>For about a year now my local train company have been doing this thing where they take a random sample of booked assistance and ring afterwards to see how it went and if you have any comments. And as a regular traveler I’ve had many of those calls.
When you book they have this huge spiel they have to go through about how you need to “arrive at the station at X time for the train at Y and make yourself known to a member of station staff” etc etc. And every single time they ask the type of assistance and when you say “ramps and a wheelchair space” they ask the type of wheelchair, the size and confirm that it’s not a scooter. oh and have you travelled before?
Plus they don’t hold personal details which means I have to give my name, my phone number and all of that information fresh everytime.
Some weeks I travel multiple times… it gets old.
I’ve gotten into the habit of answering the question “what assistance do you need?” with “ramps and a wheelchair space, it’s a standard size powerchair not a scooter and I’ve travelledwith it loads.” Some of the staff on the assistance line respond to that with comments like “I thought I recognised your name.” or a laughing “you’ve done this before.” and they skip parts of their spiel or just do it quickly with “know you know this but have to tell you…”
Others get a bit shirty and insist on asking each question again even though I’ve answered the question on the grounds that they “have to ask it.” Which I understand but they need to understand that I do this soooo often and it’s a frustration that I could do without.
So every time I get a call back I comment on the journey and I always say it would be so much easier for me if they would just give me some kind of customer reference number to quote and hold my details.
I got a call back today and after I commented on the journey she told me they have a new system and are now holding regular customers details. Finally.
She explained how it works – she had details of all the journeys I’ve done recently and the assistance I need and she checked all my details. Now I just call and tell them my name and when and where and unless I need anything different (like help carrying luggage if I go away for example or help to get a taxi) that’s it.
I know it’s stupid. But this is going to make travelling so much easier for me… because making the arrangements SHOULD now be a quick thing as opposed to 10 minutes of crap I’ve heard thousands of times before and having to give them all my personal details yet again.
Or at least, here’s hoping.