Opinion: Customer service fail

Chilliwack transit officials say they did nothing wrong. But did they do everything right?

Chilliwack transit officials say their driver did nothing wrong when he denied access to a woman, her two children and their stroller, and left them to walk home in the rain.

But could he have done something better?

Social media lit up Friday evening after the young mom posted her ordeal, which started with a lunch with the kids at a downtown restaurant and ended with a tearful five-kilometre hike home in the rain.

She got downtown on the bus just fine. But when she attempted to board for the return trip home, she was told her stroller would not fit.

This is where the two stories differ.

Transit officials say the woman was told to fold up her stroller because there were already two strollers taking up space on the bus. Her other option was a 20-minute wait for the next bus.

But the mom says she was never given those choices.

Instead, she says she was curtly told to get off the bus, and that the driver was “already five minutes late.”

Two stories, one unpleasant outcome.

It didn’t have to be this way.

What the driver said is not relevant. It’s what the young woman understood. She clearly felt her only alternative was a long walk home – something she wasn’t overly eager to do given the age of her children and the distance she needed to travel.

She was angry, embarrassed and confused.

And our public transit system let her down.

It could have done much more. The driver could have taken the time to not only explain her choices and the rationale behind them, but make sure she fully understood.

That information is posted on BC Transit’s website. And all transit users have an obligation to familiarize themselves with the service they are using.

But that doesn’t absolve drivers from ensuring their customers do understand the rules and regulations that they are obligated to enforce.

That is the essence of customer service: delivering a product or service that meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations.

BC Transit says it did everything right.

What it should be asking is, “What could we have been done better?”

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