Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Service Recovery after Disaster - getting service back on track


The radio networks that allow communication between train drivers and central control rooms are critical to safety infrastructure. If the radios fail, trains cannot operate.

On May 2nd 2004, the Siemens-supplied train radio system had a network-wide failure which lasted several hours. Fortunately the outage occurred on a Sunday - if it happened on any other day, there would have been chaos on the entire rail network.

Siemens state manager John Chapman, realising the critical nature of this incident, rushed to the Railcorp control room and worked with the Railcorp CEO to schedule buses to ensure minimal passenger disruption.

Finally, when the radio network was restored, John turned to the CEO and said "this is going to cost us isn't it?".

The CEO's response was "let's split the bill".

What could have been a very expensive litigious issue was solved with a handshake because John had given up his Sunday and worked with his customer to return them to normal operations.

You can have great service but your service quality is only truly tested when you are in a service recovery situation.
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Company: Siemens and Railcorp
Source: Mike Adams conversations with former NSW Siemens state manager John Chapman
Reference:
Story Type: Business Purpose; Values
Labels: Service Recovery; Customer Service; Disaster Recovery
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For Story Students
The Setting: 2nd May 2004, Sydney, Australia, Citylink Metro rail system
The Complications: The train radio system failed for several hours which stopped the entire train network. Siemens was the supplier of the train radio equipment and Railcorp was the train operator
The Turning Point: Siemens and Railcorp worked over the weekend to schedule buses while the radio network was being repaired
The Resolution: The Railcorp CEO agreed to split the difference on the cost of the failure
The Point of the Story: The Railcorp CEO agreed to split the difference on the cost of the failure
How to use this story: When talking about Service and service recovery
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