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Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

This morning I found myself in the unenviable position of buying a Metrocard (NYC’s public transportation currency) during the morning rush hour. But to my delight I found one short line of about four or five people waiting for the next available of the three (working) machines at the 77th st. 6-train station. (This, rather than the typical three lines, where one is very fast, one is very slow, and I’m forced to play Metrocard machine Russian Roulette, which I usually lose.)

But as I got to the second position on the line, a woman approached the front and said, “Why aren’t there three lines? This makes NO SENSE,” clearly laying the groundwork for an attempt to cut those of us ahead of her in line by starting another one behind the left or right machines.

I decided I had to defend the one-line system and so I spoke up. “Actually, it DOES make sense because whoever’s here first gets the next open machine.” She huffed and walked to the back of the line.

While misguided, this woman at least recognized the opportunity to expose what she perceived to be an inefficiency in the system to anyone within earshot. But for many of the complainers among us, this is as far as we’ll go when it comes to making our voices heard.

Also this morning, I came across this USA Today article, which suggests that not everyone feels that they necessarily want a say in how their public transportation provider or favorite restaurant or mechanic treats its customers. From the article:

Surely, it’s nice to be courted for input, at least sometimes. But some consumers say they’re fed up with giving time-consuming feedback for free, don’t like being drawn into a data web used to evaluate employees or feel companies don’t act on the advice they get. Others say they simply don’t have anything revelatory to impart about, say, ordering a shirt or buying a package of pens.

Anyone who’s read my blog before knows I’m incredibly sensitive to how I’m treated as a customer, both positively and negatively, and so I was surprised to learn that some people would rather forfeit their chance to share their opinion in exchange for just being left alone.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons why we might choose to take or not take a survey. For example, it’s more likely that you’ll fill out a survey or write a review if you’ve had a bad experience versus a good one. You’re also more likely to do it if you’re incentivized with a few bucks, a chance to win a sweepstakes, or some other prize or coupon. (Buffalo Wild Wings offers up free wings for completing a customer service survey.)

I flew Delta over the weekend and was delayed two hours on the way out and another hour on the way back when our arrival gate wasn’t ready and we were forced to deplane in some sort of temporary airplane parking space and take a “people mover” (i.e. a bus), then wait 20 minutes for our luggage.

Having dealt with airlines for many years and understanding how poor that industry is when it comes to customer service (I dare you to debate me on that) I knew my complaints would likely fall on deaf ears and I’d be cast as yet another cranky, disgruntled customer looking for a handout. So I put it behind me, chalking the experience up to a built-in hassle that comes with air travel.

But when I returned from my trip, I had an email from Delta waiting for me, asking me to rate my experience as it related to my delayed flight. They were reaching out to ask for my opinion, and about a negative issue no less.

Though the questions in the survey were mostly meaningless to me and not necessarily actionable for Delta (“Did airline staff alert you in a timely fashion about your delayed flight?”), they did include a comment box so I could elaborate on my issue, which I did.

I still have very little confidence that my complaints to Delta will do anything to reduce future delays in and out of JFK Airport, but at least I feel like they’re trying and I don’t take that for granted.

In the meantime, I’ll hold my breath and wait for the MTA to contact me about whether I prefer a one- or three-line system at the Metrocard machines.

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