The TTC is sweating the small stuff, and it shows
If compliments are an indication, the TTC has turned a critical corner on customer service.
The Star reported on Friday that the TTC logged 45,408 complaints in 2012, a significant increase from the year before, which it partly attributes to doubling the hours its customer service centre is open.
But it also recorded 4,440 compliments, the most ever and a huge increase over the 3,604 fielded in 2011.
A surprising number were about bus and streetcar operators who defied the stereotype of the surly, distracted driver with good cheer and a willingness to go the extra mile to help riders.
Until the hiring of CEO Andy Byford and customer service chief Chris Upfold, the TTC never seemed to understand that washrooms, clean stations and vehicles and courteous staff are key to customer satisfaction.
It was always good at running subways, but the corporate culture was steeped in an indifference to riders and their comfort.
Byford and Upfold have succeeded at changing the culture and improving how the TTC is regarded.
New washrooms in subways stations and cleanup crews that hop on subway trains during rush hours to give them a quick sweep send a message to riders that the TTC is serious about customer satisfaction.
It’s easier to overlook a bucket under a leaky ceiling or a closed escalator if the station is free of litter and the washroom doesn’t smell, which is often the case, and a big change from a few years ago.
The ongoing renovation of stations will further improve the customer experience, but it’s a long term initiative that will pay off down the road.
I don’t get nearly as many complaints about the TTC as I did a few years ago, which is further evidence it’s on the right track.
There was a time when it was regarded as one of the best systems in North America. If the goal is to
recapture that reputation, the TTC is off to a good start.