In August I was travelling from my home in Alsager to London and I had to be there mid-morning. So the night I stopped off at the Virgin run ticket office at Crewe Station to buy my tickets. On the way back I wanted to drop in on a business associate in Crewe, so I was looking to get tickets from Crewe to London but I would actually get on the initial trip in Alsager.
Just to check when buying the tickets I must have asked at least three times “does the train go through Alsager?” Embarrassing as it is to admit it, I asked the wrong question. This became apparent even to me when the 6.52am did go through Alsager – at 40mph and they did not even open the doors to give me a fair chance.
I took the next train to Stoke and was told that my vastly overpriced ticket was invalid – the ticket operator did however let me off when I explained the story.
No such luck when I reached Stoke, I had to pay another £80 for a ticket to London and told that I did not have a chance in hell of getting any money back as the change to the trains was an “improvement” that had happened in May.
So what blindingly obvious lessons did I learn from this?
- Questions need to be precise and unambiguous (after 15 years in the trade I should have know this)
- Phrasing of an issue matters – this is why I now talk about marketing and sales since this is how the customer sees it and if you
- Information is pointless unless it is provided to the right people at the right time.
I also found out who are the people with more money than sense who travel on Virgin Trains.