Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Customer Service at its Best

Via Monica:

Night before last, I left my smart phone, a 4.5" black Motorola Droid Razr (in a hot pink Otter Box commuter case) on the last car that pulled into the Vienna Station.

I was sitting three rows back from the end of the car. I got off the train, and according to my SmartTrip history, I exited the fare gate at 07:10:49 p.m. I noticed that my phone was not in my bag and re-entered the fare gate at 07:13:17 p.m.

I ran to the platform and was happy to see the train was still there. I checked where I was sitting, which was now the first car, and saw my phone was still on the seat.

I asked the train operator if she would please allow me to get my phone or could she get the phone for me since it was directly behind her. There was no hunting required - it was visible from the window and in the same car as the driver.

She informed the supervisor on the platform what I was asking about and told me that she had a schedule to keep but was taking the train to the depot and would check at West Falls Church. The train operator also told me to check directly with the Supervisor at the end of the platform.

I double checked the placement of the phone as the out-of-service train took off toward West Falls and ran to see the supervisor. He initially refused to make eye contact and eventually waved me away.

I went upstairs and told station manager and an off-duty MTPD officer about what happened. The station manager at Vienna and the off-duty officer were very considerate. They did everything they could to find out where the train went and who would be searching it. I commend their professionalism and their due diligence.

The station manager at Vienna also tried calling my phone to see if someone would answer it. I was told to wait at Vienna for news from West Falls.

The operator and the West Falls station manager both reported that they did not see my phone.

However, my husband stopped at West Falls Church to double check on the phone and the station manager told him that she had no idea what he was talking about.

 The train operator and the supervisor at Vienna failed to provide even the smallest level of customer service. I wonder why the phone would not have been seen by the train operator when she did the walk through of the train after taking the train out of service.

This is not a small smart phone and was very visible on the seat in the hot pink hard case. In the time it took to have the conversation either she or I could have grabbed the phone. For the response to have been "I have a schedule to keep" when the train is out of service and the standard commute schedule swings so widely was unbelievable.

As a regular WMATA customer, the idea that 60 seconds could not be spared was completely defeating. One minute of her time and this would be a note of commendation instead of a comment on extremely poor customer service.

It was awful to realize that I lost the phone, but I was so glad to see that it was still on the stationary train. To watch it ride away, when it could have easily been passed through the window, was awful. To find out that they couldn't locate it was suspicious.

To make matters worse, none of the pay phones at Vienna work, and it is a known problem.

I have routed all calls to my work phone and spent $100 deductible replacing the phone. It will probably be another $75 to get a new otter box and transfer contacts/ photos/etc. Many of which will not make the transfer because they were stored in the old SIM card.

Having my old phone back would be fantastic. Since the 4.5" hot pink phone would be hard to miss, and that the train made no stops between Vienna and West Falls, I'm hopeful that someone in WMATA will find my phone and contact me.

Last time something like this happened was December 2006 when the WMATA bus driver used my phone for a week and then offered to let me buy it back from them. I 'm hoping to never repeat that experience. 

Monica later wrote that she had been contacted by Metro customer service, which offered an apology and said they would look into the situation.

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