Taking the strain

1 September 2009 at 2:47 pm 1 comment


Andrew Curry writes:

Over the holiday I had to take myself and my bike by long distance train. I’d heard bad things about the bureaucracy involved, so I decided to visit my local mainline station to sort it out in person. And this story doesn’t turn out the way you’re expecting.

In fact it was one of the best customer service experiences I’ve had all year. When the ticket clerk heard when I wanted to travel, the first question she asked was whether I had some flexibility – travelling half an hour earlier or later made the fare quite a lot cheaper, and it helped that she split the journey into two separate parts rather than selling me a single through ticket (rail’s arcane pricing structure doesn’t do it any favours).

She then made sure that my seat reservation was as close as possible to the guard’s van, where my bike would be, reminded me that the bike needed a ticket attached to it during the journey, and finally, as about eight tickets popped out of her printer, put them all into a little wallet grouped by journey stage.

What I liked about this, apart from the fact that I saved about £30, was that my service representative had a picture of my entire journey in her head, and set about making it as straightforwards as possible for me. I’d like to be able to give credit where it’s due, and name the station, but I’ve heard (though can’t find a link) that at least one rail franchise has responded to the downturn by telling staff to maximise revenues. This is short-sighted, to say the least. Digital media consultancies increasingly say that “earned media” – where a company’s actions earn from their users good digital or personal plaudits, such as this blog – is the most effective form of promotion. The rail company has already earned its £30 back in promotion several times over.

The picture is courtesy of the London Cycling Campaign, and was taken by Lionel Shapiro. It is used with thanks.

Entry filed under: customer service, transport.

Sporting tw**ts Big… (dowconzki § 10)

1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

The Futures Company blog

The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

WPP? Leaders in Advertising,Branding,Marketing

%d bloggers like this: