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framheim

First Scotrail

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here is a copy of a conversation i've been having with first scotrail's customer service department:

Train tickets booked for Wednesday 23rd

Hi

Yesterday i booked a return ticket from Aberdeen to perth on an early morning train returning at 4.37. I haven't received a confirmation email with my reference number for collecting my tickets. I did print off the confirmation page but there doesn't appear to be a reference number on it. Could you please confirm my reference number and send a confirmation email as i need to forward that to my work for expenses.

Thanks

David Officer

Response:

Dear Mr Officer

Thank you for your email dated 18 April 2008 regarding your on-line booking for your journey from Aberdeen to Perth on Wednesday 23 April 2008.

I regret that we are unable to view your on-line booking as we do not have access to the on-line booking system in this department. You should contact the outlet where you originally purchased your tickets. The telephone number for Web Aftersales is 0870 333 4873.

.

Thank you for contacting First ScotRail. Should there be anything else we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us. Should you need to reply to this email, please respond to scotrailcustomer.relations@firstgroup.com.

Yours sincerely

Lorna Davenport

Customer Relations Advisor

Now, I had already spoken to their online department who aside from interrupting me everytime i tried to speak, were very quick to deal with my problem and told me that i had to buy another ticket if there wasn't a reference number. This was after i'd gone to the station yesterday to pick up my tickets and was told that there was no record of it and that this happens quite often. The lady there suggested i check my bank balance and see if the payment had come off then return to purchase new tickets should it not have come off. So i sent this response:

Hi

After reading your response to my original query and having spoken to station staff at Aberdeen and phoned your helpline, I'm afraid I've come to the conclusion that your website and the procedures you have in place for dealing with issues arising from it are completely ineffectual and rubbish.

I think having a website on which you can buy tickets which then don't exist is a pretty redundant enterprise, even worse when you have a customer services department who aren't able to deal with any customer service related issues. I gather this happens fairly regularly according to the staff in the ticket office in Aberdeen. I was cheerfully told that the website selling phantom tickets keeps them in a job.

Anyway, thanks for taking 4 days to tell me you can't help. Though i'd imagine you are pretty busy given that your website just isn't fit for purpose.

David Officer

too harsh? having worked in retail for 10 years i hate poor service, and even worse is when people can't deal with complaints and fob you off to other departments. i think it's pretty stupid having a customer services department that you email from the website that can't deal with website customer service. bah.

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I had a similar thing happen with plane tickets recently. My connection dropped just as I pressed the purchase button and I had no way of knowing if it went through or not. So I tried phoning Thomas Cook and none of their departments could give me a definitive answer.

In the end I just waited to see if the money came off and when it didn't I bought them again. But you're right, there's no reasonable excuse for poor customer service these days. Customer Services should have access to the booking systems and be able to at least tell you about the booking you may or may not have made. And they should also be able to transfer you directly to any other department that you may have to speak to, rather than force you to call a premium rate phone number (a la Thomas Cook). Cunts.

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I had a similar thing happen with plane tickets recently. My connection dropped just as I pressed the purchase button and I had no way of knowing if it went through or not. So I tried phoning Thomas Cook and none of their departments could give me a definitive answer.

In the end I just waited to see if the money came off and when it didn't I bought them again. But you're right, there's no reasonable excuse for poor customer service these days. Customer Services should have access to the booking systems and be able to at least tell you about the booking you may or may not have made. And they should also be able to transfer you directly to any other department that you may have to speak to, rather than force you to call a premium rate phone number (a la Thomas Cook). Cunts.

the thing about this one is that my connection didn't drop or anything. as far as i knew the transaction went through smoothly. it was only when i took the booking confirmation page i'd printed off to the ticket office that i knew for certain it hadn't gone through.

our folks were telling me about thomas cook last night, sound like a bunch of robbers to me. they have to pay extra to sit together on the plane, madness.

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the thing about this one is that my connection didn't drop or anything. as far as i knew the transaction went through smoothly. it was only when i took the booking confirmation page i'd printed off to the ticket office that i knew for certain it hadn't gone through.

our folks were telling me about thomas cook last night, sound like a bunch of robbers to me. they have to pay extra to sit together on the plane, madness.

Yeah we had to do the same. Robbing bastards. Still worth it so I don't have to drive to and from Glasgow/Edinburgh to go on holiday. Much rather have the extra time in bed.

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To be honest, if a customer service person can't handle the use of the word "rubbish" in an email then they are in the wrong job.

