Calling it a phone doesn’t mean you are having a conversation

South West Trains (SWT) is running something they call Live Web Chat every 6 months this is apparently done because they believe in listening to the views and opinions of their customers. However, it seems like they just picked the name of a technology and pretend it is used to listen to the customers, but this isn’t the case and even wrongly labelled:

  • It is not ‘Live’, questions can be submitted on a form and they may be answered, certainly not real (live) time.
  • It is not ‘chat’ but a simple ask a question, chat is about conversation, not about asking a question.
  • It is not ‘listing’ to answer a question and reading the answers doesn’t give the impression South West Trains want to listen – they answer a question by explaining the reason behind an issue  instead of listen to the root issue and find a way to address it. There is no possibility to follow-up with a second question.
  • It is not enough to run a session every 6 monthly is a world where instant / real time is the dominating trend.

Technology can certainly help South West Trains if they were truly interested in having a dialogue with customers, they could for a start get involved in the lively dialogues on twitter, I can’t find a single tweet (reply) from South West Train to any of the many negative tweets about South West Trains.

There is a  Facebook group called “South West Trains SUCK”, I doubt it is a group created by South West Trains and I can’t find a South West Trains official group, so SWT is again missing an opportunity to get feedback from their customers and should immediately get a presence on Facebook if they serious about listing to their customers.

Technology can make it possible to listen to customers in a complete new way, but it doesn’t matter if the mind-set in the organisation is about listen to customers and not talk to them.

PS: Why do SWT not give a way to report problems live / instant / real time, like the fact the floor on this train is very dirty, somebody dropped a big cup of orange juice – there are plenty of internet connected laptops and iPhone on the trains so it could easy be reported.


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