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Inconsistent Service: A bigger problem than the food?

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PVD

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One of the huge problems with e-mail blasts is what is known as "the open rate" A very large percent of marketing/service e-mails, particularly ones you are not expecting, don't get opened and read.
 

basketmaker

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One of the huge problems with e-mail blasts is what is known as "the open rate" A very large percent of marketing/service e-mails, particularly ones you are not expecting, don't get opened and read.
Blasts are iffy. I always check the sender address before opening. Trash the ones that don't show the same related name to the subject line.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Blasts are iffy. I always check the sender address before opening. Trash the ones that don't show the same related name to the subject line.
Most email clients don't show the actual sender and those that do would typcially show a dead address or an incomprehensible mishmash of meta gibberish.
 

PVD

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Notwithstanding shadow, spoofed or known spam sources, e-mails from identifiable legit sources have relatively poor open rates. On the other hand, costs per send are low for someone with an already built platform.
 

Nick Farr

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Notwithstanding shadow, spoofed or known spam sources, e-mails from identifiable legit sources have relatively poor open rates. On the other hand, costs per send are low for someone with an already built platform.
That being said, if you bought a ticket and got a ticket confirmation, an "Update about your trip" e-mail usually makes it past the filter.
 

PVD

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It shouldn't be filtered, but having read comments on this site, a surprising number of people get caught off guard by things they were notified of, but never read....
 

Dakota 400

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Blasts are iffy. I always check the sender address before opening.
If I don't recognize the e-mail address, that e-mail will get deleted 99% of the time. I am very careful as to what e-mails I open that have links even with e-mail addresses that I recognize. As an AOL user, 10 years ago, I received what appeared to be an official "AOL" e-mail. I opened it, clicked a link, then got suspicious about what it was saying. I enlarged the e-mail and discovered in the upper left hand corner something written in the cyrillic alphabet. That led to a police report, a change in my AOL password, a cancellation of the credit card that paid for AOL charges, and notifications to the 3 credit bureaus and well as to my bank.
 

Dakota 400

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If you write your representative in Congress, the reply will appear to be from them in a lot of cases, but they'll have no idea who, when or what was sent. They might get a report.
I think you are correct. I wonder if they even get a report.

My Ohio House of Representatives member's office generates messages that are very generic response (the same one that I receive for any message I send him). I find such responses offensive. My Ohio State Senator on the other hand sends messages that are specific to the issue about which I e-mailed her. Unfortunately, my Senator is term limited at the end of 2020. My Representative is running to take her seat. Are you able to predict who will not be receiving my vote?
 

Dakota 400

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And I am one of the oddballs that does complete surveys. E-mail, online, telephone and USPS.
I don't complete all of the survey requests that I receive, but, I am more likely to do so during an election season when the survey has to do with the election. If I receive a survey request from a company whose products that I use or one that I patronize, I am very likely to complete that type of a survey.
 

lordsigma

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Can't remember if this is the thread where someone reported that crews were not allowing people to use the Sleeper Lounge on one of the Silvers. Currently sitting on train 43 during the endless Philly stop. While here I saw 91 come through the station. There were people sitting in the diner when the train went by so it would appear, at least that crew, was allowing folks to sit in the lounge. It would seem insane for them not to allow people because it sounded like social distancing is the whole reason they put the diners back on the Silvers.
 

Qapla

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sounded like social distancing is the whole reason they put the diners back on the Silvers.
The diner was only removed from the Star "as an experiment" - It was never removed from the Meteor

Of course, 91 is the Star so it is good to know they are allowing the use of the diner on that train
 

lordsigma

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The diner was only removed from the Star "as an experiment" - It was never removed from the Meteor

Of course, 91 is the Star so it is good to know they are allowing the use of the diner on that train
I was aware of that. I was referring to the recent removal of the diner from the Crescent/Meteor during COVID and the subsequent restoration of the diner to the new standard Star/Meteor alternating daily consist which occured when they went to the current schedule.
 

MARC Rider

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This was my experience UNTIL COVID. Being told by one LSA on a return trip that if I wanted to eat, I'd have to eat in the diner crossed the line as far as bad service goes for me.
OK, wow. That's bad, especially considering the whole point of the reduced level of service because of COVID. They should be encouraging people to eat in their rooms. I hope you sent off a complaint letter to whoever it is that you send off complaint letters, ("customer relations," "customer service," or even the CEO of Amtrak.)
 

MARC Rider

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I'm definitely a fan of UBI:

1) It allows time/space for people to contemplate their next career and develop skills in something they're passionate about and will do because it is rewarding. This increases aggregate productivity.
2) It gets people who really don't want to work out of the workforce. There's lots of people that skip from job to job for lack of an alternative and/or increase labor costs for everyone through frivolous disability claims simply to avoid working. This brings down aggregate productivity.
3) UBI money goes directly into local economies that create and sustain jobs.
4) UBI forces higher wages--which pushes money back into local economies instead of into stock buybacks and other tax havens for Billionaires.

