Lessons Learned From A Japanese Train Company: A Customer-Centric Approach

The news of a Japanese train company issuing a sincere apology after one of its express trains left the station a whopping 20 seconds ahead of schedule, left many in the U.S. and beyond in shock, awe and appreciation.

Since Thanksgiving – one of the busiest travel times of the season – is almost here, let’s pause and reflect on what we, as transportation professionals, can learn from the Tokyo’s Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company’s humble apology.

All transportation companies should aspire to be more like the Japanese in the way we service our customers.  Communicating effectively, apologizing when there are unexpected disruptions and outlining the precise steps that will be taken to correct the problem, are paramount.

OurBus recognizes there are many unforeseen forces that can disrupt a trip.  We have the following policies and features in place to address them:

  • OurBus Relief Fleet: as part of the OurBus Roadside Guarantee, If there is a breakdown or disruption of service that cannot be resolved within 15 minutes on an intercity route, the OurBus Relief Fleet will be called into action.  A sufficient number of replacement vehicles – such as limos, vans and taxis – will be dispatched to meet the delayed bus. These arrangements mean that OurBus customers will never experience extended disruptions in travel
    • Soon, all customers will be able to track the OurBus Relief Fleet using the OurBus app
  • Always Prepared: We utilize back-up buses on our commuting routes to ensure extended bus delays and/or the rare breakdown doesn’t slow down our commuters
  • Enhanced visibility into delays: Bus tracking on our app for all of our commuter and intercity routes, so our riders are aware of any delays that might be happening and plan accordingly
  • Customer-centric care: An “open door” policy where our riders can connect with transportation planners and customer service agents on Facebook, via email and at OurBus.com

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