National Rail Enquiries (NRE) has launched ‘Lisa’, a new online Virtual Assistant. Lisa is now poised, ready to answer your train travel questions, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Who is Lisa?
Lisa is a state of the art virtual assistant - known as a 'Lingubot' and is a virtual interactive assistant capable of holding conversations with internet users in real time, 24/7.

Working for National Rail Enquiries, she knows a great deal about travelling by train and is here to provide you with information that will help make your journey smoother. She will help you with every step of your enquiry from helping you choose the best ticket for your journey, to telling you about the facilities that are available at your local railway station. She can even take you on a step by step guide of the NRE Online Journey Planner

Lisa is the first Lingubot to use Flash Video of a real person, rather than animated cartoons or photograph stills - another first for National Rail Enquiries.

Where is Lisa?
Lisa can be found on the National Rail website, under the ‘Site Help’ tab.

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“National Rail Enquiries asked us to help them create an exceptional customer experience that would at the same time deliver excellent return on investment. Lisa will help NRE achieve both of these aims”
Justin Cooke, Managing Director, Fortune Cookie

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Lisa is always learning – she will not know everything just yet, but we regularly review the conversations that Lisa has with people, so we know where there are gaps in her knowledge.

Chris Scoggins, Chief Executive of National Rail Enquiries welcomed the latest addition to National Rail Enquiries;

“At National Rail Enquiries we are committed to providing excellent customer service to everyone looking for train travel information. There is a wealth of information on our website, www.nationalrail.co.uk and Lisa will help people to find the answers to their questions quickly and with a minimum of fuss. We hope that Lisa will make the experience easier for everyone and encourage more people to travel by train.”

Nick Wilson, Director of The Virtual Zone, whose team created Lisa said;

"We worked very hard with the National Rail Enquiries team to build a knowledge base that was as comprehensive and foolproof as possible and having internal staff involved with the project from the beginning will ensure that it continues to be a success.

"Our objective was to make the user experience as real as possible. Working with video images and the fact that Lingubots are based on real language is the key. The conversations with Lisa are certainly longer than with a traditional eFAQ application and more questions are asked. Of course Lisa will get the odd frivolous comment but at the same time she will be providing essential travel information to 1000s of genuine questions everyday.

"We are looking forward to further developing this project to include features such as helping the traveller complete on-line forms and helping to demystify peoples complex travel arrangements."

Digital design agency Fortune Cookie’s video and design brought Lisa to life. Fortune Cookie Managing Director, Justin Cooke, says;

"At Fortune Cookie we put our clients' customers' needs at the heart of our design process. National Rail Enquiries asked us to help them create an exceptional customer experience that would at the same time deliver excellent return on investment by persuading thousands of customers to use their website rather than the phone. Lisa will help NRE achieve both of these aims.”

Published on: 12:00AM on 18th July 2007