Latest Rail News

14.08.12

East Coast customer service

Source: Letter from Robert Powell

Your article, ‘East Coast complaints rise by 80%’, comes as no surprise. I have had a personal experience of the ticketing problem and have seen the transition from what was an excellent customer service operation to an extremely frustrating ‘customer experience’. Note, customer experience and not customer service. This is a shame as the actual train company is excellent. The Advance ticket service offering savings is great when it works and the trains are usually on time. Coming from a service background in a different industry, I see customer experience as key in the consumer-driven market.

There is a huge disconnect between what consumers are experiencing and what is being done to resolve it to enhance the customer experience. I agree that on the most part it is down to ticketing issues, although a cultural change towards customer focus is also needed.

Experience 1: Online service when booking an Advance ticket was not possible; the system crashed leading to errors in information regarding direction of travel, time and pricing. Solution; telephoned the call centre who immediately checked the system and resolved the problem over the phone and the correct tickets were also purchased during a very friendly and helpful experience on the phone. Job done.

Experience 2: The same problem with the online system causing the same errors. This time, the telephone was answered by someone in India who, without looking into the problem immediately denied there was an issue. However, after persisting, the advisor agreed to check. Several phone calls later the tickets were put through online and hey presto, I received the wrong ones in the post. It then got even worse. I had no choice but to travel on the outbound section of the journey due to timings. I assumed that the ticket office staff would understand the problem and sort it out, oops, no they didn't. I had to pay again at an excessive rate to get back home. I eventually received a refund via a lengthy process and via an independent ombudsman who, after investigation, found and proved an error did occur with the system at the time of booking.

Bring back call centres to the UK please. It is not cost effective to outsource if everything, including customer retention is taken into account!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

Please enter the code shown in the image into the box below
(note: this is case sensitive)



Can't read this one? Try another

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Virgin East Coast unveils new livery as eight-year franchise begins

02/03/2015Virgin East Coast unveils new livery as eight-year franchise begins

The East Coast franchise is back in private hands as Virgin Trains East Coast officially started operating services yesterday. However, sett... more >
Major rail schemes push workers’ pay up by 74% since 2012

02/03/2015Major rail schemes push workers’ pay up by 74% since 2012

Major rail infrastructure schemes, such as Crossrail and HS2, have helped push construction workers’ pay up by 74% in three years, accordin... more >
McLoughlin overrules officials who called Pacer replacement ‘poor value’

27/02/2015McLoughlin overrules officials who called Pacer replacement ‘poor value’

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin used a ministerial direction to release the Invitations to Tender (ITT) for the Northern and TPE franchises... more >

editor's comment

01/01/2015A black Christmas

Nine months into Control Period 5, and there is a lot more bad news around than we have been used to in recent years. There have always been and will always be engineering over-runs, but their timing and scale after Christmas, and the poorly-handled back-up arrangements, have made this particular bout of disruption more high-profile than most. Still, the problems were solved relatively quickly – this was not a fiasco on the level ... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

featured articles

View all News

interviews

Piling work underway at Crossrail’s eco-friendly Old Oak Common depot

14/01/2015Piling work underway at Crossrail’s eco-friendly Old Oak Common depot

Work is well underway to design and construct Crossrail’s new maintenance depot for its Bombardier-built train fleet at Old Oak Common (OOC... more >
Robust planning key to Watford renewals

09/01/2015Robust planning key to Watford renewals

Network Rail’s John Nixon gives RTM an update on the Watford Area Renewals Programme’s Christmas commissioning work. Work to ren... more >
The world of rail, from Afghanistan  to Crossrail

01/01/2015The world of rail, from Afghanistan to Crossrail

A bright young engineer from Afghanistan has worked on Crossrail and is about to study for his Master’s in the USA, having received pointer... more >

last word

We must speed up existing rail projects, not just announce new ones

We must speed up existing rail projects, not just announce new ones

Mark Cowlard, head of rail at built asset consultants EC Harris, and the former MD of Atkins’ Rail Solutions business, analyses the impact ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

#UKRIA2015

26/02/2015#UKRIA2015

The UK Rail Industry Awards 2015 were a resounding success as more than 800 industry professionals came together to celebrate the achievements of... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

UKRIA banners-05

rail industry events

Passenger Rail Europe

16 Mar 2015 08:30

Passenger Rail Europe brings you closer to the innovators revolutionising passenger rail s...

read more >

Railtex 2015

12 May 2015 10:00

Railtex is the UK's leading rail exhibition covering railway equipment, systems and services &n...

read more >

Railtex 2015

13 May 2015 10:00

Railtex is the UK's leading rail exhibition covering railway equipment, systems and services &n...

read more >

Railtex 2015

14 May 2015 10:00

Railtex is the UK's leading rail exhibition covering railway equipment, systems and services &n...

read more >

Elmia Nordic Rail 2015

06 Oct 2015

Nordic Rail is the only dedicated railway exhibition in Scandinavia. It's a fair for companies,...

read more >
view all events

back

March 2015

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
23 24 25 26 27 28 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16

Passenger Rail Europe

16/03/2015 08:30 - 17/03/2015 17:30

Passenger Rail Europe brings you closer to the innovators revolutionising passenger rail services. Dedicated sessions on smart ticketing, passenger information, wifi and revenue management help you get closer to the cutting-edge of European rail travel.

17

Passenger Rail Europe

16/03/2015 08:30 - 17/03/2015 17:30

Passenger Rail Europe brings you closer to the innovators revolutionising passenger rail services. Dedicated sessions on smart ticketing, passenger information, wifi and revenue management help you get closer to the cutting-edge of European rail travel.

18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5

comment

New agreement paves way for new initiatives in rail procurement

01/01/2015New agreement paves way for new initiatives in rail procurement

Don Clarke, RISQS board member, details how the transformation from Achilles Link-up to RISQS, and the signing of an historic agreement, will ben... more >
The inside track on railway surveying

01/01/2015The inside track on railway surveying

Mark Combes, vice-president of The Survey Association, discusses the organisation’s new Guidance Note on railway surveying, which is aimed ... more >
Changing the face of engineering education in schools

01/11/2014Changing the face of engineering education in schools

Susan Scurlock, CEO of Primary Engineer, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2005 to encourage young people to consider careers in STEM-... more >
Connecting HS2 to the community

01/11/2014Connecting HS2 to the community

HS2 will transform rail connectivity in Britain and provide vast opportunities and challenges for businesses. Paul Hanafin, director for infrastr... more >