Customer Service thread
#1
We all experience it day in day out, so we should really have a thread dedicated to customer service. You'd argue that it's the most difficult, yet important job in a business nowadays.

The thread isn't here to go on a huge rant about operators or other transport related bodies without being able to back it up, but simply to capture both the Good and Bad that we all experience. Smile

I'll start - It should be noted how good Go North East's twitter account has become. Whenever I tweet a quick query (e.g. fares), I generally have a response within 15-20 mins. I've also made use of this facility to report issues with onboard WiFi. It's a complete contrast to my opinion on their Facebook page.
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#2
Got to agree with twitter being a good place for customer service. I've had two shining examples. One was from Dales & District who I queried some fares with and they replied to me almost instantly, and even advised of their "Explorer" ticket. Another one is the Megabus account, who whilst on a day out in Newcastle, I wanted to know whether a specific coach was due into Newcastle (54206 I think it was, the Young Scot Awards liveried one) - the twitter team checked with control for me and had an answer within about 15 minutes. I thought that was really good of them. They even asked me to tweet the photo that I got and then retweeted it to their followers!
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#3
(18/04/2014, 19:03)Marcus Wrote: Hi all,

I just thought it would be nice to post a thread; I've chosen the topic to be Employee Issues, like if a driver or someone on the phone in Customer Services has been rude to you or something, then you could post the story here and discuss it or share similar incidents; just sort of release a bit of built-up frustration. At the end of the day, a problem shared is a problem halved. In the past I've had several issues where GNE people have been rude to me, and I think it will be interesting to see a few other stories. But, any sort of story from any company; GNE, ANE (or United), SNE (or Busways) or independant operators.

I'd like to make it clear that nobody is allowed to tell anybody their story is a) fake, b) untrue, c) exaggerated, d) not worth whining about. I of all people enjoy a good old moan to release a bit of frustration, so feel free to post whatever sort of story you want.

Cheers,
Marcus Smile

This would probably be covered by the 'Customer Services thread' I created in the Bus Infrastructure & Management forum the other day? I could merge the two if you have no objections?

My reasoning for creating a thread there was to share the Good and the Bad, rather than just the bad. I was also conscious that it was to cover any bus operator in the North East, not just one. Wink
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#4
While I must admit Go North East do offer excellent customer service and have some incredibly loyal members of staff, there is one employee (the woman who works in the Chester Travel Centre) who I had a problem with a while back.

It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I went into the Travel Centre in Chester to pick up a few leaflets and timetables for the recent service changes. It was chucking it down outside and so I decided to stay a little longer, and I engaged in a conversation with a driver who was sheltering. I purchased a Tale of The Century book from the woman who works there, and she barely looked up from her newspaper. I continued to talk with the driver for a while about how pointless it was bringing out a children's book with about a dozen words per page at the price of three quid before bringing out an anticipated collection of stories and memoribilia. After a couple of minutes, I told him I was going outside to talk to Gary Wheatley, and he said he was due to go on a 21 in a few minutes and that he should probably go and talk to him, but not before I added that there wasn't much of an atmosphere in the travel centre. She looked up and told me to get out because I was being rude. I asked her what I had done, and she walked out onto the shop floor and screamed at me to GET OUT. I was taken aback, as was the driver, who stood there staring at her, like a few people who had stopped in their tracks outside in the rain to see what was going on. I quickly left before anything else happened.

I went in a few weeks later the next time I was off school, and when I asked her if she thought I should do university in order to have a better chance with becoming a manager or something like that. I then asked her if she went to university in order to get her job (you know, sometimes you don't know what is needed for a job these days), and she said 'I don't want to talk about my personal life, thank you'. I left immediatley and haven't been back since. Everytime I pass though, she's sitting reading her newspaper, not remotely interested in anything going on around her. The way she shouted at me (a customer) that day has left me constantly thinking about filling in a formal complaint, but I would feel guilty if somebody lost their job as a result of myself, but with the way she talks to customers and goes about doing her job, she doesn't deserve to be in one.

I'm just wondering if you can give me any advice on what to do about her/or if she ever does it again. Anything to say back to her?, or do I just get the supervisor? 
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#5
(18/04/2014, 22:47)Marcus Wrote: While I must admit Go North East do offer excellent customer service and have some incredibly local members of staff, there is one employee (the woman who works in the Chester Travel Centre) who I had a problem with a while back.

