Wednesday, 12 October 2011

10 October 2011. Letter 40

Dear Mark and Sue

Re: 18.51 FGW service from Paddington to Oxford, 10/10/11. Amount of my day wasted: 10 minutes.

Mark! Sue! Word up! (It's the code word - no matter where you say it, you'll know that you'll be heard!)

We're having a busy busy week, aren't we? We're busy as bees, us busy three! So much so that I'm still writing about monday's delays on a wednesday! Mark, Sue: I'm congested. I'm backed up. I'm overcrowded. I've got (metaphorical) leaves on my (metaphorical) line and it's (metaphorically) messing up my whole letter-writing-schedule shizzle!

Luckily, this letter is designed to only waste 10 minutes of your time (in recognition of the 10 minutes of my evening you wasted on Monday) - which means that compared to recent correspondence, it's a mere memo. A footnote! A text message! It's a simple irritation, Sue, as opposed to a full-on, er, rash. (Maybe I'll drop that analogy right there.)

Anyway! How have I been occupying myself, I hear you asking? How have I been filling these dead minutes you keep heaping upon me? Good question, Mark! I'm sure glad you asked, Sue! I've been immersing myself in technology, dudes! I've been embracing the cutting edge! I've only gone and discovered the most marvelous invention, Mark! It's called the "internets", and I believe it could change the world!

You know what the first so-called "website" I "logged" onto was?* Only the First Great Western website! Well done, Sue! Well done on getting yourself a website! It looks lovely, too - blue is so your colour! It's got bits to click on, and lovely pictures of you all... it's got, literally, everything! It's a marvel of harnessed technology, Sue - and a fitting testament to the man who first discovered the internets, the late, great Steve Jobs, founder of Amstrad and one of the leading Bletchley Park codebreakers. He did not die in vain, Mark!

I do have one small quibble, however. Under the section headed "Train Operator of the Year" (for real, Mark? You're really the train operator of the year? Which year? This year? How many other train operators were you up against? Who decided you were train operator of the year? Are they insane?) - under that section, Sue, you make the following bold claim:

"82 per cent of our customers are happy with the service we provide."

I would like to take issue with this statistic, Mark. Now I know we've already established that mathematics is not the foremost of my many talents, but, really, 82 per cent? Happy? I wonder if you could clarify this claim for me, Sue? Specifically, the following points:

1. How many of your customers did you actually ask, in order to arrive at this staggering statistic? Did you ask, for example, all of your customers? Or only a certain number of them? If so - how many exactly?

2. How did you ascertain that these customers are in fact "happy with the service we provide"? What was the exact question you asked? As I'm sure any Director of Communications worth her salt knows, two seemingly-same questions can be phrased in such a way as to give very different answers. Was the question: "Are you happy with the service FGW provide?" - or did you, for example, ask people to rate the service between 1 and 5 and accept anything from 3 to 5 as counting for "happy"?

3. When did you ask people? Before or after they got on one of your trains?

4. Who did you ask? Regular commuters, or those traveling less often?

Plenty to be getting on with then, Sue! I await your answers with breath baited, pen poised, legs akimbo. Let's see you communicate like only you can! Let's do it, Sue! Bazinga!

Au revoir!


*I won't mention the other websites I found on the internets, Mark. Except to say that there seem to be an awful lot of free-thinking ladies out there.

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