Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Customer service without sarcasm

I'm going to take a gander that the regular cast of characters working their day jobs as station supervisors and fare collectors at the Union TTC station absolutely hate Presto and don't like working with the public. I was going to throw the f-bomb in that sentence for emphasis but I have a classy transportation blog that links to my site occasionally and I should respect their editorial etiquette.

Presto is slow. Presto causes massive line-ups. It doesn't help that there are only two entrances into the station from the GO Concourse, due to the construction, which I know adds to the chaos. Coupled with only four Presto machines and narrow stairwells, the crowds become too large for a space that  is already maxed at the seams.

Tempers flare but it's not the commuters'. It's the TTC employees'. And they're taking it out on the public.

I have observed, over the past several months, an escalation in the delivery of bad customer service that is completely and utterly unacceptable.

Yelling at customers. Barking at customers. Being confrontational. Ignoring people. Scoffing at people who ask for directions. Ridiculous.

And the sarcasm!

For example, this morning, the crowd trying to make their way down what I believe is the center stairwell to the subway platform was told, in a voice dripping with disdain and sarcasm by a floor supervisor (I'm guessing, I have no idea who anyone is, none of the TTC employees wear badges identifying their roles which would help the public in understanding what they do.)  "You'd be surprised to learn there is another stairwell at the other end of the station."

The hell?  "You'd be surprised"?!

Who trains these people? What the hell kind of customer service direction is that?

So I called him out on it and he didn't like it. Not one bit.

I said, just as sarcastically, "You mean that stairwell over there behind those pillars and elevator that people might not see and might not know about? How about you tell people nicely where there should go? No need to be rude."

He said, in a voice all cocky, "Oh, I'm sorry ma'am. Did I hurt your feelings?"


The hell???

A woman standing near me called him an "ass" and told me he's "rude like this" everyday.

I told her that name calling only makes an already bad situation worse. What's needed is better training.

Dealing with thousands of people isn't easy. I understand that but you know what makes a bad situation better? A smile and a pleasant manner.

Instead of customer service with sarcasm how about customer service with courtesy? For example, "Good morning folks! (Big smile.) There is another stairwell you can use right behind me. I know you all want to get to work but if you could please spread out to help cut back on the crowding, I'd really appreciate it."

Give it a shot, m'kay? It's what you're paid to do.


Anonymous said...

Kinnear and Stintz? Are you listening?

Harith said...

Well, to be fair, a lot of people act like lemmings that herd towards one spot and don't even try to look for alternate ways.

It's like how everyone goes for the one door even though there's 5 others - and you know why? Because the one door is open and being held open as people pass through.

But see, you created a blog that is all sarcastic and mean-spirited about the idiots we see on the GO. The TTC folks encounter plenty of idiots all day long so they just take it out on everyone.

FRED said...

CJ doesn't get paid so she can call out the GO train nonsense all she wants.
She's also not representing anyone.
She's not in customer service, either.

C.J. Smith said...

That's true, people are creatures of habit. I know what's driving the attitude but pleasant TTC employees are a rare breed these days.

ExGOnowTTC said...

As a TTC user, i have to say that yes those guys can be like that, but there are many many GO people who make the situation worse. The rudeness and attitude of some of those people coming from the GO train and going down those stairs can be downright shocking. I've had to *literally* push my way up whilst plastered to the railing and wall, all whilst getting you're worse than Hitler looks. Courtesy is a two-way street, and sadly there are TTC employees and commuters who think they're more important than everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Subway idiots come with the territory of the job. If they do not like that or can not handle it, then they can get a job somewhere else instead of taking out their frustration on the customers.

For GO Transit, I find one employee at the Hamilton GO Station's counter is extremely rude for no reason. If you take the Hamilton GO and purchase your tickets there, you may know who I am talking about. She has jumped down my throat several times for asking small questions about Presto. I avoid her like the plague.

dOxxxicle said...

Unfortunately, a significant percentage of TTC employees who come into contact with the general public are not really trained for it. So when you get the moronic masses all crowding the streetcar that's stopped, trying to cram themselves in when there's another empty streetcar 30 seconds away, I can kinda understand how the frustration can get too much after a while.

That said, there are some utter douchebags in the TTC though.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah ..don't you people have better things to do than complaint about GO and TTC are NOT perfect and neither are them...get a life and volunteer or something..There are a lot more rude people taking the GO/TTC than rude employees...stop your crying!!

GO Employee

Anonymous said...

Watch an employee say that to a customer at a McDonalds and get fired.

I'd hate to bring the whole union thing in, but the TTC seems to have a very lax corporate culture among employees.

Most of the GO employees I've encountered have been quite polite. One gets the odd bad apple here and there...

C.J. Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C.J. Smith said...

The TTC does have some great employees. Truthfully, I've only encountered an handful over the years. GO Transit has some fantastic bus drivers and CSRs. Could be the caliber of the clientele or just better training.

Skin Man said...

There is one ticket agent at the Aldershot Go station, who is the absolute best! I think her name is Leanne. Long brown hair, always has the morning shift.

She is beyond polite; always helpfu; and mindful of the time and tries to process transaction at a break neck pace to ensure people make thier trains.

This past summer I was taking a train with my son to catch a flight at Billy Bishop airport. The 6:27 was seriously delayed so we got off the train and booked it to the car and drove in. Thank gawd it was summer! I didn't have time to try and get a refund for his ticket, (but I did cancel my Presto ride). She noticed me heading out, and was going to try and catch me to refund my son's ticket but could tell I was in a rush. So when I came to see her about a week later, as I walked up to the booth, she started processing the refund before I could even say hello!

....and she kinda hot!

Squiggles said...

Ajax has a male ticket agent that always gets a smile outta me, no matter what time of the day. He is one of the best agents I have seen/experienced. Other operators can definitely take a lesson about customer service from him.

Mark Dowling said...

Sounds like an incident squarely in this guy's raison d'etre

Anonymous said...

Could be because more upscale hotties ride the GO. Oh sure, there's some on the TTC, but they're downmarket.

Anonymous said...

Ive worked in customer service at big companies like these...If you have a good or bad experiences with a specific person, write customer care and tell them! Its not enough to bitch about generally rude behaviour-the system is too large to do something specific about it.

But if you point out that someone has made a bad (or great) impression on you, it goes on record. People need to be blamed or credited for their work.

blindwheels said...

ok, the one in Hamilton, yeah, "BITCH!!" Total utter BITCH, she has ripped apart someone with a guide dog, cause it accidentally peed on the floor on a wickedly cold day last winter, in a station so dirty that youd not want to touch a railing ANYWHERE!!
At one time, for about 33yrs there was this AMAZING GO Transit ticket guy there, name was Pat.. just a real sweetie, along with a driver that ALWAYS did the Lakeshore runs outta Hammer, Paul R, miss him like crazy!

TTC have a lot of good ppl, I've seen that first hand, but the constant abuse of ass*ole passengers & the stress & under staffed atmosphere in Union Subway stn, is mind blowing & really grinds people's personality down, once long ago they were nice, but the constant crap, is just turned them into an empty unhappy husk of a person, just counting down the days till retirement....
If your there C.J in the A.M, there is a great Station Manager, he's really Tall & hes got a big voice, glasses & is kinda chunky...
Say hi, he is a sweetie & is really amazing at his job.. He's also from N.S...