Friday, 22 May 2009

Criminally bad customer service!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know I was nearly arrested at Leicester Railway Station today.

My crime? Refusing to pay a £5 supplement to use the First Class lounge.

The story: our (very old and outdated) East Midlands Train had been terminated on its way to Chesterfield due to engineering problems - which meant a whole hour's wait at Leicester. I had important emails that HAD to be sent and I needed to have someplace to utilise that hour - but my advance 1st class ticket apparently did not qualify me to use the lounge.

Now I accept that if I had arrived an hour early for my train or maybe wanted to dally in there and drink all the free coffee for a while I should be made to pay.

BUT THE ONE HOUR DELAY WAS THEIR FAULT!

To add insult to injury, when I refused to pay and went in (bear in mind the place was completely empty apart from one man) the receptionist called the police and two officers duly arrived to apprehend me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I explained the situation and invited them to arrest me, pointing out the publicity that action might incur, they then backed down and called the station manager who proceeded to give me a good old talking to about rules and regulations and people 'having to do their job properly'.

No problem says I, let me happily pay your £5 - in return for which I will Blog and Tweet about your crap customer service to the whole world.

So much for the East Midlands Train Service 'Passenger Charter' !!!

The problem of course lies in the staff training. So much time is clearly spent teaching them about rules, policies and procedures that they forget to tell them the REAL reason they are there: TO GIVE EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Shame on you Stagecoach, you have started to abuse your monopoly - because I have no other choice than to continue to use your shoddy, uncaring and downright rude crappy service.

53 comments:

Stephen said...

Blimen hell Rachel. Let it all out why don't you!

Well i don't know who is right and who is wrong, but i do NOW believe that people should stand up for what they believe in and this is exactly what you did Rachel. Even to the extent of facing the law and i suspect public humiliation.

Now that's inspirational!

Anonymous said...

It says the Charter;
"If you are delayed we will pay the following compensation in
National Rail vouchers:
• 30 – 59 minutes delayed: You will be refunded half of the cost
of that part of your journey".

I bet your ticket cost more than £5!!!
They could have just let you go in, not only that they would have SAVED MONEY also, as I bet £5 is less than 50% of your ticket price.

thedlog

Sylvia Tidy-Harris said...

Rachel, I use the service from Leicester to London most weeks and since Stage Coach took over I have dreaded every journey. I have been using the first class lounge there for years and then suddenly I was told I was no longer welcome by staff I had come to know - they were very apologetic as it sounds so ridiculous £5 - I normally just have a glass of water and it is always so empty. Then the wine on the evening trains disappeared. 1st class pax are served wine only between the hours of 4pm and 6pm now. Before it was for any 1st class passenger travelling train after 5 or 6pm. The train staff are overworked as they often have too few staff on board, some of them are very good but some are very poorly trained. If you sit in the first carriage you often have no choice but to hear the staff's life stories as they sit down and talk. The trains are often very dirty - particularly the old rolling stock. You are so right - they demonstrated unforgivable customer service - hope your blog gets loads of publicity - time Stage Coach started to treat their customers properly instead of with disdain.

Anonymous said...

And the Government wonder why we don't use public transport, are they really surprised.

I'll just keep to my car, far more reliable!!!!!!

thedlog

Hani said...

How short sighted and petty is that, all for the sake of £5 and what great PR they are getting because of it! lol

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Surprise surprise no complaint facility on their website, just a 'form' which when you send you get this message:

"Thank you for getting in touch. Although we aim to respond in 5 working days, you will definitely receive a full response within 20 working days."

20 WORKING DAYS ???????????????

Are we in 2009 or 1971????????

Shocking!

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Don't try calling them. You'll be asked to press 1 million numbers before you get to the right person to speak with...or maybe they have done away with this facility altogether too!!!

Much worse than 1971, I think they may have gone Neanderthal.

A1

Anonymous said...

What you gotta understand is, the paper work has to be sent to the necessary department for authorisation, then once that has been done it will be returned to the orignator, to allow him/her to pass it on to the necessary department to look into the matter, once that has been done then it will be passed back to the necessary department to authorise the outcome of the investigating department, then and only then can a decision be made by the mangement as to wether or not your complaint/claim is a valid, now assuming that management all agree, and does have to be 100% agreement, then it will be passed back to an administrator to reply to your email, but only after having been passed by their superior.

So you Rachel, there is system in place for these sorts of things which must be adhered to, and all this takes time, as I am sure you are aware people do have holidays to take which have already been booked in advance, and of course because it is half term next week for many, well.......