It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I went into the Travel Centre in Chester to pick up a few leaflets and timetables for the recent service changes. It was chucking it down outside and so I decided to stay a little longer, and I engaged in a conversation with a driver who was sheltering. I purchased a Tale of The Century book from the woman who works there, and she barely looked up from her newspaper. I continued to talk with the driver for a while about how pointless it was bringing out a children's book with about a dozen words per page at the price of three quid before bringing out an anticipated collection of stories and memoribilia. After a couple of minutes, I told him I was going outside to talk to Gary Wheatley, and he said he was due to go on a 21 in a few minutes and that he should probably go and talk to him, but not before I added that there wasn't much of an atmosphere in the travel centre. She looked up and told me to get out because I was being rude. I asked her what I had done, and she walked out onto the shop floor and screamed at me to GET OUT. I was taken aback, as was the driver, who stood there staring at her, like a few people who had stopped in their tracks outside in the rain to see what was going on. I quickly left before anything else happened.

I went in a few weeks later the next time I was off school, and when I asked her if she thought I should do university in order to have a better chance with becoming a manager or something like that. I then asked her if she went to university in order to get her job (you know, sometimes you don't know what is needed for a job these days), and she said 'I don't want to talk about my personal life, thank you'. I left immediatley and haven't been back since. Everytime I pass though, she's sitting reading her newspaper, not remotely interested in anything going on around her. The way she shouted at me (a customer) that day has left me constantly thinking about filling in a formal complaint, but I would feel guilty if somebody lost their job as a result of myself, but with the way she talks to customers and goes about doing her job, she doesn't deserve to be in one.

I'm just wondering if you can give me any advice on what to do about her/or if she ever does it again. Anything to say back to her?, or do I just get the supervisor?

Cheers,
Marcus

I've never been in the Chester travel shop for ages, so can't really comment. I'd recommend just writing to customer services if you've had a bad experience. Certainly no member of staff should be shouting at a customer like that and being abusive. You'd also expect someone on the front line to be paying full attention to the customer not the daily rag.
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#6
(18/04/2014, 23:06)aureolin Wrote: I've never been in the Chester travel shop for ages, so can't really comment. I'd recommend just writing to customer services if you've had a bad experience. Certainly no member of staff should be shouting at a customer like that and being abusive. You'd also expect someone on the front line to be paying full attention to the customer not the daily rag.

Exactly. They pay her to sit and read a newpaper, I mean, does she even have the authority to throw someone out? She gives half an answer to anyone who inquires, and in some cases doesn't even look up from her newspaper. I recommend going in for yourself just to see how bad the customer service is there. What if she does it again, do you have any good advice on stuff like comebacks? Should I just say, if she's rude again, perhaps; 'would you like me to refer this to your supervisor', or 'just be grateful your in a job, you can lose it faster than you got it'?
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#7
(18/04/2014, 23:10)Marcus Wrote: Exactly. They pay her to sit and read a newpaper, I mean, does she even have the authority to throw someone out? She gives half an answer to anyone who inquires, and in some cases doesn't even look up from her newspaper. I recommend going in for yourself just to see how bad the customer service is there. What if she does it again, do you have any good advice on stuff like comebacks? Should I just say, if she's rude again, perhaps; 'would you like me to refer this to your supervisor', or 'just be grateful your in a job, you can lose it faster than you got it'?

I always stick to a firm line that nobody deserves to be abused for doing their job, no matter how bad you perceive them to be doing the said job. That being said, the best option is to always walk away from it, and report it via the formal channels. Doing anything else is simply putting yourself in the position of having some level of blame attributed to you. Smile
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#8
(18/04/2014, 23:14)aureolin Wrote: I always stick to a firm line that nobody deserves to be abused for doing their job, no matter how bad you perceive them to be doing the said job. That being said, the best option is to always walk away from it, and report it via the formal channels. Doing anything else is simply putting yourself in the position of having some level of blame attributed to you. Smile

I suppose that is true, the more one adds then the more deeper you get. I'd just rather not see her in there at all; give the job to somebody who deserves to be in a job and wants to be in one.
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#9
(18/04/2014, 23:15)Marcus Wrote: I suppose that is true, the more one adds then the more deeper you get. I'd just rather not see her in there at all; give the job to somebody who deserves to be in a job and wants to be in one.

See I'd always argue that it should never be allowed to happen in a company. Companies should be ensuring that all their staff are properly motivated, trained, and performing in their roles. Something which I believe Nexus will look to enforce operators to deliver as part of QCS, although I do believe that's a bit rich, considering some experiences I've had with them.

I do have to say that I find GNE's centralised customer services team to be more than helpful, considering that I'm first to admit, I can be a right pain in the arse sometimes. Wink I was compensated with a 1 day all zones BuzzFare ticket the day I got stuck on a broken down 5259. In comparison, I was left stranded by the last Arriva X2 to Newcastle breaking down at Chester Le Street, and was offered sod all. I didn't even get a sorry in the "apology" that I was given.
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#10
(18/04/2014, 23:22)aureolin Wrote: See I'd always argue that it should never be allowed to happen in a company. Companies should be ensuring that all their staff are properly motivated, trained, and performing in their roles. Something which I believe Nexus will look to enforce operators to deliver as part of QCS, although I do believe that's a bit rich, considering some experiences I've had with them.

