To provide a high-quality passenger experience, three core needs of passengers must be satisfied: planning control, the freedom to make their own choices, and a feeling of being appreciated. We meet these core needs by providing high-value and personal services.
In the first months of 2020, passengers were more satisfied with our services on the main rail network and the high-speed line than they were in the same period last year. More specifically, on the main rail network customers gave higher scores for the cleanliness of train interiors. On the high-speed line, travel information and train punctuality attracted higher scores than last year, when software issues resulted in lower punctuality figures. We stopped gathering customer satisfaction data in March 2020.
Passengers expect our trains to be clean. Train cleaning serves two main purposes: ensuring a positive experience of train cleanliness among passengers and colleagues, and ensuring that all materials in our trains reach their envisaged service life thanks to effective cleaning maintenance. Over the past three years, passengers' assessment of train cleanliness has improved. The COVID-19 crisis urged us to devote extra attention to cleaning. In February, we started preparing detailed scenarios for cleaning operations during the pandemic, and we have updated those scenarios continually in consultation with our cleaning partners. For example, we have increased the frequency of cleaning for parts of our trains with contact surfaces, such as door knobs and handles. In addition, we have adapted cleaning operations to changes in the timetable, logistics and passenger numbers. In 2020, we implemented our new contract with Hago Rail Services for the cleaning of train interiors. Going forward, our ambition is to maintain effective collaboration and adapt cleaning operations to data input with maximum flexibility.
Customer service and social media interaction
Customers are highly satisfied with our Customer Service department. In 2020, 75% of customers gave this department a score of 7 out of 10 or higher; the same figure as in 2019. NS's willingness to suspend season tickets was one aspect that had a positive impact on satisfaction scores. In 2020 we observed a shift in the channels used by customers to contact Customer Service. During the last months of the year, telephone contacts steadily decreased while more and more customers began using the chat option. We expect that this trend will continue in 2021.
Number of contacts per month