I hope this information helps you to understand why it takes the specified amount of time for you to receive a reply.

If you need any further information with regard to the administration process involved then please do not hesitate to contact me.

thedlog

Stephen said...

Rachel, you should know by now that you can't take the enemy head on.

best thing to do is to rip a few seats up whilst no one is looking.

Get it out of your system.

Yours.....
15 year old deviant male with a complete disragard for BS and a complete focus on surviving in the jungle they call life. lol

Kind of brings the best out in people - doesnt it?

Leona said...

After just signing up with twitter yesterday, I watched it with interest. Absolutely disgusting but as you say they have the monopoly and don't give a toss. I wonder how much it cost the tax payers to send two police officers to sort out their internal problems and terrible customer service.

Good for you, I would go for the compensation as well, just out of principle.

Yet another example of a company to big to care about their customers.

Mr C said...

To be fair to Stagecoach what incentive do they have for giving good customer service?

Its not like there is a great choice of transport options and quite frankly they will make pretty much the same amount of money if they treat you well or badly.

Of course one would hope that the staff realise that good customer service rarely costs anything extra. However, I'm guessing these are the same staff on minimal pay who are regularly abused by the public...(including irate ex-dragons).

C

Anonymous said...

Luvverly ...

In defending his position, Brian Souter once told Scotland on Sunday "ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do, because capitalism is based on greed".

Brian Souter: Stagecoach's straightman, 21 January, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/612409.stm

Anonymous said...

t really surprised the staff are abused if they are rude and arrogant.
Manners costs NOTHING, good morning/afternoon/evening - Thank You, Please etc etc

thdlog

Andy Hanselman said...

Rachel
Co-incidentally, this exact same thing happened to us on Monday evening at Kings Cross with National Express.

I call people like the guy you dealt with 'The Sales Prevention Officer'. It's not necessarily his fault because it's clearly built in to the way they do business.

It is however frustrating as hell and certainly with our train system and lack of competition there's not much you can do to take your business elsewhere like you could in other sectors. However, the 'word of mouse' created by things like your blog might just get them to start taking notice and looking at how easy they are to do business with. So,keep it up - if we all continue to highlight the good, bad and indifferent, then things might just change with time!

Hani said...

Everyone can go the extra mile, regardless of job, position or pay. It makes a huge difference to yourself and all the people you meet. I think Rachel mentioned a lady at one of the motorway services she uses, on her blog, who did did this. The first page of Daniel Golemans's 'Emotional Intelligence', talks abut a bus driver who greeted all his, often miserable passengers in a cheerful, friendly manner and the difference it made to their moods and their day. I used to work as a Customer advisor, so I can see it from both ways.

Anonymous said...

really boring. really boring. I'm off to Seth Godin's blog, where he has a lot more to say.

Ed.

Mr A Dragon said...

My view is that if you travel first class, you deserve all the aggrevation you get..

..I prefer to slum it with the scum in steerage, its made me a more rounded individual.

Bob.

Anonymous said...

It's true you get slimmer passengers in first class...

C

Anonymous said...

Or maybe the seats are larger?

C

Anonymous said...

Being present there i'll correct you int he fact that you werent nearly arrested at all . Nothing of the sort . It was a civil matter between you and the railway. if they'd have wanted you removing from the lounge then you would have been removed. Nothing more.

Mr C said...

Anonymous

I think Rachel's account is meant to be an allegory as opposed to a witness statement. Rachel is a marketeer first and foremost and marketeers rarely let facts get in the way of a good story.

Don't believe me? Check out our imminent extinction in her blog entry re the bees.

C

Anonymous said...

marketeer or storyteller...

Anonymous said...

more of a bore i'd say!

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Ed

At least you can actually post comments on my Blog... Much more fun than Seth's.

And Anonymouse: if you find it all so boring you are very welcome to f*ck off !!!

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Hi R and All,

Hhmmm last reply of R hhmmm, please don't let ANON get into your auric forcefield.

If he says it is boring, it's his/her opinion just welcome it and say perhaps, feel free to make it less boring...then let go of any anger or resentment you felt when you read that post. It is not good for the blood vessels.

You will be in the Mind, Body and Soul event, you must maintain your inner chi. Also, any negative words or thoughts coming from your brainwave of energy will come back to you i.e. karma. If someone says something bad, accept and let go.