I've worked in customer service for almost three years and have had enough personal attacks directed at me thanks to flaws in the company's system to say that there's nothing wrong with the email. It's not like you said "YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF F****** C***S" or anything.

Customer service representatives have to deal with some the biggest arseholes around on a daily basis, but there is absolutely no excuse for shitty service. As someone who considers himself to be pretty good at the job, I find the conduct of the Scotrail employees pretty embarassing. How much effort would it have taken them to call up the web aftersales department themselves? About a minute from their schedule...

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I just booked tickets for a return journey to Glasgow on the website and I had my confirmation email straight away. It's strange how this can happen.

I love how each department is quick to say that it isn't their problem!

But that email isn't harsh at all! If anything it wasn't harsh enough. It's probably been consigned to the delete mail now though. :)

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You're quite right, those Scotrail people are absolutely useless, I've had problems with them in the past. It seems that none of the departments communicate with one another and trying to get anything out of their "customer services representatives" at the train station (ie bitter, rude old battleaxes) is nigh on impossible. I was in Edinburgh recently and I bought an open ticket to Aberdeen, the person who sold me the ticket couldn't even tell me what time the next train was at!

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I would love to take the train every time I make a trip back to Glasgow, but the hassle of getting tickets and the rising cost puts me off... So I sacrifice an hour and some comfort and take the Megabus. Surely if tickets were cheaper, and rules were a bit more flexible First Scotrail could have something good going on.

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I would love to take the train every time I make a trip back to Glasgow, but the hassle of getting tickets and the rising cost puts me off... So I sacrifice an hour and some comfort and take the Megabus. Surely if tickets were cheaper, and rules were a bit more flexible First Scotrail could have something good going on.

If you book in advance a return to Glasgow is 20. Cheap as chips. I've left my booking for this weekend until yesterday and was billed the standard 40. I don't think it's that bad as I'd rather stab my own eye than enjoy the wonders of the megabus again.

I book my rail tickets through www.thetrainline.co.uk and have never had any issues to date :)

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Yeah, I'm going to Glasgow on Thursday on the train with the 20 ticket, which I am totally happy paying. I only booked mine on Saturday, however I can't get the train back that I wanted because the ticket isn't available so I'm having to wait until later at night.

The Megabus is ok if it's just me on my own. You know - ipod + book and the hope that no one sits next to me and I'll be fine.

Generally, the service provided by the staff in the stations is the problem. Going in and asking a simple question and not getting a suitable response is the main problem. How difficult is it to check on their system (which is just identical to the online booking one) and tell you train times and prices? I also think its good customer service to suggest alternatives i.e suggesting different times etc for cheaper tickets rather than - that's not available. Maybe they just dont get paid enough! Lol.

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I travel between Glasgow and Aberdeen every couple of weeks and normally manage to get the Saver Return thing for 20 pounds, but if for some reason it's not available you end up having to pay like 50 pounds, and they give you no reason why it's not available, even if you book well in advance.

I'd always assumed it was something to do with the train's being busy so they sold at full price, but the time's I've paid the full amount the trains have been dead.

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I travel between Glasgow and Aberdeen every couple of weeks and normally manage to get the Saver Return thing for 20 pounds, but if for some reason it's not available you end up having to pay like 50 pounds, and they give you no reason why it's not available, even if you book well in advance.

I'd always assumed it was something to do with the train's being busy so they sold at full price, but the time's I've paid the full amount the trains have been dead.

Yup!! That's exactly what I want to know... Surely it's best to have as many cheap seats as possible to fill it up. I understand the whole rush hour thing, but for the rest of it. It's just a bit rubbish!

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Having read all this I'm feeling lucky I managed to get a 20 quid return to Glasgow on Sunday (booking a few weeks in advance). I never use a website, as I don't have a credit card...cash-only for me.

t's my first visit for at least ten years, and I'm worried about razor gangs, or being sung at by Frankie Vaughan.

Last time I went my young son & myself ended up on a Belle & Sebastian record sleeve, without knowing about it for a few years.(We're in the background of one of the 'Dog on wheels' photos taken in the Botanic Gardens).

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Last time I went my young son & myself ended up on a Belle & Sebastian record sleeve, without knowing about it for a few years.(We're in the background of one of the 'Dog on wheels' photos taken in the Botanic Gardens).

I'm there all the time, and I've still not ended up in any B&S artwork, I feel robbed! I've been in the cafe from the Dear, Catastrophe Waitress cover quite a lot, but I'm still to see Stuart Murdoch eating spaghetti.

