February 22, 2010
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor
Too often, we as customers are left shaking our collective head at the state of customer service offered by companies purporting to serve us.
A perfect example is the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) that has long held the belief that it is “the better way” to travel within the City, but until recently, hasn’t actually asked the people who utilize their service whether or not that statement is true.
I’ve been riding the rails since I was four-years-old and have noticed an erosion not only of the transportation service—perhaps expected seeing as how the city has grown since I began riding in the ‘60s—but, also through the attitude of the people who are the face of the TTC—it’s workers.
When I was four, a subway driver allowed me to place my hand atop the speed control to “drive the train” into the then end-of-the-line Islington station. Relax… the driver had full control. He didn’t have to do this, as it was probably against Union rules, but he knew it would make a little kid very happy.
And I am a pretty happy-go-lucky guy and always say hello and please and thank-you to the bus drivers and folks selling me tokens. The bus drivers will 99 per cent of the time at least respond to the good morning, but not so the guy in the box. Excluding a wonderful chat with a TTC employee last week, almost every single purchase at the Kipling or Sherbourne subway stations has been met with stony silence. I’m sure they can hear me well enough to take my money and hit a button to roll out tokens, but apparently there’s no button for niceties.
And while their silence is deafening, it doesn’t stop me from being polite—as the occasional glance into my eyes is enough to make me feel like I matter.
All you have to do is learn to care about your customers.
It’s why I’m a fan of companies like Festo Inc., who have looked at themselves and thought: ‘How do I make dealing with Festo an even better experience?’
How indeed? Well, on March 4, 2010, at its Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario, Festo is inaugurating its new Customer Solutions Showroom and its new Regional Contact Center.
The Showroom will offer a look at some of the new Festo product offerings while also acting as a quasi-test lab for customers seeking solutions to their process control problems. Casey Samaroo, custom solutions manager at Festo says: “We are determined to show our customers that we are more than a place to purchase their parts—we are a solutions provider.” Beautiful. Do you hear that TTC? More than a collection of workers, some of whom are surly and/or sleepy, but rather a transportation company that is vital to the well-being of a city.