The Trainline: Redux | October 20, 2006
So some of you may remember me berating the usability of the trainline webiste. Well it turns out that their off-line customer experience is no better than their online service.
With a couple of days to go until the journey, the tickets hadn’t arrived. I contacted their support line as instructed by the booking email, only to be told that they wouldn’t re-issue the tickets or provide a refund. As far as they were concerned the tickets had been sent, and if they were lost in the post, it wasn’t their problem.
It would seem that the address the tickets were sent to wasn’t complete. The address on the confirmation had the name of the company and the postcode, but no street address. The telephone operator asserted that this was my fault and the reason behind the problem. However when logging into the online system, the profile page contained the correct and full address.
Of course it is possible that this information was somehow lost or incorrectly entered. After all, the usability of the site was atrocious and this was my 6th attempt at completing the booking. Maybe I missed a crucial step or accidentally deleted some important information. However if the address line was vital to the booking, you would have thought that it would have been a mandatory field and the lack of this crucial information would have prevented the booking from being completed. But alas no. Despite having the correct address information on my account, the tickets were mailed out with a partial address and they never arrived.
Whether it was the fault of the booking system, the mail service or user error, the trainline had the opportunity to turn the problem round by issuing a new ticket. Had they done so, my impression of the company would have gone up significantly. However they chose to put all the blame and responsibility on the customer, and force me to buy a new ticket. Because of this, they have lost me as a customer forever.
The motto for the trainline is “The easy way to buy train tickets”, and if my experience is anything to go by, this is far from the truth. The irony is, it turns out that you can buy the tickets straight from the station at no extra cost. Rather than wasting 2 hours of my time and the cost of a ticket, I could have walked 10 minutes to the station and bought the tickets myself.
You live and learn
Posted at October 20, 2006 3:49 PM