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Unread 30-08-2006, 09:14   #1
colmoc
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Default customer service my ar5e

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Sent in by Emma - 14th July
Irishrail breaks- absolutely DREADFUL attitude and virtually no customer service.

Booked a rail break for 3 girls, one coming from Kerry, one coming from Kildare, one coming from Dublin. Asked if there was a direct train from Kerry to Waterford was told she 'didn't have a clue would have to look into that for you'. I myself made a mistake with the booking and wanted to rectify it so I rang them the next working day at 9.30 to be greeted with an ans machine that informed me the office was closed, opening hours are 9to5??? It took me three phone messages, and 22 phonecalls to the office in the space of 2 hours to actually get to speak to someone. When I explained who I was, she said, ' oh yeah you've been calling all morning...'

The a week later, my friend from Kerry rang them to see if they could send her train ticket down to her so she could use it on the train. She was told no way all the tickets have been sent to the Dublin address...handy for her eh..NOT Then to make matters worse, the next day I get a phonecall, real smart arse attitude saying my credit card had been refused, the booking wasn't made and why hadn't I returned their phonecall when they left me a message the week before? There was no phone message! This is 3 days before we're due to take the trip!!!!!AAAGGGHHHH!!! So I went into all of the above and was told that it was nothing to do with the girl on the phone, she'd been on holidays. So they sent all the tickets to me in Dublin. They couldn't make a duplicate of the ticket in the local station in Kerry so my friend ended up driving from Killarney to Waterford and back home again...oh and I'm still waiting to see if there is a direct train from Killarney to Waterford.... BEWARE when booking with them, they ruin your break before you even get away!

http://www.orelse.eu/irishrail.html
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Unread 30-08-2006, 13:05   #2
Mark Gleeson
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Tickets must be sent to the card holders address and the card holder must be a named passenger for each leg of the journey. Thats standard practice, try to buy something online. That is not grounds for complaint

Direct Kerry Waterford is a complex journey and does require some thought I'd acccept the delay to accertain correct information and to be honest its a 3 or 4 change 7+ hour nightmare, much simpler get bus to Limerick and onwards to Waterford

If your credit card has been refused and you want the tickets sent to multiple addresses in different names, that would have my fraud alarm going off

22 calls in 2 hours thats obsessive and counter productive, leave message and give a reasonable chance for people to get back in touch bearing in mind before calling you back they need to look at your booking.

I used to work in a customer service role and the bulk of problems I was faced with where people not understanding what was going on, once someone took the time to explain clearly the way of things most problems where resolved. Service is ****e at the best of times and it is clear in this case that if the IE staff had explained things correctly we would not be reading this complaint

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 30-08-2006 at 13:09.
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Unread 30-08-2006, 13:23   #3
Colm Donoghue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
Tickets must be sent to the card holders address and the card holder must be a named passenger for each leg of the journey. Thats standard practice, try to buy something online. That is not grounds for complaint
SNCF will allow tickets to be sent to someone else's address

3 To complete your booking, please provide your personal information

To receive your tickets by post free of charge, please indicate your address below. Send the tickets to my address Send the tickets to another person or address
Addressee:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
Direct Kerry Waterford is a complex journey and does require some thought I'd acccept the delay to accertain correct information and to be honest its a 3 or 4 change 7+ hour nightmare, much simpler get bus to Limerick and onwards to Waterford
IE's website tells me it's 2 changes, 5 hours

and 45.50 euros single.
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Unread 30-08-2006, 13:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
Tickets must be sent to the card holders address and the card holder must be a named passenger for each leg of the journey. Thats standard practice, try to buy something online. That is not grounds for complaint
It's quite common for tickets to be posted onto the card holders address but the second part serves no purpose at all. Why shouldn't tickets be transferrable?
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Unread 30-08-2006, 14:12   #5
Mark Gleeson
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Its in the terms of sale that for online sales the card holder must travel, phone bookings you might be able to get round it.

We only ship to the card holders address is exteremly common

Tralee Waterford on a Sunday is great fun
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Unread 30-08-2006, 14:15   #6
PaulM
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If you need the card then why is there a problem with virtual tickets?
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Unread 30-08-2006, 14:33   #7
Mark Gleeson
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But if there is more than one person travelling on the same booking each passenger could be seated in different coaches, each will need a ticket
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Unread 30-08-2006, 14:53   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
But if there is more than one person travelling on the same booking each passenger could be seated in different coaches, each will need a ticket
Do you not book seats? I haven't used the online booking yet. The only problems I see with this working are IEs inabillity to do anything that makes a customers life easier.

