Customer Service - Good and Bad

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MikeWh

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So, I had some RTVs and decided to put them on my Oyster. As I'd already capped today I thought I'd try and see whether I could get them added at an Underground station. First stop was London Bridge ...

Ticket office was closed. Went to man on gateline and asked when the office was supposed to be closed. He was extremely apologetic, explained that they were short of staff, asked what I needed to do in case he could do it, he couldn't but he checked whether Bank (also shut) and Waterloo ticket offices were open. I really can't fault this guy, he was brilliant.

Next stop Waterloo. Went to the Jubilee ticket hall and asked if they could add the vouchers. Instantly told that I couldn't, RTVs could only be dealt with at a National Rail ticket office. I pressed him and asked if he was sure and he assured me he was. OK, not very bad service - he wasn't rude or anything, but he wasn't going to be convinced that he might be wrong.

Then I noticed that the W&C was still running and as I'd never been on it before I decided to fill in that gap on the Underground coverage. Knew Bank was shut so wandered down to Monument and then to Blackfriars. Also shut, but it was supposed to be by then. Up to the FCC platforms and on to St Pancras (I figured Farringdon was unlikely to be open if Blackfriars wasn't).

I was heading to the Underground when I noticed the screens in the FCC ticket office saying "Buy your Oyster products here". As I was running out of time I decided to try there rather than risk another refusal at KXSP. The ticket office was empty and had one window open. The assistant beckoned me over and she said no problem, she could do it. I asked what I should fill in on the vouchers and she said she'd do it. A few seconds later it was done.

As I turned away I witnessed something quite amazing. Another customer had started waiting and as I walked away he went up to the window. The assistant asked him to wait as she had to finish dealing with the previous customer (ie filling in my vouchers). He rapidly became animated, said he was a customer too and how dare she make him wait, demanded a complaint form then stormed off swearing when she wouldn't give him her full name. I was incensed and as he walked out the door I called out that I thought he was being extremely unreasonable. Thankfully he didn't respond and just carried on walking. Both me and the next customer then went up to the window and expressed our concern at the way she'd been treated. I was quite stunned by the incident, but I have to say that she handled it very professionally, not losing her cool or anything. In that moment I realised just what a difficult job being a ticket clerk can be.
 
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causton

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Happy to hear you got what you wanted in the end - and yes, there are many people who don't deserve to be anywhere near a railway! I know of a certain facebook group that is anti-FCC to the extreme, so much that they post personal details of staff members and make false accusations (for example, a particular train was delayed at such-and-such, check on the LDB and it wasn't)... and if a staff member stuck one foot out of line the entire group thinks they should be fired, prosecuted, hung, drawn and quartered! From my experience with rail staff the atmosphere is amicable and not at all strict, rules can be 'bent' with discretion but these people will have none of it. I almost liked the group until I got called a 'trainspotter' for helping a woman find a cheap ticket...
 

RJ

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In that moment I realised just what a difficult job being a ticket clerk can be.

I think it's as difficult as you make it really. I virtually never had difficult customers or people being rude to me. To avoid that sort of situation arising, I never used to let customers leave my window before I completely finished the transaction. If that meant processing and photocopying 100 vouchers before handing the customer their tickets then so be it. Of course, I'd advise how long the transaction was likely to take beforehand.

Whilst it was very nice of her to offer to fill in the vouchers for you, she should have been mindful of other people waiting in the queue. Someone working in a ticket office on a commuter line in London should know that the customers are generally of an impatient nature and it's best to leave any unnecessary self-imposed workload to when there's no customers at the window to serve. Yes, I have been there, done that and practiced what I preach! That said, there was no need at all for the customer to be rude.

As for RTVs on Oyster, best done at an Overground ticket office for minimal hassle IMO.
 
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calc7

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Agreed with MikeWh. It shouldn't be that difficult to get these things done though, either! I've recently had successes getting RTVs loaded as Oyster PAYG credit both at KXSP (after they read a manual) and City Thameslink (without haste).
 

MikeWh

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Whilst it was very nice of her to offer to fill in the vouchers for you, she should have been mindful of other people waiting in the queue.

I can't be certain, but I don't think he was there at the start. The room was empty when I walked in and he was the only person there as I went to leave.

As for RTVs on Oyster, best done at an Overground ticket office for minimal hassle IMO.

But presumably not at the ex-Southern stations?
 

142094

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If you have a few minutes free I'd write a letter or e-mail to applaud that member of staff on how they handled the situation.
 

MikeWh

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If you have a few minutes free I'd write a letter or e-mail to applaud that member of staff on how they handled the situation.

Already done, as much to pre-empt any complaint that the other idiot might try to fabricate.
 
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