I am not saying be a doormat or a dormouse, always remember what comes around goes around. Trick is, not to vibrate in that lower energy and all will be well. ANON might be right or wrong in his opinion but if you let him/her hack you off, then he/she wins. "Those who anger you conquer you"...

So my suggestion is just tell ANON "thank you for saying blog is boring". Just accept positive and negative comments and if you let go, + energy always maintains balance. That is my two cents worth.

Divine light to all,
TEN

Rachel Elnaugh said...

TEN

Yes of course you are right, I know & realise, I have a lot of anger coming to the surface at the moment, hence attracting clashes with authority etc, it is all part of the dealing with & healing process...

Thank you for your guidance & wise words of support

Regards

Rachel

Stephen said...

I don't think Rachel needs to be told how to behave TEN.

Vulnerability and negative emotions are all part of being human.

The concept of perfect, just doesn't exist. Not in human terms at least.

It just shows that we humans are never essentially in control. We just have to accept that and work with what we have.

So far, doesn't seem to me like Rachel has done a bad job of her life.

Anonymous said...

Stephen, the post was for Rachel, I should have emailed her personally. The post was not a command or instruction for what Rachel has to do.

Rachel replied and said thanks, that is all I needed to know if I have helped someone in any way. I suggest you read Rachel's reply again and perhaps you will say "Ten, thanks for your 2 cents worth" instead of machine gunning me (my force field is on all the time).

Either way, you seem to reply to people's comments which are not for you or directed to you but for a specific someone and to share in general.

I should not have replied to your post as this will upset that balance in this blog. Please find time to re read Rachel's reply & try to vibrate to her feeling/energy after reading it...calm and grateful...and perhaps you would have replied in the same respectable appreciative manner as she did.

Divine light to all,
TEN

p.s. Please find time to re read what Rachel wrote. If she wrote a reply like yours, which she would not, then I rest my case. Again, the post was meant for Rachel not for you.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Rachel wrote "Thank you for your guidance & wise words of support"


She did not say, thanks for telling me how to behave, did she now? as reference to your post Stephen.

I am not talking to Rachel in a human way, but in a spiritual way and she know's what I am on about. She knows when I talk about auric force field, enery, universe, law of attraction, cosmic alignment and most of all Healing.

Peace to all,
TEN

Stephen said...

"might upset the balance of this blog????"

lol ......

What balance is that TEN?

Sounds more like black PR to me.

In other words. You are talking BS.

Anonymous said...

Steve, why you being so hard on TEN. They say they are a spiritual being and all that?

Stephen said...

Someone told me that they had integrity the other day.

ONCE A THIEF, ALWAYS A THIEF...

lol

Anonymous said...

I did chuckle when I read the ' do they know who i am? I think not ' on twitter... the most pretentious thing i've ever heard.

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Some people just do not understand tongue in cheek irony!

Mr C said...

Perhaps we need a new punctuation mark to denote irony to avoid confusion? I'm voting for ~ as it sits on my keyboard like the kid who never got picked for a team at school forlornly watching the other keys getting chosen one by one...

Anonymous said...

i'm sure it wasnt irony but as the pretentious comment has been spotted you can blame it on that cant you ;).

And what about the comment from the poster that was there? you claim you were almost arrested ... but says you werent at all.

Anonymous said...

Dont think I'll be signing up for any of her workshops after this - so much for professional integrity.

Anonymous said...

It was not tongue in cheek irony.

I was there and you said to the officers ' do you know who i am , have you not watched the first series of dragons den' ...

not irony .. pure ego

you also said 'are you going to arrrest me ' ... not how it was described in your blog.

funny old world.. and a small one.

Rachel Elnaugh said...

OK, get into the minutia of detail if you will, but the bottom line here is, AS AN ORGANISATION, is all the badwill and negative PR of charging the £5 worth it vs the other option of simply saying:

"No worries Madam, we can see we've inconvenienced you, please use the lounge with our compliments."

And by the way, the lounge was EMPTY apart form one man, thus at that point in time a totally underutilised business asset which could have been leveraged to create huge amounts of customer goodwill.

So, better still, why not announce:

"All 1st class customers inconvenienced by the 1 hour delay to your train, please come to the First Class lounge where we have complimentary coffee waiting for you, and you can relax for the hour."

How powerful would that small announcement have been?


R

Rachel Elnaugh said...

PS My post was made on 22 May and a complaint entered via the website same day; here we are on 5 June - 2 weeks later - and not one dickie bird of any response or any apology received.