I've never travelled with people where we were all in different carraiges. If you are getting food etc. I'm sure the inspector can walk you back to your seat. I am yet to hear a single convincing argument for this or any of IEs other inabilities.
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Unread 30-08-2006, 15:30   #9
Mark Gleeson
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If you let the system select seats automatically (which is much faster) there is no guarantee you will be seated together and it says that clearly, it starts one side of the coach and once it fills it starts on the second side
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Unread 30-08-2006, 16:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
If you let the system select seats automatically (which is much faster) there is no guarantee you will be seated together and it says that clearly, it starts one side of the coach and once it fills it starts on the second side
This system is getting worse and worse. Was it designed by a blind donkey who has never seen a train?

The only reason virtual ticketing can not work is because IE are useless. Just because their IT services are a joke, it doesn't mean the inspector can't understand functions like "The guy in 54A has the credit card." That can then be confirmed by the guy in 54A. As I have said countless times on this forum, IEs ineptitude is the only thing preventing simple things for working.
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Unread 30-08-2006, 16:10   #11
Mark Gleeson
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If there aren't 4 seats together left you will be scattered thats life its not software, its physically impossible.it will issue the lowest numbered seats possible after C72 next seat is D01
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Unread 30-08-2006, 16:43   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
If there aren't 4 seats together left you will be scattered thats life its not software, its physically impossible.it will issue the lowest numbered seats possible after C72 next seat is D01
If there aren't 4 seats on the train that is true, if there aren't on the carriage it is easy to get around. I find it unlikely that every seat bar 4 scattered ones will be reserved. Again, a little thought from IE could probably deal with this anyway, perhaps on the virtual ticket state where the card holder is and what seats their party are sitting in, should the booking system not have some level of detail? A MS Access database would do all this and more, it is not a complex task. Blame goes to IE once again.

They could even be really flash and use some fancy sorting algorithms to keep people close together, perhaps only allow X seats to be booked on the train that will be in certain carriages to prevent this. If one person books a seat alone, they sit where there are 3 seats taken. If only there were a multitude of sorting methods to do things like this, oh wait there are.

One of the key parts of software development is problem solving, sadly no one told IEs blind donkey developer that they may have to deal with situations where the hard bit is done for them.

Maybe one day IE will be able to come up with ideas that took me 2 minutes to think of that will benefit customers.
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Unread 31-08-2006, 12:21   #13
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Passenger can select any seat they want
Human nature is they will select a seat where the surrounding seats are not taken
Once a passenger has booked you cant move there seat since they already have been confirmed with a seat number and issued a ticket

Virtual tickets are not a IT problem its how its handled on the train, the existing email receipt has a unique serial number thus the problem is how to authenticate the ticket on the train

On train computer already has this unique serial number thus the challenge becomes how to cope with 2 people with the same number i.e the chancer at which point some kind of ID would be required, and the credit card doesn't cut it what if the ticket is bought for someone else

I reread the complaint and find this line particulary interesting
Quote:
The a week later, my friend from Kerry rang them to see if they could send her train ticket down to her so she could use it on the train. She was told no way all the tickets have been sent to the Dublin address
Thats the classic mammy wants to know how much money in there son/daughter account in a bank. Unless they are a signature to it its illegal to even admit that the account exists and people just don't get that. Only the original customer has the right to request an alteration
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Unread 31-08-2006, 12:27   #14
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Bus Eireann manage just fine with a five digit code that is tied to a route and date. I presume that if the code is entered twice on the same bus (and trip) that it will be rejected. I also presume that if someone else tries to use the same code later on in the day, your credit card will be charged for a second ticket.

Likewise, Ticketmaster fastTickets work on the principle that if someone else has your ticket/barcode, the second person trying to gain entry is refused. GAA (with Ticketmaster fastTicket) give all their ticket sellers PDAs with a custom app that (I presume) checks the barcode against a list of valid tickets. Since each ticket is seated, the first person who gets to their seat enjoys the match.

It's not rocket science, IR just find it hard to think like customers. If one online transaction buys tickets for four people, then the first four people with the right code are presumed to have valid tickets and anyone else is out of luck.