That being said, are you saying that there aren't other jobs available? That high unemployment is a good excuse for anyone to have a bad attitude in their job?
What I meant was that even if your job is not the best fit for someone (which might be why so someone has a "bad attitude"), it's still a job and (in the absence of UBI) pays the bills. And for many people, finding a new job, especially one that's a good fit, isn't all that easy. I know it's not easy for me, which is why I spent a 40 year career only working for 2 different employers, both of whom were government agencies. Some people have personalities such that they can find new jobs at the drop of a hat, others have more trouble. But everybody needs to work, even if the job they have isn't a good fit. What's the alternative?

By the way, I highly recommend reading Bertrand Russell's 1932 essay, "In Praise of Idleness." Despite its age, it has a lot of points that are still relevant.

Another good book to read is Bullsh#t Jobs. Alas, the author, David Graeber, just died a couple of days ago. While most OBS is more like a "sh#t" job than a "bullsh#t" job, there's probably lots of the latter at Amtrak HQ. Graeber's analysis of the psychological stress our management culture puts on even well paid people with fancy titles (not to mention those who aren't so well paid) may explain why so many employees of all types have "bad attitudes."
 

MARC Rider

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To be quite honest, I'm not sure you've ever had really good service with which to compare it.
Actually, any kind of "really good service" would make me uncomfortable. I once read an essay by Michael Korda in a certain men's magazine that I can assure you I perused only for the articles :) called "Service Without a Smile." As I recall, Korda's point was that superior service is done so unobtrusively, the recipient doesn't realize it's been done. However, I got the impression that there was a subtext in which the working-class service providers have some contempt for the people they serve, though, of course they stifle it, being that they want to keep their jobs. I sort of imagined Jeeves laughing behind Bertie Wooster's back. even if he did provide Bertie exceptional service.

Anyway, you don't need to have somebody constantly at your beck and call during an overnight train ride.
 
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PVD

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I agree, the amtrak e-mails would likely make it through the spam filters. My issue, which I have already stated, is that once people have their tickets and recipts, they are not diligent about opening updates, particularly if they are already on the road. That might be a real problem for return trips when people are already on the road.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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Actually, any kind of "really good service" would make me uncomfortable. I once read an essay by Michael Korda in a certain men's magazine that I can assure you I perused only for the articles :) called "Service Without a Smile." As I recall, Korda's point was that superior service is done so unobtrusively, the recipient doesn't realize it's been done. However, I got the impression that there was a subtext in which the working-class service providers have some contempt for the people they serve, though, of course they stifle it, being that they want to keep their jobs. I sort of imagined Jeeves laughing behind Bertie Wooster's back. even if he did provide Bertie exceptional service.

Anyway, you don't need to have somebody constantly at your beck and call during an overnight train ride.
I don't know why, but this reminds me of a Customer Service seminar my employer set up, bringing in an outside speaker, to talk with us. Here is one of their stories.

Kodak made really crappy copiers. The worse ever. They broke down all the time. Kodak, to address this image, had all their repair people get up early every morning, and home bake cakes, pies, brownies, cupcakes, to bring with them, on a repair call. Their customers got use to this; at least their workers did. So, instead of "darn it, that worthless copier is broken again", it was "yea, that nice copier repair guy is coming to visit with us again. I wonder what delicious goodies he will bring us this time?"

The result was that Kodak's crappy copiers were ranked #1 by their customers.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
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You wanna solve customer service problems everywhere? Dissolve the unions and make wages and bonuses service dependent.

Assuming thats not possible - and it isn't with a government corporation like Amtrak - start hiring for attitude. Just like Southwest Air used to. Hire people excited about working on the railroad. Hire rail fans. Hire people people. Hire for attitude, train for competency.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
Messages
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If the standards manual is very good and detailed as to what service is to be provided, then such ought to be followed by all service employees to the best of their ability.

How to do so: my suggestions---

#1: All service employees are required to attend paid in-service instructional seminars regarding the Service Manual at their crew base on a regular basis. Maybe, once per year?

#2: The position of On-board Service Chief be re-established with the needed authority to insure that passengers are receiving the service for which they paid.

#3: Post-trip e-mail surveys sent to guests who have provided their e-mail addresses with encouragement to mention those crew members who met/exceeded the expectations of the guest as well as those crew members who need a "refresher" course in the Standards Manual.
If all of a sudden everyone knew what the service standards are, and what amenities are supposed to be available, then the SCA would have to deliver on those. I've traveled on three or four over night trains - I've gotten decent service on ONE of those trips and it was a totally intracalifornia trip from LAX to SAC.

We even had an SCA who vanished every evening of a three night trip on the Chief from 7p - 10p. Said it was his scheduled time off. That worked out well in the sleeping car. He got $5 when I left - and I told him that if he'd actually been available to make up the cabin he'd have gotten four times that from both of us but at least he left the messy coffee station set up all day.
 
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