The state of customer service and user experience on Britain’s railways and the delay repay scheme is well past being a national joke. Its from the dark ages, and like the dinosaurs, its needs to become extinct. A couple of weeks ago we travelled down to the harbour for an afternoon out. Upon arriving at the train station to see the not unusual horror with Southern (F)Rail of Delays and Cancellations across the departure screens.
This week’s guest blog is from Vicky Carruthers: "My parents have decided they would like to go over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on our holiday. The Glenfinnan Viaduct runs on the line between Fort William and Mallaig, and was made famous by the Harry Potter Films. Now, a popular day out, particularly as there is a steam train that runs on this route, two journeys a day. Now, you would think booking this train journey would be straight forward right? After all it is 2021 and it’s just a train journey. Wrong. I started trying to book this journey in the middle of May, for some time between 26th June and 10th July."
Are we just going back to the way things used to be – are you going to scare people? We need “working” to change, to follow the science as well as time to adapt. We want some of those business gains – in terms of hours not spent commuting and a reduction in building operational costs, but we also need to be realistic about our customers and employees’ needs right now. Technology to assist us in our new pandemic lives and helping us to reframe a new culture.
Lets talk about pubs and customer effort. 2 of my favourite subjects, although not topics that are often talked about in the same sentence, but hear me out. Went out last Friday, and the difference between user experiences owned by 3 major breweries could not be more stark, leaving us never going back to one, despite it being a regular before, and one of the nicer ones in town.
Hi. I’m Vicky. I’m a people person, and I happen to work in Human Resources. Let me tell you the story about Dave (not his real name, but everyone knows a Dave). Dave has not been his usual self lately, a little grumpy, some might even say snappy, and he certainly hasn’t produced work to his normal level. His manager spoke to HR in the shared service centre, who told them to manage through the policy. This meant a recorded conversation and potentially a PIP.
There is now a lot of customer dissatisfaction about wait times to the contact centre and with companies blaming this on Covid. In This Report last week from Moneypenny published in the FMJ, 85% of consumers were unimpressed with companies blaming long wait times on Covid, and their patience is wearing thin.
A lot of retailers have suddenly woken up to how valuable their contact centres are, having relied solely on their stores until now, viewing the customer service centre as a necessary overhead to be managed. This is leading to many of them needing to bring their contact centres and the customer service supporting infrastructure right up to date having underfunded and under developed it for many years.
The Virgin Media and 02 merger has now been given approval to proceed. I’m curious as to know what this is going to mean for their CX design and their contact centre estate. Virgin in particular have had an appalling reputation, and have never really fixed broken processes and customer journeys from several legacy acquisitions and rebrands from the cable space going back many years. I still wear the battle scars from my days at NTHell as we somewhat affectionately called it.
I have been struck over the last couple of months how many companies are complaining about a skills shortage. And not just call centres either. Utilities companies, retailers, healthcare organisations, travel businesses. Wherever I’ve been this year, organisations are struggling both to the find people with the skills needed, but more worryingly, the people who they already have, not being competent in their existing roles, causing unacceptable performance issues and resulting business impacts.
Bus use had dropped over 20% outside of London in recent years, and since the pandemic, numbers have plummeted, as low as 9% of previous levels in places during the various lockdowns. Many of the passengers won’t come back under the current market arrangements and there is a fundamental shift taking place in the sector, that some feel is long overdue. What’s clear is that the deregulated, privatised commercial model that has operated since 1988 has had its day.