THEY SIMPLY DON'T GIVE A FLYING SHIT

R

Leona said...

It is amazing how many large companies devalue the power of service excellence.

Your right if they had made that announcement it would have made you automatically warm to their brand and as a result more likely to recommend their 1st class service to others, giving them powerful word of mouth marketing rather than negative publicity.

The fact that they haven't even bothered to contact you is just downright rude!

"i'll correct you int he fact that you werent nearly arrested at all . Nothing of the sort . It was a civil matter between you and the railway."

Your right it should have been a civil matter however two police officers responded to the railways call which resulted in Rachel being approached as if she was a criminal.

'Dont think I'll be signing up for any of her workshops after this - so much for professional integrity.'

Well you will be the only one loosing out with that one, the workshop is fantastic but then again I found Rachel's reply to ED funny, so maybe you are just not suited to learn from an outspoken entrepreneur with spunk and a witty sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

She was not appraoached as a criminal , how are police officer supposed to resolve an issue if they dont approach someone that has been accused of something?

They turn up get both sides of the story and on this occasion left it between the two parties.

And still no comment on the lies told in the blog about being threatened with arrest.

Anonymous said...

She was not appraoached as a criminal , how are police officer supposed to resolve an issue if they dont approach someone that has been accused of something?

They turn up get both sides of the story and on this occasion left it between the two parties.

And still no comment on the lies told in the blog about being threatened with arrest.

Anonymous said...

What do you want Rachel to do? Descend into a childish battle of yes they did and no they didn't with you guys?

Look at the big picture - this blog is a discussion about bad service. And now, times are changing. The internet can and has been successfully used to upstage bad service providers.

Take for example how students managed to make HSBC submit to their online protest against plans to charge interest on graduate overdrafts, which was launched on facebook. All this you matter to us shit and we will call you back in 20 working days bull. That has to change. And we can change it if we stand up together against it, as the student protest against HSBC example shows.

Petty arguments like you're not famous and yes and no they didn't want to arrest you springing on the back of this incident - that shows why sometimes, we fail to stand up against blindingly bad service. Your vision of the big picture is so clouded with your own perceptions and desire to win tiny arguments like these, which, incidentally you have sparked off yourselves anyway. Ok, so they didn't want to arrest Rachel. So Rachel isn't famous. You win your tiny arguments. So the f*ck what?

What is your say and your stand against bad service like that??????

A1

Anonymous said...

A bit of truth wouldnt go amiss instead of misleading sensationalist fibs.

Anonymous said...

So you felt it was not like they wanted to arrest her.

Well, Rachel felt that they might want to arrest her. Why get 2 policemen to deal with the situation then, if not to act as a deterrent and hint at arrest?

It's all perception and mindset (yours, mine, hers).

Get a life and move on. A bit of widening your mind to look (see, focus, understand) at the topic of this discussion - which is Bad Customer Service - wouldn't go amiss instead of doggedly pushing your own misleading sensationalist view about non-arrest.

A1

Anonymous said...

its only perception if you werent there

Anonymous said...

Duh - you sure do have a bad case of rewindititis...or is it Broken Recorder Syndrome? It's contagious so I am avoiding you henceforth.

A1

Moira said...

You had a simple choice to make. You either pay the five pounds or you sit in a public waiting room with everyone else. Everyone's time (and life) is equally valuable. We all have important calls to make and email to send. You should have accepted it graciously and put it down to experience. Moira Benson, Sheffield

Anonymous said...

But moira... dont you know who she is???

Stephen said...

I don't think its what you say. Its what value you put in.

For all her faults (or supposed faults) Rachel seems to be always delivering value.

How about any of you guys?

I'm certainly well at the bottom of the pile. I don't mind saying so.

How about you guys? How much impact do you have on peoples lives?

Anonymous said...

Stephen, I don't like this "four legs good and two legs bad" (George Orwell, Animal Farm) thinking. So just because Rachel gives value, she is entitled to better treatment. Us at the bottom of the pile, we are entitled to different treatment because we input lower level values?

I am all for better customer service for EVERYONE though, and don't believe we should pick Rachel apart for trying to stand up for better service.

A1

Stephen said...

I just think this is a BS thread A1 and would prefer to look at the good sides of someone rather than the bad sides.

If you don't agree with someone, then you have two choices - say you don't or just leave them to their ignorance (if thats what it is).

No one is perfect.

Problem is. There is to much crap being spoken about and not enough substance.

Who the f* cares if someone had a difficult journey to work anyway?