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Customer service. As it should be done

I travelled back from London recently on the 2.30pm from Euston. It was due into Glasgow at 7.15pm and I was looking forward to getting home and relaxing after a couple of busy days.

I have to admit to being a bit pissed off when we sat at Preston for an hour and a half, having been told that there was a problem with the line north of Carlisle. My pissed-offness was tempered by the fact that I was halfway through the most recent season of 24 and so I was quite relaxed as I watched Keifer Sutherland get rid of an incredible amount of double agents and rogue agents and terrorists as he fought to save his ex-girlfriend’s dad, the President.

My frustration increased when we discovered that we would have to leave the train at Carlisle and finish our journey by coach.

Things took a turn for the better as we were informed halfway to Carlisle that the problem had been resolved and we going all the way to Glasgow Central by train. Great news, especially as I was running out of power and was becoming reliant on the train’s electricity as 24 rumbled on to its inevitable conclusion, which I won’t reference in case you haven’t seen this series yet.

We arrived at Glasgow around 75 minutes late and as we left the train I was handed a leaflet telling me how to claim compensation.

I got up the next morning and decided to give it a go. According to the leaflet I was entitled to 100% of the cost of the single journey from London to Glasgow since we had been delayed by between 60 and 120 minutes. I duly completed the form on-line, scanning and attaching a copy of my tickets as requested.

I would have to confess that my cynical head told me I had missed something in the small print and that Virgin would find an excuse to write to me in a month or so to tell me that my claim had been unsuccessful because I was on the wrong train, or had been sitting in the wrong coach, or was wearing the wrong size of shoes.

Imagine my surprise when I received a letter the next day – yep, 24 hours later – with an apology and travel vouchers for £67, representing half the cost of my journey.

What a fantastic turnaround time. What a great service.

Great customer service is possible if you want to do it!

The other train operators could learn some lessons from this.


2 Responses to Customer service. As it should be done

  • Alan says:

    This happened to me a few times when I was commuting to Birmingham. Depending on how late the train is you can get your half or full refund on your single fare or even the return fare refunded in vouchers. I built them up and used them to treat my wife and I to return tickets to London (first class of course). When the train ran late I had a smile to myself as I knew I was building up my little stock – reduced my frustration ne end!

  • Ella Kiddie says:

    We had return tickets to Birmingham but we’re delayed at Dunbar by a break down ahead, then held up at Newcastle. Arrived 3 hours late. Return journey to kirkcaldy was uneventful. Because we had return tickets, we both got full refunds for the whole journey. This was with East Coast.

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