I do have to say that I find GNE's centralised customer services team to be more than helpful, considering that I'm first to admit, I can be a right pain in the arse sometimes. Wink I was compensated with a 1 day all zones BuzzFare ticket the day I got stuck on a broken down 5259. In comparison, I was left stranded by the last Arriva X2 to Newcastle breaking down at Chester Le Street, and was offered sod all. I didn't even get a sorry in the "apology" that I was given.

Arriva aren't in the 21st century; that's all there is to it. I think companies that are striving to be the best, should just destroy anything in their path that are preventing them from doing so (bad employees). If I had been her supervisor that day and saw her shout at that innocent person (me), I would immediatley fire her (if I wanted to run an excellent company that offers perfection when it comes to customer satisfaction)
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#11
I'd say that GNE are very easy to contact and with regards to the drivers, they've all been fine. I had one though when he was in a bit of a fettle after he came in late of the 310 onto the 309 and after showing my pass, I was giving way to some alighting passengers as a matter of common courtesy and he snapped at me to get a move on. Other than that, they've all been sound.
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#12
(18/04/2014, 22:47)Marcus Wrote: While I must admit Go North East do offer excellent customer service and have some incredibly local members of staff, there is one employee (the woman who works in the Chester Travel Centre) who I had a problem with a while back.

It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I went into the Travel Centre in Chester to pick up a few leaflets and timetables for the recent service changes. It was chucking it down outside and so I decided to stay a little longer, and I engaged in a conversation with a driver who was sheltering. I purchased a Tale of The Century book from the woman who works there, and she barely looked up from her newspaper. I continued to talk with the driver for a while about how pointless it was bringing out a children's book with about a dozen words per page at the price of three quid before bringing out an anticipated collection of stories and memoribilia. After a couple of minutes, I told him I was going outside to talk to Gary Wheatley, and he said he was due to go on a 21 in a few minutes and that he should probably go and talk to him, but not before I added that there wasn't much of an atmosphere in the travel centre. She looked up and told me to get out because I was being rude. I asked her what I had done, and she walked out onto the shop floor and screamed at me to GET OUT. I was taken aback, as was the driver, who stood there staring at her, like a few people who had stopped in their tracks outside in the rain to see what was going on. I quickly left before anything else happened.

I went in a few weeks later the next time I was off school, and when I asked her if she thought I should do university in order to have a better chance with becoming a manager or something like that. I then asked her if she went to university in order to get her job (you know, sometimes you don't know what is needed for a job these days), and she said 'I don't want to talk about my personal life, thank you'. I left immediatley and haven't been back since. Everytime I pass though, she's sitting reading her newspaper, not remotely interested in anything going on around her. The way she shouted at me (a customer) that day has left me constantly thinking about filling in a formal complaint, but I would feel guilty if somebody lost their job as a result of myself, but with the way she talks to customers and goes about doing her job, she doesn't deserve to be in one.

I'm just wondering if you can give me any advice on what to do about her/or if she ever does it again. Anything to say back to her?, or do I just get the supervisor?

Cheers,
Marcus

To be honest I'm not surprised. United/Arriva's office had a notice up for years saying 'not to be used as a waiting room'. You sheltered there from the rain, slagged off a book you had just bought there and then complained about the atmosphere!
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#13
(19/04/2014, 15:49)Roland Pratt Wrote: To be honest I'm not surprised. United/Arriva's office had a notice up for years saying 'not to be used as a waiting room'. You sheltered there from the rain, slagged off a book you had just bought there and then complained about the atmosphere!

I was not waiting there, I was talking to the driver and was in the process of leaving when the employee started to be nasty. In regards to the children's book, I don't think anybody else bought any of them from that travel centre, and the woman who I was shouted at by didn't seem remotely interested, seeing as she just read her newspaper all the way through our conversation. She was offering terrible customer service and that's why I made that final comment, which just happened to send her into orbit. By any advice I meant any suggestions on what to do should it happen again, not for you to add fuel to the flames. She had no right or reason to raise her voice and shout at me.
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#14
I had emailed Arriva on the 3rd of April, as my bus didn't turn up altogether that morning, so I thought I'd ask why. Since then, I'd completely forgotten about it, and that I'd even emailed them. That was until today.

I got a phone call, which I rejected, as I was in a meeting. A voicemail left for me stating that "This is the Arriva bus company calling", and asking me to call back quoting a reference number. I picked up the message and called back to speak to someone. I provided my reference number and he found details of what the call was about.

The customer services guy told me it was regarding my email, and that the depot didn't have any details around the particular journey I emailed about. I questioned that straight away, asking whether he's saying the service did run? I was told that he wasn't sure, and is just quoting what the depot say. I asked if whoever from the depot has given him the information could give me a call, or at least clarify what they mean, that'd be great. I was told that they would check and call me back later today. Well guess what - 7pm and no call. I'm not going to hold my breath though.

