced the Connect microtransit service as a pilot program, starting in Burnsville and Savage to fill the void of underperforming mixed routes. Due to increasing demand and rider adoption, the Connect service has expanded to cover five of the seven communities, roughly 65 to 70 percent of MVTA’s service area. A typical week sees at least eight vehicles on the road with an additional five vehicles being added to the fleet.
MVTA’s in-house call center handles calls from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. With Spare’s Call Center offering, MVTA has been able to expand their call center hours to 3:00am to 9:00pm, seven days a week. This added coverage makes for an even more positive rider experience, especially on weekends, when riders were previously unable to speak with an agent.
- Minnesota Valley Transit Authority
- Service Type
- Microtransit, Call Center
- Burnsville, Minnesota, USA
- January 2021
- Technical Challenges: previous software provider was slow to respond to issues that the agency was facing.
- Limited hours of operation for call center: inability to provide help to customers over the phone on the weekends because there wasn’t someone working to cover the phones.
- Time taken away from operations: Coming back from the weekend led to unresolved issues to be faced on Monday morning which took away from other important operational tasks.
Spare Call Center: In 2023, MVTA partnered with Spare’s Call Center to supplement their existing call center capacity. Prior to adopting the Spare Call Center, MVTA’s agents were covering the phone lines between 6am and 6pm, from Monday to Friday. Now, MVTA customer service agents are available from 8am to 4:30pm and outside of these hours, the agency leverages Spare Call Center to support riders.
Implementation: MVTA Staff worked with Spare’s Transit Operations Manager to define the parameters of what exactly they wanted Spare Call Center to handle, develop call scripts and determine what situations required riders being referred back to MVTA customer service. With a couple of weeks dedicated to fine-tuning the technical aspects of the implementation and roughly two weeks being dedicated to training agents, Spare Call Center was implemented in less than a month.
“It’s been a big plus for us to have the Spare call center particularly, and we've been really happy with Spare in terms of our collaboration with them; They’ve been excellent partners, especially in their turnaround time, when we identify tweaks in the system that we want to make and in their identifying of solutions. There's really been a benefit since we implemented Spare Call Center at MVTA”
Expanded call center coverage: MVTA was able to expand their scope of service without needing to hire additional call center agents. Riders are served promptly even if internal call center agents are done with their workday. Having coverage on weekends and holidays means that agency staff can return to the office on Monday with minimal unresolved issues from the weekend as riders were supported by customer support agents. This means that agency staff can focus on more operational aspects rather than needing to resolve call center issues.
Improved customer experience and satisfaction: With the extended call center hours, riders get responses to their questions in real time and have assistance when it comes to booking their trips or downloading the app.
Bilingual customer support: Spare Customer Support staff are able to support customers using the Connect Service in both English and Spanish and answer questions regarding any technical issues riders might be facing, guide riders on how to download the MVTA rider facing app onto their phones, and support riders with all questions about the service area.