Last edited by markpb : 31-08-2006 at 12:32.
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Unread 31-08-2006, 12:37   #15
Mark Gleeson
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Bus Eireann's system is just like the existing Irish Rail system you present a code manually in the case of Bus Eireann or by using your Credit Card for Irish Rail (or code at booking office window), a ticket is then issued for the entire journey on that booking. Once the bus driver confirms the code a normal wayfayer style ticket is issued

To quote
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You then print that e-mail and present it at the Bus √Čireann ticket office or to the bus driver before travelling on the bus. The ticket clerk or bus driver will check the validation code electronically and then issue you with the appropriate travel ticket in exchange.

Customers please note you may also be asked to produce photo identification when collecting your e-ticket, e.g. Valid Passport, Driver's licence with photo, International Student Identity Card, CIE Photo ID Card, National ID Card, Bus Pass with photo or Work ID with photo.
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Unread 31-08-2006, 13:24   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
Virtual tickets are not a IT problem its how its handled on the train, the existing email receipt has a unique serial number thus the problem is how to authenticate the ticket on the train
This is getting tedious. There is no technical reason IE can not implement such a system. There is no human reason IE can not implement such a system. People want to sit near windows and they can't? Bless them, I'll give them a hug next time I see them. To get over the serial number you have a database and a PDA. There is that hurdle lept. How do Wagamama take orders? My lord a database and a PDA. Off the shelf technology.

As I keep saying. The only reason such a system does not exist is IE have no desire to implement one. IE could even implement a system on a first come first served basis, if the window seats are all gone and four people book, give them isle seats together. I guarentee I could come up with an efficient system for this with a bit of thought. You can not please everyone at all times, the current system certainly wont (from your own post the train can fill up).

Now, IE do not have virtual ticketing implemented as they are awful and have no desire to do so. There is no reason or obsticle that can not be overcome for this other than they do not want to or they are too bad a company to care what their passengers think, I'd be surprised if they care about window seats or not. If IE gave a toss about passengers they wouldn't allow their CS staff to be so rude and lazy.

For (hopefully) the last time, the current system poses little benefit over a virtual ticketing system other than it was easier to implement for the blind donkey. If only they had a first year student do it, it could have been so much better.
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Unread 31-08-2006, 15:29   #17
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This really is very simple. User prints ticket with barcode, ticket checker scans barcode, off it goes to back end system, message back confirming ticket is ok.

Also, I thought we weren't going to have a situation where 100% of the train would be bookings only? Therefore it shouldn't be a problem having people with prior bookings seated together??
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Unread 31-08-2006, 15:53   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al2637
This really is very simple. User prints ticket with barcode, ticket checker scans barcode, off it goes to back end system, message back confirming ticket is ok.
I could implement print on demand tickets with Irish Rails existing IT using a printout of the reservation email and nothing more than a pen, think Ryanair here complex IT is a no no costs money will let you down when you need it most and the staff will throw a fit about changes in practices etc and we will have a strike

Quote:
Also, I thought we weren't going to have a situation where 100% of the train would be bookings only? Therefore it shouldn't be a problem having people with prior bookings seated together??
A specific block of seats on each train is available for booking, eg you can't have seat G31 when only seats C01 to D68 are bookable. The fact you can click to select the seats online means this was never a issue since you saw what you where getting its only if you wack automatic and thats your choice and its side effects are shown clearly for groups
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Unread 31-08-2006, 16:10   #19
PaulM
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I still say the only reason it is not done it due to IE. Be it staff, management the blind donkey or all three. It is still because IE are a bad backward company.
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Unread 31-08-2006, 16:33   #20
colmoc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
A specific block of seats on each train is available for booking, eg you can't have seat G31 when only seats C01 to D68 are bookable.
Does this mean that all the bookable seats are in carriage x, y and z and that all the non bookable seats are in carriage a, b and c.

if this is the case then it certainly was a blind donkey that specified this system ( not the programmer/designer who only do what the customer wants, Irish rail in this case)

Why not simply let a customer book any seat on the train that is not already booked and limit the number of bookings taken for that service.

Can the system redesignate seats at stations further down the line i.e man books seat G31 from dublin to say thurles can this seat be then reassigned to a person who booked from thurles to cork or better still become available to non booked customers???

Last edited by colmoc : 01-09-2006 at 08:35.
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