Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why don't train companies want to understand customers?

I book an international train ticket on the Thalys express every now and then. I must confess I have always found the interface between Thalys and Dutch Railways (NS) systems is mediocre at the best of times. Most frustrating is when the system decides there is no seat available at a particular fare and just gives an error message for the whole trip. So you don't know whether it is the outward or return journey that is (apparently) full. The NS side of the system doesn't seem to check availability on the Thalys computer in advance, so you go through all the pages of filling in names etc, only to be dumped back at the start when a booking turns out to be impossible. No explanation - just a request to fiddle around and try again. What a waste of time. Sadly, there is no alternative.

If it was 1992 I could understand. But in 2012 I assume that Thalys just don't care and that NS stands for No Service. What a difference from booking a flight on Easyjet or even KLM. These train guys are asleep at the wheel. Are they reading customer tweets on Twitter? Nah. They don't have a reputation to live up to.

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