Love a good natter.

An accolade for Arriva. They’re had a rethink and in a turnaround of customer service contact policy reinstated the 0345 phone line on their website. Never let it be said blogging isn’t worth it. Well done and thanks Arriva. Now it’s just all the other stuff to sort!

After this success, I thought it might be interesting to see how Stagecoach, First Group, National Express and Go-Ahead encourage customer contact.

Stagecoach have a ‘Help & Contact’ on their generic webpage which brings up a full page ‘How do I contact my local Stagecoach office?’ and the usual Stagecoach ability to change area. Clicking on head office and ticket enquiries brings up a full menu which includes switchboards and even local bus garage telephone numbers. Now that is impressive. Well done Stagecoach. It shows what can be done for a Group keen on corporate identity but with local operational teams. You’d feel completely reassured by talking to someone based locally about your enquiry.

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Here’s an example for the vast Northern Scotland area which even includes the depot phone number for Portree. And it’s a very friendly person answering the phone there too.

First Bus similarly have a generic corporate webpage with localised pages but the ‘Help and Support’ tab takes you to a page showing an 0345 number and its operating hours.

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Clicking on one of the options below, doesn’t take you much further. In fact misleadingly there are a list of headings you’d think would open up more information by clicking on the downward arrow on the right hand side; but none of them are active. All very typical First Bus; half a job done.

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It’s not so good at National Express West Midlands where you have two options either Tweet them or fill in a form! Yes; that’s it. So if you’re not on Twitter; and you’re not a great online form filling addict err, other than sending a letter your contact options are … no contact. No plaudits for NatEx (and it’s excatly the same for their Dundee offshoot) – please follow Arriva’s example and have a bit of a rethink.

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Except… if you go to the National Express Group plc website where serious investors are directed, you’ll find a page full of contact details for all NatEx’s operations from coaches (only a costly 0871 number for coach customers) through Alsa in Spain, even Bahrain and North America are listed as is UK Bus…..

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… with a standard Birmingham 0121 number. Yeah! Loved option 3 on the answer menu when I called which intriguingly is :”Press 3 for Revenue Protection” 😃.

And then there’s the Go-Ahead Group. Not surprisingly for a Group that understands buses are a local issue with locally based managing directors running local companies with local branding, it’s straightforward to click on a “contact us” page and quickly and easily find a locally based telephone contact number to talk to someone who knows their local area. That is how to do it.

A similar set up applies to Transdev Blazefield albeit with a few extra click arounds to get to the locally branded operations in Harrogate, Keighley, Burnley etc, but all head up their pages with the contact phone number top of the list. So big tick for that.

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Top marks also for TrentBarton…..

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Love the “we love a good natter…” intro. Friendly and welcoming.

Plaudits also for the municipal owned sector with the usuals in Reading, Nottingham, Lothian and Cardiff all doing well to tell you how to contact them.

So plenty of examples out there for those that are not doing so well and want to see how to do it. Please do.

Roger French        17th August 2018

3 thoughts on “Love a good natter.

  1. I asked NXWM to post me some printed information on their South Birmingham change. I filled in the online form, but forgot to put my address on, but had put my phone number on (could have been awkward, working in the industry, it was my office phone!). They replied within the hour by phone, then an email, and it arrived two days later. I think that deserves a good write up, especially when you regard Arriva (request sent by email – nothing) or First (why do you want printed timetables? – oh, I don’t know, maybe I want to catch the bus? – nah, we’re not going to post them out, as it would cost a lot!). Stagecoach is normally very good at dealing with email requests.

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