Nearly three years ago the law changed to prohibit the use of 0845 numbers for customer service lines; and nearly two years ago OFCOM changed its regulations to require a business using 0845 numbers for any other purpose to specify its service charge and warn about access charges wherever it advertises or communicates the phone number.
However recent checks at Sevenoaks and Knockholt have shown continued, multiple, uses of 0845 numbers in breach both of the Consumer Regulations and the OFCOM conditions.
The ticket vending machine at Bat & Ball has been out of service for the last few days.
The “Out of Service” screen simply says that. Since it’s a programmable screen, it could have been specified to say anything. An organisation concerned with customer service might have asked the programmers to code the screen with:
- an apology – “We’re sorry that this machine is out of order“
- an explanation – “This is because ...”
- a confirmation that action is being taken – “It’s been reported and we’re working on it” (surely Southeastern have remote monitoring of their TVMs?!)
- information about what to do instead – “You can start your journey without a ticket, but please buy a ticket at the first opportunity on the train or at another station“.
Southeastern have done none of this. All machines fail from time to time, and Southeastern should have thought through what the customer needs to know then. Here they’ve shown a lack of customer focus and a lack of priority to customer communication and customer information.
The National Audit Office have published the results of their investigation into the South East Flexible Ticketing programme, of which Southeastern’s “Key” is part. It’s not good reading for the Department for Transport, or for the rail industry more generally. At least £120m has been spent since 2006, and it has not delivered its main objectives. Continue reading
We’ve been watching for the conversion of car park and rail ticket machines to accept the new £1 coin. First we were told the machines had been converted; then that they would be converted by October; and now it appears that they could be removed altogether – without any consultation and seemingly without any publicity.
In a number of recent presentations Network Rail have flashed a diagram that they call the “Galaxy Plan”. It’s been up for only a few seconds and the print has been too small to read. But we’ve used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a copy, and we’ve been exploring. Continue reading
There are a lot of engineering works over the Easter period affecting Sevenoaks. If you were thinking of taking the train, either towards London or towards the coast, you will need to plan your journey carefully and allow time for less frequent services and for diversions. Continue reading