'Interesting' Thameslink customer service attitude

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bakerstreet

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I often see on these forums disputes where people travel beyond the validity of the Oyster system and then get a penalty fare or worse.

Surprising then that while waiting to exit the barrier at a Zone 2 station the agent was talking to a customer at the remote barrier by intercom.

Question from customer: is oyster valid to Wimbledon?

Agent: Yes it is

Agent (after intercom call ended) turns to passengers beside him and says:
Why do people ask such questions?Where does he think Wimbledon is, Surrey?

Well done to the passenger for asking, I'd say.

To those in Customer service roles, what questions to you find REALLY annoying?
 
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jindivik

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What time is the next train to (location) .... does that stop at (location)? When people are asking where they want to go it would be much simpler asking for the destination they are actually trying to get to, example would be a London Euston service but they're trying to get to Milton Keynes.

Having a group of 10-15 people who can hear exactly what you're saying... but ask the exact same question as the person in front of them anyway.

Holding an advanced ticket but wanting to travel a considerable amount of time earlier without a valid reason, and then getting arsey about it... (you paid £3 for that ticket when someone else has just paid £10+)

People becoming demanding/abusive with you when they've missed a service from a completely different TOC but telling you it's your responsibility to get them home (even though the TOC you work for doesn't even have a service to that station)

"does this train go to XXX" and then asking "are you sure?" afterwards......nah, i just thought i'd tell you for the fun of it.

The flak you get after passengers have been refused boarding (because the doors have closed).

When someone asks the quickest way to get somewhere, you're absolutely certain you have given them the best route but then they say "can i not change at XXX" ..... well you can but you'll get there 40 minutes later....

The list is endless, also... first post! hello!
 

TheEdge

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What time is the next train to (location) .... does that stop at (location)? When people are asking where they want to go it would be much simpler asking for the destination they are actually trying to get to, example would be a London Euston service but they're trying to get to Milton Keynes.

I've had that in its purest form one afternoon.

The Norwich - Sheringham line had gone down, my train was cancelled and I was at Norwich station helping with the passengers. Tickets were being accepted on local buses.

Gent comes to me, asks how to get to Sheringham. I direct him to the bus station, which is about a 10m walk from the railway station, off he goes grumbling. About half an hour later the gent re-appears all angry demanding to know why I send him to the wrong place and the buses didn't go there. He then drops the golden line "I said Sheringham but I wanted to go to Wroxham"

Obviously he expected me to magically know he meant Wroxham when he said Sheringham and was for some reason shocked when he was sent to the wrong place...
 
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The people asking the same question drive me to insanity, they can all hear the answer but queue up anyway to ask. Does my head in and more importantly makes it more difficult to assist those with genuine issues as you're a) annoyed and b) tied up for 20 minutes answering seemingly pointless questions.
 

Phil.

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It works both ways you know.
Me, "When is the next train to Petts Wood"?
non-listening person at Bromley South. "You've just missed one".
(Thanks for reminding me pal).

Me. "What platform is the train to Avonbeach"?
Non-listening person at Bristol T.M. "Fourteen forty-five".
(Wow, there's a helluva lot of platforms here).

When did Wimbledon leave Surrey? In my jaundiced mind it's still in Surrey.
 
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Sprinter153

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A pet peeve is when people will ask you a question ("Is this the next train to Waterloo?") , you'll answer it and then they'll find another member of staff a few yards away and ask the same question again.

And also when people swarm up to a train you're trying to alight from and just say the name of a station. 'Victoria?' Only at the weekend dear ;)
 

Ianno87

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I remember being on a Nottingham-Skegness train a few years back, and was sat near a talkiative guy who was also travelling end to end.

"What time does this train get to Skegness?" he asks
Conductor: (Checks timetable in pocket) "At 12.30"
Passenger: "Thanks"

The passenger then proceeds to repeatedly ask (at least 5 times or so) throughout the journey "How much further to Skegness, mate?"

To which the conductor repeatedly replies (in a manner of decreasing patience with the passenger as the journey goes on, the teain having quite obviously not been delayed at any point): "We're *still* due to arrive at 12.30".
 

