There is no business that has a more direct exposure to customers than the transportation industry. People depend on a reliable public transportation system to get to and from work. This is central to their everyday living, and as such, the demands for this sector are greater than for any other industry. For many, providing dependable transportation services to the masses is the most basic service a private or government-run company can do.
Solve the Problem
Before addressing customer concerns, you must first identify the problems and commit to resolving them. Too many companies and businesses are too concerned about saving their reputations that they resort to blaming others rather than solve the problems themselves. If the problem originated from a previous leadership, does that mean it is not your problem anymore?
This was what Singapore’s former civil service head Peter Ho said of the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) woes in the country. Three years ago, he lauded SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming for resigning from his post as chief executive of Temasek unit Pavilion Energy to focus on the problems that beset the transit system. Mr. Ho called it the “problem-solving culture.”
Get the Appointed Department Ready
Many companies have a customer service department purely for aesthetic purposes. This means that the department doesn’t function the way it should. One of the things that Mr. Seah did when he took over the chairmanship of the SMRT was to create a new chief commuter engagement officer. The role of this office was to receive feedback and improve passenger service.
After receiving feedback from the passengers, the team prepares an analysis of each concern raised to them. Such reliable information will help the transportation industry understand what the passengers need. They can address the problems with solutions that are tailor-fit for the problems raised.
Lead the Way
Great customer service starts from the top. Mr. Seah, for example, didn’t stop with the appointment of a passenger-focused role. He went out of his way to talk with MRT passengers. He rode the trains to experience first-hand what it was like. This gave him an insight into the problems the passengers encounter every day.
That’s what’s missing in public transportation sectors around the world. There is a need for its leaders to understand where the general public is coming from with their concerns and issues. The industry leaders themselves should experience what the passengers go through every day.
Use Technology Smartly
Software and programs will enhance the capabilities of the employees to provide a higher level of customer service. They will be able to analyze the issues, concerns, and data they have collected from the customers. They can use these to identify the exact points of concern in the transportation system. Aside from this, they can also use social media to reach out to passengers, find out about their concerns, and learn of their demands.
A customer relation management software (CRM) will allow employees to track, monitor, and analyze customer information. This will help them identify the problems encountered at different intervals of the operations of the public vehicles. They need this information to come up with better solutions to the said problems.
Empower Frontline Staff
Most customer service problems can easily be addressed right when it happens. If there is a delay in the train, the driver-on-duty should be able to give customer credits. The frontline staff needs to have the ability to address the customers’ concerns. At the very least, they should have a direct supervisor to contact when they cannot handle the complaints on their own. The simple issuance of a mobile phone to drivers will allow them to provide customer support on the spot.
Train Employees to Provide Support
Remember to educate and train employees on how to provide customer support. When you hire employees, make sure that training them about customer service is part of the onboarding process. But it doesn’t stop there. They should also receive continuous training on how to deal with customers and how to address their needs. Employees must realize that every customer’s concern is valid.
They should also follow a culture of maintaining a friendly demeanor to customers. They must be considerate to customers at all times. Yes, that includes the times when some customers can be unreasonable.
The success of the transportation industry relies heavily on how dependable their services are. But more than that, it should be ready to provide the best customer service as this is part and parcel of being in this industry. Great customer support will establish the company’s reputation and professionalism.