Saturday, February 11, 2012

"You're spiteful".

I am back to work from the holiday leave that I took to nurse Gail following her knee replacement. My second shift was a Customer Care training day. This is a recognised module of the Driver CPC that everybody must hold by September 2013. It was a fun day for the 15 drivers who took part, something very different to the pace of our normal working day. We had the joys of interactive discussions, videos, Microsoft Powerpoint Presentations by a girl in funny shoes and a tasty working buffet lunch.

There is great commercial value to Customer Care and by getting staff to work professionally, good customer care raises the company perception and profile. Each driver was given 5 golden rules...

Be approachable, smile and greet my customers.

Ensure I have the most up-to-date knowledge and information to help my customers use our services with ease.

Speak clearly and use terms my customers will understand.

Take personal responsibility for my actions, ensuring my customers' questions are answered and problems resolved.

Treat my customers with respect and put myself in their shoes even if I don't agree with them.

...We all took this on board and left this training event energised to greet our passengers the next day.

The following day I was approached by a passenger with a Fun Fare ticket for a later journey from London to Newport. I told him that he could not travel on my coach because he had purchased a Fun Fare ticket. He could change his ticket which would cost him at least another £5 or wait 90 minutes for the journey he had bought. He questioned my response because he could see spare seats on my coach and could not understand why I was refusing him travel. I informed him that he was bound by the terms and conditions he entered into when he chose to purchase a Fun Fare ticket.

When we depart London Victoria Coach Station, drivers shout from their cab window the number of passengers on board to the station supervisor. I did this call as normal but I was heckled by this guy who wanted to travel to Newport. "You're spiteful" he shouted as I drove away.

The next day I told this tale to my line manager. "Quite right, Stephen" he replied "that is the terms and conditions, he chose to buy the ticket." I then discussed the irony of the training day before about Customer Care. No matter how good staff are with customer care, you might as well bang your head against a brick wall when it comes to Fun Fare refusal. All the good work that staff do towards good customer care is demolished when you have spare seats and refuse travel to later journey Fun Fare passengers. My line manager had the last word when he said "it's okay Stephen as long as you smile when you say 'NO' - that is good customer care" as he grinned from ear to ear.

So, it is okay to enjoy a Microsoft Powerpoint Presentation by a girl in funny shoes but the passenger could still consider you to be spiteful. I am just waiting for the day when a passenger with different skin pigmentation claims my refusal to let them travel was racist.
Management have not got a clue with regards the behaviour of passengers,end of.....
I used to tell people wanting to use Fun Fares earlier than booked is that they had a dirt-cheap ticket and that all the seats on the coach they wanted to travel on cost considerably more. He was able to upgrade to the price needed to travel on my journey, but needed to do so at the ticket office. If they continued to argue I'd add something like "I don't think those on board would be best pleased knowing how much more they paid than you."
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