What really baffled me is that not once was an apology issued. Not for the delay in my email being responded to, nor the lack of information they were calling me with in the first place. I got the impression that their stance was along the lines of "well that's the way it is". I know that the service didn't turn up, unless it was more than 10 minutes early. I waited about 20 minutes for the next bus, and everyone who got on that bus were the folk that get the bus I was waiting for.

The funny thing is that I only emailed it as a query - not a complaint. I'm annoyed about it now so am inclined to raise it was a complaint. Undecided
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#15
Speaking of Arriva Customer Services, I'm still waiting for my reply from them with the complaint I made last Saturday. Quick enough to respond to a question about a bus fare, but it comes to a complaint and you're lucky to get a response.

Granted, it's only been four working days and they say they aim to reply within ten working days if it's a complaint... But y'know.
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#16
(01/05/2014, 20:13)Dan Wrote: Speaking of Arriva Customer Services, I'm still waiting for my reply from them with the complaint I made last Saturday. Quick enough to respond to a question about a bus fare, but it comes to a complaint and you're lucky to get a response.

Granted, it's only been four working days and they say they aim to reply within ten working days if it's a complaint... But y'know.

The only thing I prefer about them over GNEs, is that they attempt to call you. It's the easiest way to cool a potential complaint down, but obviously never call without all the facts like in this case.

I should add that in contrast, I emailed GNE because my bus late one night a few weeks ago hadn't turned up. Although the response was two days longer than advertised, I was offered both an apology and a complimentary 3+ zone BuzzFare ticket added to my key card.
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#17
Gave up expecting anything off GNE Customer Services a long time ago.
Recent dialogue with them as less than impressive.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
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#18
(01/05/2014, 20:13)Dan Wrote: Speaking of Arriva Customer Services, I'm still waiting for my reply from them with the complaint I made last Saturday. Quick enough to respond to a question about a bus fare, but it comes to a complaint and you're lucky to get a response.

Granted, it's only been four working days and they say they aim to reply within ten working days if it's a complaint... But y'know.

Hurrah! I received a phone call today, in the middle of an exam. Good job my phone was downstairs in the office, eh?

They left me a voice mail asking me to get back in touch with them on an 0844 number (pfft, not likely - I used the 0191 number and was re-directed) with the reference number being quoted.

The bloke took about ten minutes to find the e-mail from the depot and then read the e-mail out to me. The e-mail from Whitby to Customer Services essentially quoted the Conditions of Carriage and said I was not entitled to a refund due to the traffic in Whitby being outside of their control. The high levels of traffic in Whitby was due to "Goth Weekend". In regards to the sick that was on the back of the upper deck, swapping vehicles would not have been appropriate due to high passenger numbers. Funny how about less than ten actually remained on the bus after alighting at Whitby for Middlesbrough - but we'll not go there...

Great experience as always...not. At least I got a reply though - eventually. 19 days and a phone call to quote their website instead of the preferred option of e-mail, a proper explanation and a free ticket! Nevermind...
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#19
(15/05/2014, 12:35)Dan Wrote: Hurrah! I received a phone call today, in the middle of an exam. Good job my phone was downstairs in the office, eh?

They left me a voice mail asking me to get back in touch with them on an 0844 number (pfft, not likely - I used the 0191 number and was re-directed) with the reference number being quoted.

The bloke took about ten minutes to find the e-mail from the depot and then read the e-mail out to me. The e-mail from Whitby to Customer Services essentially quoted the Conditions of Carriage and said I was not entitled to a refund due to the traffic in Whitby being outside of their control. The high levels of traffic in Whitby was due to "Goth Weekend". In regards to the sick that was on the back of the upper deck, swapping vehicles would not have been appropriate due to high passenger numbers. Funny how about less than ten actually remained on the bus after alighting at Whitby for Middlesbrough - but we'll not go there...

Great experience as always...not. At least I got a reply though - eventually. 19 days and a phone call to quote their website instead of the preferred option of e-mail, a proper explanation and a free ticket! Nevermind...

Ask for a response in writing and forward it on to the HSE. Putting profit over health and safety.
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#20
Tis funny that? Was just thinking about Arriva CS when I saw your post. First question is ? What is the point of them? 2nd, Why employee real people when a machine can trot out the excuses and is cheaper and why does, in this age of technology, take 10 working days to respond? When I worked in CS our aim was to respond to customers? Complaints, queries or whatever immediately and if we couldn't then access the information/whatever and get back to them as soon as. Not only that we didn't deal in excuses; an excuse in my eyes is an excuse for shoddy service and Arriva must be well versed in it!
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