Friday, September 17, 2010

People Hater. The voice of First Capital Connect?

Oh dear. The curse of the employee who doesn't think customer service is part of their remit has struck First Capital Connect - the much maligned UK rail company.
While many previous rude employees have made themselves all too easy to track (as in the case of employees ranting about customers at a supermarket chain, on facebook, using their own IDs or the famous Domino Pizza video-making eejits who videod themselves contaminating food) this one is, quite sensibly, hiding behind a false ID.
This is a very unhappy First Capital Connect employee. Who says they are fed up of hearing all the moans from customers. Who realises this twitter account may get them some flack. But who wants to vent back. And who doesn't care about the consequences (except that he cares enough not to associate his real identity with the account... not quite so ballsy as the rhetoric then).
See below.

I scored out the name initially because, I thought - 'don't feed the troll'. I'm a First Capital Connect paying passenger. I'd felt the wrath (ah hem) of his sarcasm and decided not to respond. Instead I alerted First Capital Connect to the potential for PR disaster they were facing ( is, afterall, in the business of monitoring and responding - as key tools of our strategic development for orgs - ad over).

This guy is stirring up rows with customers - which just generates more and more negative sentiment for @firstcc (as they are on twitter).

But having given this some thought, I'd recommend the best way to deal with him would be to publicly engage (rather than go on an internal witch hunt). And that means paying him (possibly her) some attention.
The name is also quite telling about his attitude. It is @paxhater (should you wish to observe) - pax being the term the people logistics industry uses for us pesky paying customer livestock.

So this guy hates the people who pay his wages. Nice.

But back to the topic in hand. What should First Capital Connect do about this?

My suggestion, engage - have an open dialogue. Publicly challenge his attitude to customer service and demonstrate a better way. Your more positive employees should be encouraged to do likewise - to see their role as customer service too, to also respond to customer complaints - with help and sympathy instead of bile and abuse. You have to hope FCC have more positive people it could empower to engage with customers compared to this (hopefully) rare misanthrope.

This is a formula for success EVEN if the account is actually not from an employee, but from a disgruntled customer attempting to make @firstcc and its staff look even worse (always a possibility).

Listening, really listening, to what your customers tell you delivers way to improve the service for all parties. Better service equals less complaints equals less disgruntled employees.

But of course if First CC was listening it would already have picked this up. If First CC was responding to that listening, it would already be empowering staff to respond to customer complaints via twitter and other online channels (@BTCare is doing it, Honda Europe (a Ninety10group client) is monitoring and responding and learning too.)

I have one nagging doubt about the account. It follows just one account - the one that ReTweets any complaint that references @Firstcc. If you're fed up of hearing moans from customers, why actively seek them - and only them - out? Particularly if you are really just a regular employee... I have my theories about that. You will have your own.
I'm quite happy to share mine with FirstCC, just as soon as they respond...

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?