A lesson in customer service

An extract from Alexander Pemberton's Diary, in the current issue of Bus & Coach Professional, shows the industry still has a lot to learn...
Monday was clearly my day for experiencing staff change overs. The good one first. A Sainsbury’s Local supermarket. A line of six tills at the check-out. I approach the first manned till, behind which there are two assistants, apparently involved in a shift change. One looks up, says: “End till, please” and the other rushes off to the end till, apologises for keeping me waiting and as he gives me my change wishes me a nice day. I leave feeling good about Sainsbury's and like a valued customer, even if my spend had been less than a pound on a bottle of water.

Earlier I had decided to travel home by bus while my car was being serviced, rather than take a loan car. The bus arrived at the bus station, and there was a crew change. The temperature is 4degC, and there’s a strong biting wind. Does the incoming driver take the fares of the dozen waiting passengers so they don’t have to stand in the cold? No way. The new driver arrives. The doors close – always a welcoming gesture. He takes off his jacket. He sits down. He adjusts the seat. Up a bit... a bit more... down a bit... OK, he’ll let us on now. no. He adjusts the steering wheel. Now? Can we get on now? No, the seat needs to be adjusted again. Right, surely now. Can we get on now? no. The electric mirrors. Off- side. Zzzzt. Zzzzt, zzzzt. Near- side. Zzzzt. Zzzzt. Then the ticket machine gets some attention. I’m totally supportive of any bus driver making sure his driving position is safe and comfortable. But would it be too much to expect him to let his customers on first?

The message I come away with? Sainsbury’s cares. The bus company – and I’ll spare them their blushes - doesn’t give a stuff.