Monday, September 12, 2011

SmarTrip Pilot Invite Confuses, Angers

Photo: mr_t_in_dc; shop: Andrew

Several people have written about the following email that was sent out to some Metro customers:
Begin forwarded message:

Date: August 31, 2011 1:46:47 AM EDT
Subject: Pilot Invitation

To SmarTrip® Account Holder

You have been randomly selected to participate in a pilot of several new system functions.

We sincerely regret to inform our MTA customers that the MTA system does not yet support these new functions.
We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause our MTA customers.

These functions will enable you to use your credit card to purchase stored value and passes for your SmarTrip® card.
You will also be able to save your credit card information to use for future purchases, and to print detailed receipts.

The next time you log in to your SmarTrip® account, you will see several new links on your account pages. For example, on the page with the header "View Card Summary", you will see the following changes:

- A shopping cart icon on the left side of the screen
- A new group of links under the heading "Online Purchases" on the upper right section of the screen; and
- Within the text in the middle of the screen, there are links to "Add value" and "Add Pass".

Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the new functions, and the steps that you will need to follow to load your purchases onto your SmarTrip® card.

These new features are intended to make it more convenient for you to manage the balances on your cards and avoid the lines at ticket vending machines.

We encourage you to take advantage of these new features. If you have questions, or experience any problems when using these new features, please contact the Regional Customer Service Center at 1-888-762-7874.

Your SmarTrip® Account Team
From Rachel:
Great email from Metro last night.

Paragraph 1: I'm invited to join a pilot to test new functions.

Paragraph 2: Those functions are not yet available and they are sorry. Wait, what? Then why are you sending me this? Is this a joke?

Paragraph 3: Oh wait! Yes they are available! And finally, I learn what the aforementioned (twice) functions are.

What PR person wrote this? It's terribly written, confusing, and doesn't even contain a link to the website they are trying to get me to use.

Metro should not be surprised if this pilot fails.

Awesome as always!
From Scott:
Metro has selected me to participate in a pilot program dealing with (I think) Metro card purchases on line. The explanation is enough for me never to attempt to use the service, as the WMATA email does a very poor job of explaining what the new features are. Also, wouldn't it been more appropriate for Metro to ask me if I wanted to participate?

Also this line, "We sincerely regret to inform our MTA customers that the MTA system does not yet support these new functions. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause our MTA customers." is so f'ing out of place - as they are offering me these services.

A good gesture, but lousy execution.
From James:
Wait, is this a Metro program or an MTA program? Are the new features available or not? Where do I go? Is this a cut and paste job? Did anyone give this a second read? Why are we paying hundreds of thousands dollars to the staff of Metro's communications team when they can't even put together a basic email?

We apologize for our fail.
Other items:
Metro workers receive pay raise this week (Examiner)
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