Ticket Turmoil

How many train tickets does an adult travelling with her two children require to make a return journey from Bristol to Shrewsbury? Not a question to which you will have given much thought I shouldn’t imagine. I certainly hadn’t. Not until I came to pick them up that is and the machine spewed out NINETEEN tickets! That’s right – nineteen! There appears to be a ticket that covers the entire outbound journey, and one for the return, and separate ones for each leg of the journey – we need to change at Newport. The seat reservations naturally require separate tickets and then there is a credit card receipt.

The stack of tickets form a wedge almost as big as a deck of cards! The inefficiency of this is baffling; the possibility of human error managing this unwieldy collection worryingly high. Surely, only the scarily organised would be able to navigate this journey with ease. If I manage to keep hold of them all for the duration and not feed any seat reservation tickets into the machines at the barriers I will be pleased.

I cannot be the only one to be bemused and irritated at this lack of common sense. Who benefits from this method? Certainly not the customer! And one can only assume that rail staff are frequently inconvenienced with the customer confusion and error that must regularly ensue from such an ineffectual system.

I am sure everybody could cite many other examples of methods of service delivery that fail customers and staff alike. Every organisation makes mistakes. That is understandable. If the organisation continues to repeat the same mistakes, however, customers are left dissatisfied and employees frustrated.

Collating customer and employee feedback and acting on this feedback to improve processes and service delivery will benefit your entire organisation. Don’t accept systems that are failing and strive to create an organisation where the channels of communication are open and problems can be addressed rather than accepted. Changing broken and ineffective systems may seem like an unattainable goal but will pay dividends going forward.