AngusH

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It's inevitable I think.

The rail system is very complicated, the cost of getting things wrong could be very high, the cost of asking a question is nil.

(to the passenger, obviously there is a cost having a person answering questions)
 

philthetube

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With me it is when a passenger asks a question then follows it with "Are you sure"
 

Haywain

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"What time is the next train to xxxxxxxx?"
You tell them it's in 25 minutes, departing at xx:xx.
"Isn't there one sooner than that?"

Often followed up with "What time was the last one?"
 
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N228PF

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People who much rather be on the move than sitting ducks. If imagine that if train 1 from location A left at 16:01 and arrived at B at 17:20 and train 2 left at 16:15 and arrived at 17:15, the person at the station at 15:55 might very well opt for train 1 just to feel accomplished from being on the move.

I'd rather walk a 30 minute journey home than wait 20 minutes for a 4 minute bus ride.
 

Haywain

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People who much rather be on the move than sitting ducks. If imagine that if train 1 from location A left at 16:01 and arrived at B at 17:20 and train 2 left at 16:15 and arrived at 17:15, the person at the station at 15:55 might very well opt for train 1 just to feel accomplished from being on the move.
Not in my experience, they want the earliest possible departure time unless there's an earlier arrival time. Or some other combination of the utterly impossible.
 

causton

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Indeed, there is a certain stigma attached to waiting for a later, but faster train...

For example, people turn up heading to places north from Watford, there is an xx:41 off-peak that gets to Milton Keynes 40 minutes later, or the xx:03 of the next hour which takes 20 minutes and gets to Milton Keynes about the same time. Many people complain if you tell them to wait half an hour for the fast one, but they don't mind if you tell them to catch the slower train. It is all an illusion of "being on the move"!

Don't get me started on people who would rather take the xx:41 Overground to Willesden Junction and change there for Clapham Junction than wait for the xx:52 direct service, despite the latter being faster... ;)
 

philthetube

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Indeed, there is a certain stigma attached to waiting for a later, but faster train...

For example, people turn up heading to places north from Watford, there is an xx:41 off-peak that gets to Milton Keynes 40 minutes later, or the xx:03 of the next hour which takes 20 minutes and gets to Milton Keynes about the same time. Many people complain if you tell them to wait half an hour for the fast one, but they don't mind if you tell them to catch the slower train. It is all an illusion of "being on the move"!
I would much rather spend 40 mins on a train than 20 at Eustone and 20 on a train.
 
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PeterC

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I work in the music business and do a fair bit of front of house work. At least the railways seem to miss my "favourite" from customers:

"Have my friends arrived yet?"

Presumably expecting me to remember them from another 400 ticket gig 3 months previously.
 

Flamingo

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"Is this the fast train?"
"Yes Sir, 125 miles per hour"
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I work in the music business and do a fair bit of front of house work. At least the railways seem to miss my "favourite" from customers:

"Have my friends arrived yet?"

Presumably expecting me to remember them from another 400 ticket gig 3 months previously.

A penguin walks into a pub, says to the barman "Has my brother been in today?"
"I don't know, what does he look like?"
 

philthetube

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favourite of mine from the busses, (I have heard this used)

Passenger, I've been waiting forty minutes for this bus,
Driver, well its a good job your not waiting for a train then!
Passenger, why not,
Driver, because there are no rails here.
 

sheff1

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For example, people turn up heading to places north from Watford, there is an xx:41 off-peak that gets to Milton Keynes 40 minutes later, or the xx:03 of the next hour which takes 20 minutes and gets to Milton Keynes about the same time. Many people complain if you tell them to wait half an hour for the fast one, but they don't mind if you tell them to catch the slower train. It is all an illusion of "being on the move"!!

Not really. I learned many many years ago that it is far more sensible to catch the earlier 'slower' train than wait for the later 'faster' one which is shown as being "on time" but which then turns out to be xx mins late or even cancelled.
The clincher was letting a slow train go, only for there then to be a bomb scare in the 15 min wait for the fast which resulted in a 2 hour plus late arrival at my destination, the final 20 mile leg being in a railway funded taxi.
 

