Dear Mark and Sue
Re: 18.51 FGW service from Paddington to Oxford, 21/11/11. Amount of my day wasted: eight minutes.
Mark! Sue! Can I get a witness? I said can I get a witness! Feet don’t fail me now! Gotta get up on the good foot! Get up, Mark! Get on the scene, Sue! Like a…
Good lord, what happened there? I do apologise! For a minute back then, Mark, I got my correspondence in a twist! I got my letters mixed up! I think I thought I was penning my fortnightly missives to the editor of Funkological Review (the premier choice for the discerning funk and soul record collector)!
I think I thought that, rather than writing my usual tightly-focused, carefully thought-through and extensively-edited letters of complaint to you and Sue, I was rattling off another altogether more boyishly enthusiastic thousand words to Mr Marcus Funk, Managing Director of Funkalogical Review and the only man funkier than the funky chicken. (Not forgetting Ms Suzy “You Know She Got” Soul, Communications Director for the British Funkalogical Society and the only woman more soulful than a vat full of chicken soup for the soul.)
Please accept my sincerest. I’m mortified. Literally! Though to be fair, Mark, it’s an easy mistake to make, right? You betcha! Gotta get up to get down! It’s gotta be bad to be good!
Except, of course, when it comes to matters outside the remit of the Funkalogical Review. In those matters, Mark, being bad is very rarely an indication of quality.
For example - let’s pluck a subject at random, let’s pick, ooh, I don’t know, running a train service. Let’s pick the example of running a train service for profit. In those circumstances, Mark, it’s not gotta be bad to be good. It’s gotta be good to be good! It’s gotta be efficient to be efficient! It’s gotta deliver the service it promises to, er, deliver the service it promises! Anything less than the best, as rapper/raconteur/renaissance man and one-time reserve keeper for Real Madrid Vanilla Ice, observed, is a felony.
Let’s not argue with Vanilla Ice on this one, Mark. Let’s just accept his word as law, Sue. He is a swift and ruthless opponent, after all, and the man who famously “cooked” rival MCs “like a pound of bacon”. I don’t want to be cooked like a pound of bacon, Mark!
So: we are agreed. When it comes to running a train service, quality is our common goal. Excellence, even! Why not? Excellence of service, excellence of customer service. What we want to do is run the trains on time, every time (you can use that, Sue). And on those blue moon days, those snow-in-July days, those rare occasions when our train service is not excellent, we want to listen and respond and take on board (on board, Sue! Yeah! Geddit? On board? On b— oh, whatever) all the complaints of those affected and respond to them in an open and transparent manner! That’s what we want to do! That’s who we are! We are First Great Western! Say my name! Say my name, baby!
And, to be fair, that’s what you do with me, isn’t it? You write back, Mark! And you, Sue, you… well you don’t write back as such, but you help! Of course you help, Sue! You’re a big help! Well done! It’s great you write back, Mark! (It’s great you help, Sue!) As I’ve said before, it makes my day.
The only thing is, lads, I had a devil of a job finding your email addresses to write to in the first place. I had to use my super soaraway scooping skills! I had to use the lessons I’ve learned from 15 years grubbing around Grub Street! In short – I had to guess.
Mark, Sue, you have no idea how many innocent people I emailed before I stumbled across the correct email addresses for you both. (That was how, in fact, I first made contact with the Funkalogical Society of Great Britain.)
Not every disgruntled passenger is as persistent as me, Mark. Not everyone has my razor sharp tabloid skillz, Sue. What these people need is some sort of web-based application whereby they could post their complaints, have those complaints forwarded on to you and then have both complaint and response posted back on to the web for all to see and be enlightened by!
Wouldn’t that be splendid? Sue – as a connoisseur of communication, as someone only too willing to embrace the latest advances and improvements in communication technology, such an idea must thrill you, no? The possibilities for enhanced communication must keep you awake at night!
If only there were such a thing!* Because if there were such a thing, then as a forward-thinking, customer-focused company who only wants to provide the best service you possibly can, I imagine you’d jump at the chance to get involved!
Of course you would, Mark! We can but dream that one day such a thing might exist!
And on that happy note…
*Oh! Wait up! There is such a thing! I believe it’s called fixmytransport! Alright! Come on Mark! Let’s go, Sue! Let’s get into it! Get up! Get on up! Isn’t this exciting!
PS - Did I mention my train last night was delayed? Sorry. Eight minutes. It was eight minutes delayed. Have a nice day now!