An email I thought I would share

August 16, 2009

By Steve Johnson

The below is a response I sent to an email I recieved from a friend of mine. He pointed out an article from The Times which he thought I may find interesting, follow the link to read it.
Let me introduce Silly Doorsqueak Theory
This is a sign of the malaise that has crept into the industry over the last 18 months to a year. The industry has worked very hard to improve both the service it offers and the image it portrays over the last five years or so. However, just as soon as the industry starts to spread a good message, HS1, St Pancras, Punctuality figures in the 90% (even if they are measured in an operator friendly manner) the industry seems to have seen the recession as a reason for taking its foot of the gas and letting things slip very quickly.
The problem is the industry is not putting the customer first. One sign of this is the appearance of bloody ticket barriers everywhere. How am I supposed to carry my suitcase, my computer bag and my coffee through the ticket barrier whilst also putting a ticket in the stupid machine. The ticket barrier is there purely to help the train operator, it has nothing to do with helping the customer enjoy their journey.
The same goes for the attitude of selling tickets on trains, the very fact that you can run into the station and jump on a train then buy a ticket is what makes it attractive to some people. But to be treated like a criminal for not buying a ticket when the bus is late and only one ticket window is open and five people are in the queue is disgusting (the reason one is at the station is to travel not to buy a ticket).
Most people travel by train because they have no alternative, it is not through choice. The more the railway puts barriers in the way (quite literally) the less inclined people will be to use them.
Yes barriers may reduce vandalism and protect revenue but how much is this a problem on the 06.40 Derby to Crewe?
I hear commentators saying that ‘you wouldn’t expect to turn up at the airport and just get on a plane’ well, I am sorry but that is because they are not customer focused either. Personally I do not see another industries failing as a excuse to follow suit.
I could go on:
Broken air con on Voyages and no explanation from staff when asked to increase the temp in the carriage.
No displays or announcements at Sheffield because ‘the power has gone off’, and staff hiding out of the way instead of manning every passenger movement point to help them get to the correct train, I’m just glad I knew which platform I needed.
No access across Derby Station footbridge when the ticket barriers come into use.
Proposal to close access to the tram from the city at Sheffield when the ticket barriers come in to use.
My message, look at the situation from the perspective of the customer and address the things that annoy them first.
Well that is a little rant from me.
Hope you are both well.
Steve Johnson

This post was written by Steve Johnson

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