Monday, February 06, 2012

National Rail Enquiries - Stonewall for Southeastern


As you will appreciate from the graphic above, finding that the National Rail Enquiries couldn't answer a straight questions yesterday (see earlier post), about train services without giving the wrong answer, least not those posed by my family, or it seems anyone else, I thought I'd try again, having heard some real "porkies" yesterday.


National Rail Enquiries invites you and I to ask Lisa and from her photograph she looks helpful enough, so I thought I'd start by asking her Why can't you give honest reliable information about Southeastern trains?, as you'll see, above, she swerved the first question, answering one that hadn't been asked.


I asked a few more questions

Me
Shall I try and make it simple?
Lisa says:
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. Could you please rephrase it for me?


I find it easier to understand short sentences and keywords.


Me:
Why can't you give accurate information for Southeastern trains?
Lisa says: Nothing


Me:
If you don't know who does?
Lisa says:
I've been programmed with lots of information, so I hope I'm giving you the right answer.


Me:
Could I speak to your manager?
Lisa says:
I'm loading our Feedback page, which will point you in the right direction to let us or a Train Operating Company have your feedback.

Me:
cheers!
Lisa says:
It sounds like you want to pass some kind words of thanks to us about travelling by train. It's nice when someone goes out of their way to say a few kind words of praise about someone.

Me:
not really
Lisa says:
I'm struggling to grasp what you mean. It might help if you use just a few keywords to explain what you're trying to find out.

I have to say that the complacent and dare I say, contemptible attitude shown by the rail industry toward  consumers comes as no surprise and in reality I wonder if after nearly 20 years of privatisation anything has really changed since BR days, yes large heaps of money are being handed to commercial companies however they still seem to exude that public sector attitude of arrogance that somehow their doing us a favour and we the customer should be grateful for any service.

9 comments:

  1. Forgot the photo, there's a high chance that her skin is a little darker & she's wearing a sari... that's not meant as a racist comment (in case JW is watching), just that National Rail Enquiries is run from India, so the employees are attempting to give information on trains for a country that they've never even been to. Whenever I want rail travel information I go to the nice friendly person behind the counter at Margate Station & ask there. Far more reliable.

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  2. I don't think Tony's questions were clear either. Trying to convey a criticism - however justified - rather than ask a straightforward question is bound to confuse.

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  3. 8 51 I suspect you work for Southeastern what could be clearer "Why can't you give accurate information for Southeastern trains?

    Admittedly I was talking to a machine, however the serious point is this, four people asked independently if trains were running from Minster to St.Pancreas each were told that trains were running on time, this was not true, and it seems extraordinary in 2012 that Southeastern and National rail enquires couldn't answer a simple question.

    A legacy if you ask me of the state/public sector past.

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  4. Firstly, not everyone who disagrees with you has an angle, Tony, so stop with the paranoia. Secondly, the railways have been in private hands for many years now, so even you can't use them to make another of your anti-public sector jibes.

    If the private sector is so good, tell me, have you ever tried dealing with Sky, or Vodafone or any one of the other companies that routinely get slated for poor customer service?

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  5. Hi,

    I just came across your blog posts whilst reviewing comments over the last week or so.

    Firstly I'm sorry for the poor information you received about Southeastern's train service.

    Can you tell me a little bit more about how you tried to get this information - on the phone / via the website? Also when was this?

    Thanks

    Kathryn
    National Rail Enquiries

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  6. It would seem from the formatting of the answers that you have been talking to an ALICE aka a chat bot. Possibly this one could do with a significantly increased conversation set.

    Chat bots are fairly basic and amount to providing the maximum number of ways to get to the minimum number of answers. Good ones almost feel like a human being.

    I suspect that Kathryn Daniels did not pay very close attention to your blog post before snapping off her stock answer. Almost as bad as the simple bot you are having trouble with.

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  7. Good point Matt, It would help if Kathryn Daniels gave me her email address or indeed used her powers of observation to find mine on the web page. Still to make things easy assuming National Rail Enquiries give a toss tonyflaig@gmail.com

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  8. Whatever happened to Trudy's contacts? wasn't she going to contact the BBC and media whom she was going to contact about childrens services?

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