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

Stoke council will consider legal action if Crewe gets HS2 station

20/10/2014Stoke council will consider legal action if Crewe gets HS2 station

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has held open the option of legal action if HS2 decides to continue with its current plans to build a station in Crew... more >
Birmingham New Street will be the ‘iconic’ image of CP5

20/10/2014Birmingham New Street will be the ‘iconic’ image of CP5

When Birmingham New Street is completed next year the station will be the “iconic” image of Control Period 5 for Network Rail, accord... more >
Docklands and south-east London Crossrail tunnels complete

20/10/2014Docklands and south-east London Crossrail tunnels complete

Crossrail’s train tunnels in Docklands and south-east London are now structurally complete, following the breakthrough by tunnel boring mac... more >

editor's comment

01/09/2014Events on the horizon

Entries are open for the second UK Rail Industry Awards, which will take place on 19 February 2015 at the Battersea Evolution venue in central London. There are 23 categories covering all aspects of rail innovation and technology, and some special awards recognising the achievements of individuals. The 2014 event was an amazing success, and having interviewed all the winners myself, I know how valued the awards were for those who t... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

featured articles

View all News

interviews

Another step forward for ERTMS

01/09/2014Another step forward for ERTMS

Richard Tomlin, business development manager for signalling at Hitachi Rail Europe, discusses how the company will implement its European Train C... more >
More than a railway

01/09/2014More than a railway

Crossrail took the ‘Excellence in the Public Sector’ crown at the Investors in People Awards. After the ceremony, RTM caught up with ... more >
Ramping up the work on Reading Viaduct

01/09/2014Ramping up the work on Reading Viaduct

Kevin Brown, Network Rail’s civil engineering project manager on Reading, and William Smith, project director at Balfour Beatty, talk to RT... more >

last word

An optimistic and ambitious strategy for rail in northern England

An optimistic and ambitious strategy for rail in northern England

James MacColl, head of campaigns at the Campaign for Better Transport, explains the principles behind its new ‘Right Track North’ Cha... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Minister gives thumbs up for Class 800 & 801 mock-ups

17/10/2014Minister gives thumbs up for Class 800 & 801 mock-ups

This week the rail minister Clair Perry, along with students from undergraduate and postgraduate railway engineering courses at the University of... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

UKRIA banners-05

rail industry events

Electrification Infrastructure: Whole Life Cost Reduction Congress 2014

29 Oct 2014

The 3rd Annual Electrification Infrastructure: Whole Life Cost Reduction Congress 2014, is the ...

read more >

High Speed 2 The Northern Hub Dinner

06 Nov 2014 18:00

Stimulating economic growth in the North of England The £600m Northern Hub, scheduled fo...

read more >

European Rail Congress

11 Nov 2014

The 2nd annual European Rail Congress will take place in London on 11 November 2014 and will st...

read more >

Integrated Transport 2014

12 Nov 2014 08:30

The conference will address the importance of a well integrated transport system to the economy...

read more >

Beating the Elements - Railway, Weather and Climate Change

13 Nov 2014

Please check the Permanent Way Instituition website for up-to-date information on this event.

read more >
view all events

back

October 2014

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9

Dinner at the Roundhouse 2014

09/10/2014

Dinner at the Roundhouse, one of the rail industry’s best-loved events, returns to the world’s oldest roundhouse for its fourth year, bringing together over 500 of the most influential decision-makers responsible for running the UK rail industry. Everyone enjoys an evening of networking and entertainment.

Quintiq World Tour: Birmingham – Where rail industry leaders meet

09/10/2014

For one day only, rail industry leaders Network Rail and Volker Rail will be sharing their experiences, tips, and strategies in optimizing rail operations with smart planning solutions. Jan Vos, General Director of VolkerRail, will speak about the company’s success in creating feasible and profitable plans with integrated planning. Executive Jo Connaughton from Network Rail will offer insights into the Industry Access Programme, and explain how it is benefiting the entire rail industry.

10 11 12
13

APTA’s EXPO 2014

13/10/2014 - 14/10/2014

Held only once every three years in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) Annual Meeting, APTA’s EXPO is the world's largest and most prestigious event for the public transportation industry. Register today for free (using priority code ERT14) and join 750+ global exhibitors and 15,000+ industry professionals from 65+ countries at the core of the growing public transportation industry, 13-15 October in Houston, Texas, USA.

14

APTA’s EXPO 2014

13/10/2014 - 14/10/2014

Held only once every three years in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) Annual Meeting, APTA’s EXPO is the world's largest and most prestigious event for the public transportation industry. Register today for free (using priority code ERT14) and join 750+ global exhibitors and 15,000+ industry professionals from 65+ countries at the core of the growing public transportation industry, 13-15 October in Houston, Texas, USA.

15

Cities 2014

15/10/2014 08:30 -

Cities 2014 will bring together leaders in local government, transport, utilities and technology to share their visions and strategies for the future of the UK’s cities.

16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29

Electrification Infrastructure: Whole Life Cost Reduction Congress 2014

29/10/2014 - 30/10/2014

The 3rd Annual Electrification Infrastructure: Whole Life Cost Reduction Congress 2014, is the only event dedicated to rail electrification in Europe, department heads and senior engineers from across the globe will showcase the results of their latest OHL designs, construction methods and maintenance regimes and examine how their successes in cost saving and reliability improvement can be transferred to your railway company.

30

Electrification Infrastructure: Whole Life Cost Reduction Congress 2014

29/10/2014 - 30/10/2014

The 3rd Annual Electrification Infrastructure: Whole Life Cost Reduction Congress 2014, is the only event dedicated to rail electrification in Europe, department heads and senior engineers from across the globe will showcase the results of their latest OHL designs, construction methods and maintenance regimes and examine how their successes in cost saving and reliability improvement can be transferred to your railway company.

31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9

comment

Scaling up excellence within the supply chain

01/09/2014Scaling up excellence within the supply chain

Do you feel your organisation has a good reputation for project delivery? Are you used to reacting to a crisis and going the extra mile? That is ... more >
Ergonomics at the heart of signalling in new ROCs

01/09/2014Ergonomics at the heart of signalling in new ROCs

Tim Hadfield, The TEW Group’s director with special responsibility for the rail signalling sector, explains its work at Network Rail’... more >
How the rail industry takes safe decisions

01/09/2014How the rail industry takes safe decisions

Marcus Dacre, safety risk assessment manager at RSSB, discusses how the rail industry takes safe decisions. In the GB rail industry, almost ev... more >
Safe and sound on our rail networks

01/09/2014Safe and sound on our rail networks

Arnab Dutt, managing director of Texane Ltd, is a public member of Network Rail – one of the people holding the board to account for its le... more >