Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why don't you...

Had a rather busy morning on other blogs.

Mostly involving various folk (on various topics) rather vocally suggesting that I 'do my bit' by various green means.

Thing is, in most cases, I'd love to... if I could afford it, in time and/or money.

Of course I can visit a client by bike, but it will take several hours. And they don't cover travel time.

I'd love to visit chums in London with the family by train. But it's silly money.

Hence I identify more with those not in the eco-glitterati end of earning a crust, and have a few suggestions in return...


I have been accused of 'slagging off' British Rail in critiquing the reliability of the service to this neck 'o the woods, and not being about positive solutions. I have been moved to reply:

You are right of course, in most respects.

And I am one who does not like to find myself as anything but on the positive and encouraging side of things.

However, it is difficult to do a SWOT analysis of things or situations without looking at all sides. If you only see the SO and choose to ignore the WT, you might find some say 'so what'?

My personal interest is how things play out with the consumer, so that positive ways can be sought to encourage one and all to embrace more mutually 'helpful' environmental behaviours.

Things will not happen unless people vote with their wallets or feet, especially in commerce or politics/legislation, respectively.

I, for one, was not of the understanding that there was any more such a things as 'British Rail', as the country is now cross-crossed with diverse networks. The 'old' system was not very good as I recall, but this one seems little better, and that's with the benefit of a lot more money and experience.

Your lack of a driving licence, for whatever reason, has shaped your travelling ever since.

However, I would beg to suggest that this might not be the case with the majority of the population, be it for work or social reasons.

And so most have options, and with market forces will make them according to their needs and aspirations: cost, convenience, reliability, etc.

To which can also be added comprehensibility. In matters enviro, communications are a major factor.

But in most industries you can't often get away with telling a customer they are dumb for not getting to grips with the menu or price list. They will, forgive me, just walk away. The booking and paying aspects should be the easiest parts of the customer experience, not amongst the most confusing and/or onerous.

Then, having persuaded your audience to try out your product/service, if it falls short excuses can get you a fair way, but not for long.

It's a shame that things on the continent are apparently equally as bad (not sure they'll thank you for sharing), but really that does not help the case here very much to an already less than thrilled buying public.

I agree the media plays it up, but one has to have sympathy with the local lady to where I live who recently failed to win compensation for a vast % of her daily trips being late or cancelled.

There are some (is it helpful to infer a pejorative by suggesting something like 'Guardian journalists?) who may be able to afford the money a time of a slow sojourn as the wind blows them, but most are on a 9-5 deadline and tight budgets, with pretty unsympathetic bosses or clients keeping... um.. track.

Assuming getting more people on trains is what is required, and desirable (other stories for other times), denying what is wrong and hence avoiding ways to improve may prove an idealistic, optimistic notion in seducing new customers aboard.

In the case I cited before, if I can be reassured that a fair % of trips I make from London mid-evening out West will not leave me stranded, I might be tempted back. Others have much worse, and often more onerous crosses to bear. What solving these is worth to secure our patronage vs. the alternatives, I leave to the actuaries.

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