One of the best practices in a customer satisfaction process is to listen to users and report back to them what the organization heard and what will happen with the feedback the customers provided.
This article covers the continuing story of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and its problems with the riders and the perception of the public on the effectiveness of the management of public funds supporting the transit authority.
First a review of the story that has been unfolding over the past year. In earlier Blog posts, Customer Satisfaction: Good Idea, Bad Execution and How to handle Customer Satisfaction Issues: Public Forums, the Toronto transit commission was trying to overcome Transit rider discontent last year due to a fare hike, poor service, shortage of fare tokens and perceived lack of professionalism by transit ticket collectors photographed sleeping on the job at their posts. They organized public forums and solicited input from the public on the web, through signs on subway cars.
A Customer Service Advisory Council was formed as an independent panel aimed to examine the relationship between transit riders and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers, with the goal of improving the experience and satisfaction of TTC riders across the city. The Council gathered the feedback from the community and published its findings in a report, which has been made public. The report contained 8 general focus areas, including 78 observations and associated recommendations.
Major Recommendation Focus Areas:
1. A Renewed focus on Customer Service including organization changes, new committees and better focus on the needs of the customer.
2. Communicating with Customers: ‘Some communications provide general information and assistance to customers, while others advise them of delays, emergencies, and other situations affecting service. Customers include: daily users, tourists, customers who speak little or no English, people with disabilities, and people from different cultures.’
3. Customers communicating with the TTC: ‘It is not always easy for customers to communicate with the TTC or have access to senior management.’
4. Internal Toronto Transit Commission Communications: This recommendation deals with improvements in the TTC’s internal communications, particularly with frontline employees.
5. TTC Employees. TTC Employees need better training and support.
6. Fare Media and Payment Systems: There were many issues dealing with fare media (tokens, tickets, day passes, monthly passes etc) and purchasing/payment systems.
7. TTC “Spaces”, Volunteers and Communities: ‘Often, TTC “spaces” — such as subway and bus stations — exist in isolation from the communities of which they are a part. Torontonians do not have a sense of ownership over these TTC spaces.’
8. Responsibilities of the TTC and its Customers: TTC employees need to understand their roles and responsibilities to provide the highest levels of service. Customers needs to do their part to improve customer service too.
What is interesting is the commentary in the executive report which implies that nothing may be done with the report as many of the recommendations will increase costs. Here’s a direct quote.
‘Some can be attended to right away, while others will demand much attention and take months or years to implement. Some are inexpensive, while others will demand high levels of funding and allocation of resources. The implementation of many (if not most) of the recommendations contained in this report will require significant operating or capital expenditures and workforce increases.’
While this statement is realistic and is probably all the council could say, the message I get from it is ‘We heard you, but we are not sure anything can or will be done with it’. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Toronto Transit Commission. It will be interesting to see the outcome.