When you are subject to a shoddy service from an operator or an authority involved with public transport, it is very easy to submit remarks in the heat of the moment that may not lead to the response you are looking for. As a volunteer on FixMyTransport, I see many different styles of complaints and it can be disappointing to see a really good point about public transport not make the impact it should do. The issues that follow a few simple rules are more likely to succeed.
Who is your audience
The first thing to remember is that someone else, who deals with issues like yours every day is reading what you have written and they need as much information as possible to ensure that they can handle your request appropriately. If they do not get this information, they are less likely to provide you with response that you are looking for.
Focus on your issue
An important aspect to focus on is to focus on your issue. If it is about late buses, focus on late buses. Avoid moving on to other topics that the operator is unlikely to be able to deal with such as bus shelters or the previous operator of the route. If you are going to cover two points, make this clear and keep the points separate. Try to avoid moving between issues because these two points could be handled by different departments within the company or authority you are sending your issue to.
The details are most important
The more details you can provide, the easier it is for the operator to work out who is involved with your incident. The most important pieces of information are date, time and location from which the operators can begin your investigation.
Rhetorical Questions, General Opinions and Sarcasm
These unhelpful comments can make it more difficult for those who are handling your issue to provide your complaint by increasing the length of your complaint unnecessarily. In addition, the time spent creating the unhelpful comments can prevent you from providing the useful information, which the person handling your issue can use to help your issue reach a successful conclusion. In addition, general opinions such as how it used to be better when you were young (unless this the issue you are raising) are also unhelpful. The customer relations people see these all of the time and are more likely to send you an email that does not answer your query.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
It doesn’t need to be perfect but good spelling, full stops and commas in the right places, can help those reading your message understand it. The quicker they can read it, the more time they can commit to helping sort out your issue. It also prevents misunderstandings and it can make other people on FixMyTransport more likely to support your campaign.
We all have a bad day and I am sure that your issue has really screwed your day up. However, bad language is not tolerated by operators. As some have found with certain operators, they operate a swear filter, which will bounce your complaint. Even those that get through to the email inbox, could be ignored and some operators have even launched criminal cases against those who have threatened their staff through their Customer Relations channels. One issue that we have had is that sometimes members of staff swear and it is difficult to communicate this without using the word. I would advise you to replace them with asterisked or other descriptives rather than post the actual word (F***, the F Word and F*&^ are all ways to replace a rather commonly used swear word).
I hope that these rules help you improve the quality if the issues you try to raise through FixMyTransport. If you have any comments, feel free to comment below or tweet @FixMyTransport
- Make your complaint as clear as possible with as many details as you can find
- Keep to the facts where you can
- No bad language unless you alter it
Thanks to Andres Rueda who provided the image at the top of this page