Via Bank

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It's funny how we end up with multi-page arguments chastising passengers attempting to get to Gatwick* or Luton on Oyster for 'not doing their research' and 'not taking responsibility' when they inevitably get huge penalties, and yet this forum's response to a member of rail staff behaving unprofessionally and inappropriately in front of passengers - after someone asked a perfectly legitimate question and took responsibility for ensuring the validity of their ticket - is to list ways that passengers annoy rail staff.

This forum confuses me.

*yes I know Oyster is now valid to Gatwick. It wasn't before.
 

N228PF

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- after someone asked a perfectly legitimate question and took responsibility for ensuring the validity of their ticket - is to list ways that passengers annoy rail staff.

This forum confuses me.

*yes I know Oyster is now valid to Gatwick. It wasn't before.

OP did ask what questions annoy those in customer service roles, effectively sealing this thread as a place to unload problem passengers.

As a fair number on here are involved in running the trains, there opinion will be skewed to a TOC/one with a far greater understanding, making it harder to sympathize with a novice user (or someone likes me who gets Sheffied and Shenfield backwards)
 

DarloRich

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a lot of those questions are people seeking reassurance ( asking the same question/double checking) it hides the fact they don't want to say they don't know or need help.

it is a normal human behaviour - people need to hear things for themselves and double check in order to process the information. it is annoying but we will all have done it at some point especially in an environment unfamiliar to us.
 

AndyW33

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When did Wimbledon leave Surrey? In my jaundiced mind it's still in Surrey.
1965, you obviously need to seek medical treatment for jaundice....
Indeed, there is a certain stigma attached to waiting for a later, but faster train...

For example, people turn up heading to places north from Watford, there is an xx:41 off-peak that gets to Milton Keynes 40 minutes later, or the xx:03 of the next hour which takes 20 minutes and gets to Milton Keynes about the same time. Many people complain if you tell them to wait half an hour for the fast one, but they don't mind if you tell them to catch the slower train. It is all an illusion of "being on the move"!

Quite possibly because they have no confidence at all that the later train won't be cancelled or severely delayed, and so are working on the basis that a slow train in the platform is worth two fast trains on the departure board.
Anyone who uses Thameslink will certainly think this way.
 

IanD

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Having a group of 10-15 people who can hear exactly what you're saying... but ask the exact same question as the person in front of them anyway.

The people asking the same question drive me to insanity, they can all hear the answer but queue up anyway to ask. Does my head in and more importantly makes it more difficult to assist those with genuine issues as you're a) annoyed and b) tied up for 20 minutes answering seemingly pointless questions.

Does my head in that people assume that just because you're in a queue you are listening to the private conversation of the person in front of you.
 

LowLevel

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The questions don't bother me (though if you ask 'are you sure?' more than once it's liable to irritate me.

What does is a) single word requests like 'London?' which usually get slightly facetious answers as it's rude, and b) banging on the cab window until I put down my meal which I'm clearly eating, walk across the cab, open it and then answer a question which is answered, generally, by the board the person is stood beneath.

Generally speaking I'll answer anything and there's no such thing as a stupid question, but a rude way of asking may elicit a similar response if I'm having a bad day.
 

W230

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Indeed, there is a certain stigma attached to waiting for a later, but faster train...
Another classic being at St Pancras LL where the Luton Airport passengers pile on a Luton stopper instead of the Bedord semi-fast four minutes behind. I used to make a PA to explain that the following train was considerably quicker for the airport but don't bother now. It causes too much confusion as they get on and off repeatedly at St Pancras to check the screens and that i'm not telling porkies! :lol:
 

Flamingo

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One thing that does my head in is when somebody asks me for the connection times and stations on a complicated journey, then after I look it up and ask them if they want a print-out they say "No thanks" and produce the print-out from the station/home they have with them.

On the advice of an older colleague, I now ask "What did the station say" and when they produce the print-out I say "Well, that's correct".
 
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