Happening Now

The Business with the Best Customer-Centric View Always Wins

December 5, 2018

By Carolyn Cokley - Rail Passengers Association

As frequent travelers, we all know that perception is as much a part of the customer experience as the actual customer experience itself and while we may have trouble remembering some of the actual details of an interaction, we will not soon forget how those details made us feel. A great actual and perceived customer experience comes down to three factors – success, effort, and emotion, and it is that emotion factor that prompts the most adverse letters and calls or negative reviews. In the Age of the Customer the business with the best documented customer experience is the one that is most likely to benefit from repeat and referral business.

I recently traveled on the Silver Star to Camden, SC and boarded with a larger than usual suitcase. I was given a seat in coach and my luggage was brought aboard. The attendant confirmed with me that the large suitcase was mine and determined that it could not easily be picked up and placed in the overhead. She kindly placed me in the front two seats of the coach, “so I would have enough room for all my luggage to remain next to me”. The seating did not have windows and caught all the light and noise of the car door frequently opening and closing. I initially regretted the move but realized that she was servicing the needs of a passenger and accommodating me in the best way she could. I was grateful. She made me feel valued and that was very important to me. I noted her name and sent it in for recognition.

Rail Passengers Association’s Passenger Experience Committee is currently finalizing a member Travel Review that will allow us to collect your station and on-board experience feedback after every Amtrak trip. This storehouse of comments, reactions and constructive criticisms will give us the opportunity to analyze and evaluate your passenger experiences and report out on travel trends impacting the national network as well as local transportation systems.

In his recent open letter to Amtrak's Board, Jim Mathews encouraged Amtrak’s leadership, “… to go further to modernize Amtrak’s rolling stock and to embrace a wholly customer-centric view.” The data collected through member Travel Reviews will further point Amtrak towards that vitally important customer-centric view and become a channel through which customers can raise our collective voices. Stay tuned for more information on the Rail Passengers Association Travel Reviews which is scheduled to roll out in January 2019.