• Virgin East Coast 20

    After my last post I sent off an email to chase up what was happening with the promised phone calls about the Ticket Wallet app and the general delays with getting things sorted. Here’s what I wrote:

    Hi again Mike.

    It’s now a week since you replied and, I think it’s fair to note, it’s no longer “early” this week. I’ve had no call – neither form yourself nor from anyone related to the Ticket Wall App – and I’ve not received the promised tickets either. While I do try to be patient I have to admit that it’s starting to get very frustrating, being made lots of promises about progress that simply never happen. This has been going on for months now and I’m always having to chase things up.

    I’d very much appreciate it if you could explain to me what’s going on, and why.

    A while later I got a reply. He said he’d be getting the tickets in the post the following day (so a Friday, which I think I can safely say isn’t the start of the week) and would also phone me.

    The following day he did keep his promise. He called (I managed to miss him the first time, but when I was finally free I called back and we got to chat). He promised I’d get some more tickets early next week and also that someone with technical knowledge would finally call about the app problem.

    I have, of course, been here before. This is exactly the promise that was made a couple of months ago. It’s easy to make the promise, apparently not so easy to deliver on it (or address the issue of not delivering on it).

    So now I wait. Again. I’ll be sure to update when something happens (or doesn’t).

  • Virgin East Coast 19

    I think I need to rethink the meaning of the word “certainly”. Anyone still bothering to read this blog will recall that, last week, the Customer Relations Manager at Virgin East Coast said:

    If you can leave this with me I will certainly be in contact early next week to try and get this resolved once and for all. In the meantime I will pop a further couple of tickets in the post for you, just so you have them incase you need to travel urgently.

    That email was received last Thursday evening. It’s now the following Thursday. Personally I’d take “certainly”, in the above, to mean that there’s little to no chance that I won’t be contacted in the early part of this week, and that there’s little to no chance that the tickets won’t arrive in the early part of this week.

    I’d have thought that “certainly” would be used to create a huge contrast between what has gone on before, and what will follow.

    But, like I say, it’s Thursday the following week and I’ve had no call from anyone about the Ticket Wallet app, I’ve had no call or email from Mike (the Customer Relations Manager) and the tickets haven’t tumbled through the door.

    I’m not surprised. I’m not in the least bit surprised. I am, however, rather disappointed.

    And, of course, I’m now going to have to chase things up again.

  • Virgin East Coast 18

    Late on last week some progress was made with the issue of no longer being able to contact Mike at Virgin East Coast. After chasing up via twitter (mentioning the MD as well as the normal support account) I finally got a reply from the support account, saying they’d get a message to Mike and let him know what was going on.

    I wasn’t really very hopeful about it, if I’m honest. If I couldn’t get a reply from him via the channels I’d normally used what hope was there that I’d get a reply this way?

    The following day was mostly spent traveling but my phone was on and always to hand. I never received any call. However, late in the day I did get an email! This was the first direct contact, that replied to an attempt to contact him on the current issue, I’d had from the Customer Relations Manager since the previous month.

    Here’s what he said (quoted in full):

    My sincere apologies for the silence, I have been away and it was remiss of my not to advise my regular contacts, of my colleagues details.

    If you can leave this with me I will certainly be in contact early next week to try and get this resolved once and for all. In the meantime I will pop a further couple of tickets in the post for you, just so you have them incase you need to travel urgently.

    My apologies again David, and I look forward to chatting early next week.

    I am, of course, a little skeptical of this at the moment. A few times before I’ve been told they’ll be in contact “early next week”, or something similar, and nothing has happened. It’ll be interesting to see if this will be different.

    Will I get an update? Will I finally get a call about the Ticket Wallet app? Will the extra tickets turn up?

  • Virgin East Coast 17

    The Virgin East Coast Trains saga gets more and more odd. Following on from yesterday’s update I thought I’d give Mike an actual call. As in, a call on the phone.

    I don’t generally like calling people. I’m one of those people who gets a little anxious about using the phone and much prefer email. I’ll use a phone as a last resort and, given how long this was going on for, I thought it time to break my normal “no phone” rule and pick mine up and call to find out what the hell is going on.

    Turns out the number is no longer available!

