So on route to #trulondon this morning, my train was running both late and over-crowded. My ticket was valid, but not for first class. The entire train was packed, standing room too, except first class – completely empty. No guard or conductor in sight to check with, so I just jumped in and settled down to work.
At this point, I thought I’d tweet the rail operator
. Partially because they claim to provide customer service on Twitter which I wanted to test, but also because if I was going to get grief (or even fined!) I wanted to check that situation out quickly. I got a swift response, which was at least a partial result – though it only expressed some light regret at the situation rather than offering anything more constructive. I followed up, making my concerns a little clearer regards how a ticket inspector might react. At this point, the official account stopped replying… first failure point.
A third party jumped in to defend the role of the ticket inspector. Clearly s/he was trying to defend the poor inspector who probably finds themselves on the sharp end of disgruntled customers regularly, but I was intrigued. A quick scan revealed the user regularly responded to other Southern Rail customers, defending the staff.
A little further correspondence reveals yes, s/he is a railway insider – who thinks of the customer service staff on Twitter as being “parrots”.
The exchange being concluded, a few thoughts:
- If you’re going to offer customer service on Twitter (or any other online platform) offer something USEFUL. “We’re sorry for the screw-up” doesn’t quite go far enough, in person or on line.
- If your own staff don’t respect your efforts to monitor and respond, what makes you think the general public will?
- The user finished by asking me to delete the tweets concerned, suggesting a culture of fear/blame exists. Why else would removal be requested….?
- Sitting on a train mid-discussion with an HR person who believes strongly in Employer Transparency… Irony?
The identity of the user in the screenshots is obscured for obvious reasons and original tweets deleted.
» Human Resources, Social Media, Twitter » Twitter, customer service and employee trust –...
Conductor (transportation), Customer, Customer service, customer service fail, customer service on twitter, social media, southern rail on twitter, Twitter
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