Northern Trains Apologise For Customer Delight!


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Northern TrainsWe caught the train for a night out in Sheffield on Saturday night from our local station. We took our seats and waited patiently for the ticket collector to come and take our money for the journey, as did all the passengers.

As we travelled through the beautiful countryside that is South Yorkshire, the driver announced that unfortunately there was no ticket collector on the train. He then went on, in a very scripted fashion that we wouldn’t be able to pay for our tickets and then apologised for the inconvenience that this may have caused us!!! He did this three times in the same scripted fashion during our 20 minute journey.

A couple of things struck me as we travelled…

The Cost Of Waste to Northern Trains for not having a ticket collector – there were at least 20 odd passengers who didn’t pay – and I know for a fact that this was not the first time it’s happened – we’ve seen it at least 3 times in the past 12 months, and have heard others mention it too! How much is this costing them over the year?

The scripted announcements seemed to sum up the whole operation, and that of many other train operators – mundane, matter of fact and ‘scripted’ with no personality or interest.  I bet that wouldn’t have happened on 3D Business Southwest Airlines where their staff are encouraged to demonstrate their personality (See here how they do it!) – It’s called ‘empowerment’ and is a key ingredient in creating outstanding customer experiences.

What could he have said? Maybe something like  “Unfortunately there’s no ticket collector today, so that means you’ve got yourself an extra £3.75 this evening – enjoy a drink on us, or maybe put it in the charity box in the station – it’s up to you, but have a great evening!”  

This was a great opportunity to ‘make a thing of it’ and ‘delight us’ as customers, but no, he ‘followed the script’ – I’m not blaming him – it’s probably ‘in the rules’!


  • How ‘empowered’ are your frontline people?
  • Do they create outstanding customer experiences for your customers?
  • What do you do to help them?  

You have a nice day now!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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