    The last email I have that was sent from Mike was on September 25th. The number I used was the one in the footer of that email. It doesn’t work. There’s also a land line given. Calling that gives the same result.

    As of now, if I try and call the customer relations manager for Virgin East Coast Trains, someone who I was referred to by David Horne (the MD), I get a message that the phone isn’t available.




    So, given that, I thought I’d drop David a direct message on twitter. We’d spoken that way back on August 9th when he requested my contact details. Nope. Can’t send him a DM any more. Guess I got unfollowed.

    So I’ve tried tweeting him instead:

    This did get a reply from @Virgin_TrainsEC and I let them know what I was after. They say they’ve sent him an email too now:

    Really, this is a silly mess again. My query is simple and straightforward. I’m simply chasing up two promises that were made by Mike, on behalf of Virgin. All I seem to be getting now on those two points is complete silence.

    I’m really not in the business of telling people how to do their jobs but… wouldn’t customer relations involve actually talking to customers and delivering on promises made to them when you do talk to them? That strikes me as the sensible thing to do.

  • Virgin East Coast 16

    It’s now almost 2 weeks since I last posted an update here and, frustratingly, I don’t really have much progress to write about.

    What had been a promising start (well, middle; the actual start of this process was as frustrating as hell; it was only when the MD got involved that things actually started to happen) has turned into more of the same: broken promises and lack of actual results.

    Only, this time, I’m not dealing with some call center. This time I’m dealing with the office of David Horne.

    Since I last wrote I’ve emailed Mike Ross three times. The first time was to chase up what was happening with the promised phone call regarding the Ticket Wallet app. Here’s what I wrote 12 days ago (on 2016-10-06):

    Hi Mike.

    Just wanted to try and chase up what’s happening with being able to speak with someone about the original problem with the Ticket Wallet app. It’s now around 2 months since I missed the single call from Katie Fisher (which I attempted to return every day for a week after, and a couple of times the second week after – never able to leave a message because there was no voicemail system). It’s now also over a month since you said that a David Ridley (you you said was Katie’s boss) would contact me and I’ve still not had any sort of call.

    With respect, this is exactly the sort of thing that I initially found frustrating about dealing with Virgin East Coast Trains: the promises of calls to get things sorted that never happen and the constant need, on my part, to chase things up to even try and get something happening.

    It’s also nearly 4 months since I first ran into the original problem and I’m still no nearer getting an explanation as to what the problem is or any nobody would initially believe the problem I was reporting.

    Could I please get an honest update on what’s happening with this?

    This got no reply whatsoever. Now, I appreciate that people can be busy, but when you have an ongoing issue to resolve with someone it makes sense you at least say something like “I’m sorry, my attention is elsewhere at the moment – I promise I’ll get back to you as soon as possible”. That’s not an ideal thing to do, especially if your job us customer relations, but at least it lets the customer know you’re there and listening.

    But, no, nothing.

    So 5 days ago I replied to the above, with a little chaser:

    Hi Mike. Sorry to trouble you but given it’s a week since I wrote, I wanted to chase this up.

    And still nothing.

    Later this week I’ll be on the trains again and, despite getting no sort of reply whatsoever from Mike, I decided to drop a line anyway and ask for seat reservations to be made (as had originally been offered). These were done in no time at all.

    While that is great it also tells me something rather odd: my emails are being read and acted upon – at least when they’re a request for a seat reservation – but they’re not being replied to.

    And here’s the thing that’s even more frustrating about this. The email where I requested the seat reservations had this on the end as a PS:

    PS: Did you receive the catch-up email I sent last week? Seeing as how I’m about to use the last set of tickets you provided me I’m very keen to get to the bottom of the Ticket Wallet app problem so I can finally resolve the problem of getting WiFi on the train and working without having to spend £10 extra every time.

    That has to have been read and… given the lack of reply I can only conclude that it was ignored. I like to think it wasn’t really ignored but a lack of reply looks exactly like you’re being ignored.

    At this point I don’t know what to make of this any more. It’s a simple problem I’m trying to get to the bottom of. I’ve been made plenty of good promises, almost all of them broken. On top of that I can’t really escalate the issue any more because I’m already receiving the best help that Virgin East Coast’s MD can offer, apparently.

    Anyone got Richard Branson’s phone number?

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