Customer experience lost: My train journey today.
I and another gentleman have just helped a lady onto the 16:24 train (from Sheffield to Reading) with her bags and small child. We helped rearrange luggage to move her suitcase out of the aisle and then made sure that three other women had a seat; two of whom had children.
As I walked down the aisle one of the women we’d helped said there should be one of you on every train and I smiled and said thank you.
And then I sat down and thought for a moment…
Do you know what?
Do you know what; I agree with her, BUT, it shouldn’t have to be another passenger; although I’m grateful it is because it demonstrated that a sense of community still exists.
In my view, it should be one of the team employed to deliver service and customer experience. Can you imagine that?
It wouldn’t cost anymore money than is spent now; as kindness is free. There were only two of us who helped our fellow passengers. On the train there is often a conductor, driver and refreshments attendant on hand – one more than made up our number.
Now imagine if the conductors role was to walk down the train and check that everyone was ok, had found a seat and that their luggage was stowed in a safe and secure way.
Imagine if their role was to speak to children and then and only then asked for payment. What would that mean for customers and in turn job satisfaction and commercial growth?
Imagine how different the experience would be if railways had to give a 50% refund if you’d paid for a ticket but couldn’t sit down; a 25% reduction for having to sit with luggage on your lap and a 10% refund if the toilets, restaurant of wifi was out of order. Imagine that; what would be different?
I have seen great stuff; don’t get me wrong
Now before anyone says that they individually provide much of what I’ve said; I would like to recognise that I have seen wonderful behaviours by train crews on my travels. Indeed, the refreshments attendant was kind courteous and accepting of those people gesturing what they wanted, rather than speak to her, because they were too focused on their phone calls.
My question is does the ‘imagine’ state happen enough and if it did what impact would if have for customers, commerce and in turn (aspirationally) for our national sense of community.
I say let’s start a consumer revolution and demand more of what costs nothing; showing you truly care.
This revolution must begin with train companies engaging, supporting and challenging themselves and their people; changing what they measure and the behaviours they seek in line with truly customer centric values; only then will their people be empowered to show how much they care for their customers and people.
In turn, people like me wouldn’t feel the need to spend a part of their journey typing posts like this instead of relaxing after a wonderfully challenging week.
Who am I? Stefan Powell…
I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.
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