Getting Customer Service Right Staffordshire
Ottery St Mary
Getting Customer Service Right
What’s your company known for?
I pose this question having recently spent a couple of contrasting journeys by train. The experience I had on the two occasions led me to draw a whole variety of conclusions in relation to the two different train operators I used and reinforced some of my prejudices and preferences for their brands.
Here’s the most recent of my journeys in a nutshell.
I arrived with about five minutes to spare to get my train down to London – luckily the station had ticket machines where I could buy my train ticket and pay for car parking. It took less than a minute and I still had time to buy a coffee before I got on the train (which has no buffet facilities, I know from experience).
So not a bad start – the technology did its job of making the transaction quick and simple.
This was where things started to go downhill. There was no one manning the little cafe. The chap in front of me eventually attracted the attention of a very miserable looking fella who reluctantly pressed the buttons on the cappuccino machine. No eye contact, no please or thank you, no offer of sugar or a lid.
A pretty dreary experience, and worst of all the coffee tasted awful. Had the member of staff been cheerful and passed the time of day I might have focused less on the dreadful coffee.
The train was packed – but that’s to be expected as its early morning and full of commuters. No sooner had I settled in my seat than the ticket collector came around, checking tickets from Banbury where I got on. Annoyingly my ticket was in my coat pocket on the parcel rack. But more to the point – my ticket was checked before I got on the train in Banbury, as was everyone else’s. As an aside there wasn’t just one ticket collector in Banbury station but a line of 5 of them. Only one was checking tickets and he was very pleasant. The others just stood there looking like extras from a 1950s film about the railways.
It’s great to have ample staff around – but not if they don’t appear to be doing anything productive and aren’t able to help.
Throughout the journey the announcer would interrupt my thoughts with very loud, crackly announcements - ‘We are now approaching High Wycombe’. He might as well have been saying ‘We are now approaching the gates of hell’ – he sounded so downtrodden and uninspiring.
I certainly had a growing impression that Chiltern Railways was a pretty miserable place to work.
To top it all – when I left the train at London Marylebone my Day Travel Card got stuck in the machine and I had to get some help, causing a delay to myself and half a dozen passengers behind me.
Now, in unpicking all of this I realise I am a bit of a grumpy old woman – but I just wanted to explore the difference that can be made by the peop...