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That's probably a good thing:up:

I once had soup with Isobel Campbell. It wasn't Campbell's soup....'twas a lovely home-made broth.

You're on the Dog on Wheels artwork AND you had soup with Isobel Campbell?

My life is rubbish.....

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Having read all this I'm feeling lucky I managed to get a 20 quid return to Glasgow on Sunday (booking a few weeks in advance). I never use a website, as I don't have a credit card...cash-only for me.

t's my first visit for at least ten years, and I'm worried about razor gangs, or being sung at by Frankie Vaughan.

Last time I went my young son & myself ended up on a Belle & Sebastian record sleeve, without knowing about it for a few years.(We're in the background of one of the 'Dog on wheels' photos taken in the Botanic Gardens).

194.jpg

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here is a copy of a conversation i've been having with first scotrail's customer service department:

i hate poor service, and even worse is when people can't deal with complaints and fob you off to other departments. i think it's pretty stupid having a customer services department that you email from the website that can't deal with website customer service. bah.

I used to love fobbing people off and sending them to other departments or just hanging up on them when I worked for BT.

they were all cunts so I feel I was justified.

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I used to love fobbing people off and sending them to other departments or just hanging up on them when I worked for BT.

they were all cunts so I feel I was justified.

That's the most annoying thing ever... And if you go on the phone relatively calm and ready to face a computerised woman going "press number 1 for..." you end up enraged by the time you actually speak to someone. So in actual fact companies like BT etc have only got themselves to blame for getting customers irate.

I remember phoning someone once and listening to Good Charlotte (I think it was the Carling Academy) and also phoning somewhere else where Jack Johnson was playing... I think they were hopeful that his surfy tones would calm me! Didn't work! Lol.

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To be perfectly honest, speaking from experience, the majority of people who lodge complaints are idiots. A lot of people will lodge a complaint even if it was caused by their own ignorance/stupidity, and will then lodge a personal attack against you like it's your fault when you can't do anything about it. It is quite rare to get a complaint that is as polite (but to the point) and well-worded as Dave's here.

I work for Stagecoach part-time, which involves doing a bit of customer service for Megabus, and I've lost count of the amount of morons I've had the displeasure of dealing with. A classic example is people who have booked the wrong time online, and then try to put the blame on us. "I selected the right time, and your system put through the wrong one!" is my favourite, because that is absolutely impossible... and yet you still get people trying to convince you that them selecting the wrong date or time is your fault. It's ridiculous.

People will complain at anything; to make themselves feel better, to just have a go at someone, etc. I have a lot of time for somebody who comes to me with a complaint and conducts themselves in a polite and appropriate manner, but if you start to shout, swear and make ridiculous claims then you're not going to get very far.

In this case the Scotrail employees should be ashamed of the terrible service they have provided. In the time it took that person to type out that email, (s)he could quite easily have phoned up the relevant department and found out the information. It's just lazy.

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This is Scotrail stupidity for you,

I bought 3 return tickets to England using a family railcard (for 2 adults and a child). Everything was fine until the return journey.

We left our son at his Grandads and he was going to bring him back in the car the next day.

We couldn't use our return tickets because we didn't have the child present. I mean, we effectively saved them a seat!

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Yeah similar things have happened with the group saver ticket. A girl a work with, her mum was charged 38 single for a trip back from glasgow because one of the party decided to get a lift instead of the train. So they'd paid their 40 for the group ticket and then 2 of them had to pay the same again. It's ridiculous. Surely if you've got a ticket and the money has been paid then what's the big deal! Maybe it depends on the ticket inspector!!

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My personal experience so far has been that ScotRail/GNER isn't worth it, no matter how cheap it is... megabus all the way.

Every single time I have been on a train in the last 5 years there has been vast overcrowding, or a loud aggressive drunk, or some football hooligans terrorising young families, or offshore workers with a rapidly disappearing 12 pack of Tennants roaring into their phones in the silent carriage, or some other waste of space that has ensured that by the time I get off the train I'm ready to scream. My personal favourite was the woman who sat with me and my 2 colleagues at one of the tables and proceeded to have a 3 hour long screaming match with her boyfriend on her mobile, frequently hanging up on him only to phone back 30 seconds later asking why the hell he hadn't called her back immediately to receive more abuse! There are never any staff to witness any of this unreasonable behaviour either it would seem. On the megabus, which I have taken a lot more often, there has never been a single disturbance and I've hardly ever been late.

If the customer service is as bad as it seems as well, I'm going to try and never go near a train again.

There, that's my OAP rant for the day over :)

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