As a result of working in marketing I can’t help but look at other company’s campaigns. I also take a keen interest in the customer service offered by my competitors and by those who are providing a service and product to me as an individual.
Sometimes all I can do is ask myself, “Why?”
For example did the marketing department genuinely think that the “More Than Freeman” campaign was a good idea, or did their ad agency win a £10 bet made in the pub before the pitch. Is the Go Compare Opera Singer meant to make people dive for the mute button, or compel people to stick their foot through the TV set in anger?
And are some of the things that ScotRail get up to as a result of unrivaled incompetence, or are they genuinely trying very hard to deliberately wind up their customers? Here is an example of ScotRail’s poor service.
There I was waiting for the busiest of the day’s trains from Edinburgh to Musselburgh (final destination North Berwick), and I was dismayed to see a puny two carriage train trundle onto a platform already overflowing with more than enough people to fill the usual four carriage unit.
The passengers half heartedly start to squeeze into the smaller train, whilst the cyclists look on in resigned despair. The guard then comes on in a surprisingly friendly (for ScotRail) voice to encourage us to, “Move down inside the coaches and let everyone on.”
Cue a bit more determined shuffling and I find my face getting very close to the armpit of the guy shoehorned in next to me on my left and the ponytail of the girl crammed in on my right.
Still friendly, but now a bit more insistent the guard then says, “Everyone, I really need you to try and move further into the train to let as many passengers as possible on board.” He obviously meant business so we all took a deeper breath and sucked in our abs and acted like sardines.
This still wasn’t enough for him. “Ladies and Gentlemen. Now there is not enough room for me. If I can’t get on board then, by law this train can’t go anywhere, so please squeeze up a little more so that I can get in.”
As I could not see anything but ponytail and armpit I wondered whether this guard was as fat as the Go Compare Opera Singer, but duly did as requested and found another inch of in-breathe.
All then seemed fine. The guard was successfully aboard. Now perhaps we could be on our way? There then followed one of those long periods ScotRail are famous for where nothing happens and no one tells you anything. After a good 10 minutes of increasingly sweaty confinement, the guard came back on the tannoy a little less cheerful than before to announce, “The train is now over laden, and I need to ask some of you to get off the train to make it lighter.”
Having already obliged by compacting themselves into an already tiny space most seemed unwilling, or more likely, unable to comply.
The guard’s final announcement would have made everyone laugh out loud if they had been able to exhale enough to do so. “Ladies and Gentlemen the train is so overcrowded that we have decided that it will now only go direct to North Berwick and will not stop at Musselburgh, Wallyford, Prestonpans, Longniddry and Drem. If you want to travel to one of these destinations please remove yourself from the train immediately.”
This was followed by quite painful and rather personal scenes as the passengers disentangled themselves from the contortions they had already been subjected to.
So were ScotRail rehearsing for a slot on next year’s Comic Relief. Or were they doing a live run through of an new ScotRail Comedy Sketch Show? There’s no point writing to their customer service department to ask. All you ever get from them are insincere stock answers and a £5 voucher as compensation for them failing to meet their 7 day complaint response service level agreement.
As genuine compensation for my inconvenience, I would like the Chief Executive of ScotRail to be forced to watch 48 hours of non-stop Go Compare Opera Singer with the mute and channel switches out of reach.
I am More Than Fuming-man. Thank you for listening!