Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting the easiest part wrong

I never cease to be amazed that the simplest part of any problem is so consistently mishandled by companies.

It's always been the same, they never learn and I don't expect they ever will.

The easiest part is communication.

Tell the people affected what the problem is, what you're doing to correct it and, if possible, when you expect the problem to be rectified and service back to normal.

How hard is that?

For some inexplicable reason it's so hard it's impossible.

We've had it throughout the volcano ash cloud chaos, the biggest complaint from people, as always, is the lack of communication, lack of information.

Dubai's Metro is at it again too.

Passengers using the Dubai Metro once again faced delays yesterday following a disruption, which was not explained by the Metro operators.

However, what frustrated the passengers the most were confusing announcements made inside the trains and by ill-informed staff at the stations.

Situation perfectly normal then.

Metro operations remained suspended once again for around 50 minutes after 12:15pm on Sunday and then around 3pm while passengers wondered what had happened.

Leaving passengers stranded with no information makes it impossible for them to know what to do. Do they stay in the station and wait for an unknown amount of time or do they make other arrangements to get to their destination?

They can't make the decision thanks to the lack of communication from the Metro operators. Even worse, they're getting the usual 'five minutes' rubbish from staff.

How many times have I been told 'five minutes', or 'take a seat, coming'. It's just a way of getting rid of you, to stop you pestering them.

It's typical too of the 'customer service' we've come to expect. Take your money and that's it, nothing after that is of any concern to the company.

The problem was later explained with the usual platitudes.

A Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) spokesperson said that technical issues were behind the slight disruptions.

"We are preparing to add more trains with the opening of new stations from April 30" said Peyman Younes Parham, director of marketing and communication at the RTA.

"Techical issues are being sorted out, especially regarding the train headways and waiting time of passengers and this has led to some delays. It is quite normal when you add more services on a running track."

Why didn't you tell your passengers that? Why weren't your staff briefed? Did it happen unexpectedly - your statement 'it's perfectly normal' indicates it didn't? So why no advance notice?

If it was unexpected, why wasn't information put on the electronic boards and the public announcement system?

The story's here.


Anonymous said...

According to LAst Thursday's XPRESS, there have been three near derailments, a track fire, other incidences of trains being stuck and a test run of 20 trains on the line last week had to be aborted and scled back to 12.

The system just isn't ready.

When the RTA were asked to comment they did the usual Dubai response - no comment - and buried their heads in the sand.

So these delays yesterday were "normal", were they. Well by Dubai Metro standards they were I guess.

The XPRESS report is here:

Stained said...

It's been a while since I've used the metro but whenever I did use it, apart from a single 10min delay, I've never faced any problems. Maybe I've just been lucky.

Anyway, this lack of communication has always been a problem over here. Be it Etisalat, RTA or any other government organisation, the general public have always been kept in the dark. They seem to think we're dumb enough to believe whatever they say. Just wish official information wasn't so controlled and they don't even learn from their previous mistakes. In the end the more they try to hide...the more the people will want to know...

Tainted Female said...

Though this is a common problem worldwide, when I think of how truly bad it is in Dubai... I just cringe.

Anonymous said...

So wasnt Xpress punished for trying to sully the reputation of the Metro ?

Seabee said...

Tainted, good to see you back here after so long :-)

Tainted Female said...

Thanks Seabea... I've been living, loving, and even growing some... It's good to be back and blogging a bit again. ;)