UK public transport operators provide worst customer service, finds study


Public transport operators in the UK have been found to offer the worst service and customer experience, according to the latest annual study by service design consultancy Engine. 

Almost four in ten respondents agreed that public transport and train sectors are one of the worst in terms of providing service, just narrowly staying of ahead of utilities (37%).

Over the last three years, this accounts for a 4% rise, making it the second biggest jump among the 14 sectors covered by the annual study.  

Engine co-founder Joe Heapy said: “The rapid developments in customer experience in other industries makes public transport seem increasingly out-of-date in today’s world. 

"Complicated ticket pricing structures, hard to access and inconsistent information and dry communication styles, particularly on social channels, are just some of the reasons why passengers feel alienated. 

"Complicated ticket pricing structures, hard to access and inconsistent information and dry communication styles, particularly on social channels, are just some of the reasons why passengers feel alienated."

"Public transport needs to learn from other industries who’ve joined up the dots between the various customer touchpoints to understand them better and make their experience as easy and convenient as possible.

"Of course, legacy factors such as operators using different CRM systems and the inherent disincentive to share data or collaborate with competitors makes this difficult. However, the service requires a radical rethink for it to start to work as efficiently as customers have grown to expect."

On the other side of the spectrum, 47% and 46% respondents considered restaurants and hotels as the best sectors for service respectively. 

Regarding the best individual companies in terms of service, retail dominates, with Amazon topping the list was followed by John Lewis, M&S, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s.

Heapy concludes: "The leading sectors and companies in customer service don’t think of it as an add-on at the front line, they put as much effort into designing the customer experience as they do their actual products."