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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

SBS Transit online feedback really works well!

I have new found respect for local public transport company, SBS Transit. And it's because they've shown that online feedback don't go into a corporate blackhole, but are actually responded to and acted upon by real human beings.

On 9 June, when taking SBS 14, I found that I had been incorrectly overcharged. Not just that, I had been overcharged according to the distance-based fares that are only supposed to start in July. (I wonder if any other passengers realised this error too.) As soon as I could, I went to SBS Transit's website and submitted my feedback on the error through their online form.

(By the way, SBS Transit, please fix your form. It really doesn't make sense to split it into two pages.)

That day, I received two emails from SBS Transit. The first was a standard computer-generated acknowledgment email that I immediately consigned to the electronic bin.

But the second email was from Sophia Tan Yen Peng (no title provided). A real human response from SBS Transit. Sophia stated that SBS Transit would be investigating the matter, then gave a cookie-cutter response about how I could submit a request for a fare refund.

After reading Sophia's email, I figured that that was the end of the story for me. Except that it wasn't.

Today, I received another email from SBS Transit, this time by Asrina Binte Asari (Head, Customer Relations). Apparently, there was a technical glitch (which sounds like the equivalent of a doctor telling you that you're sick because of a virus) and SBS Transit has taken measures to resolve it (the doctor prescribes antibiotics).

But the gesture was very much appreciated. It's comforting to see that a big organization takes the time and effort to have someone reply to little ol' me. And the complimentary travel voucher was a nice touch too.

Oh, and I was advised to file my refund five days after the incident. It's been almost two weeks already, and frankly, I thought nothing of the refund after getting Sophia's reply. If you're nice enough to respond to me personally on behalf of your organization, I'm nice enough to forgive your trespass.

The thing that really touches me is that this isn't the first time that I've received an actual human response from SBS Transit or that action has been taken based on my feedback. The first time was when I had complained about a bus which air-con was leaking so badly it was as if it was raining inside the bus. The next day, that bus was nowhere to be seen at the usual time. And when it reappeared, it was as dry as one would expect the interior of a bus to be.

SBS Transit has proved, at least for itself, that online feedback don't disappear into the ether. I hope my experience encourages others to submit their feedback as well. And maybe together, we can make public transport slightly more comfortable for all in Singapore.