Bus Roadeo Coverage and Some Friday Fun

We now have video coverage from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus Roadeo available on our website in the Media Center. The new videos include:

Our latest Mass Transit TV episode, sponsored by SinglePoint Communications, includes coverage of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s new music and videos from Transit Boyz, a new and entertaining way to promote public transit. And there’s also highlights from the Roadeo and Customer Service Challenge, including an interview with APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy and International Bus Roadeo Chair Mike Hennessy.

Houston Metro’s Transit Boyz’s “Ballad of the Boyz.” Their recently released video to promote transit use, created by Metro’s in-house marketing department.

APTA Bus Roadeo 2012 – Michael Melaniphy includes Melaniphy’s full interview of the Roadeo, talking about what it was like for him when he competed as an operator, what the operators do for the Bur Roadeo and the Customer Service Challenge, and what the mechanics face in their competition.

APTA Bus Roadeo 2012 – Mike Hennessy includes Hennessy’s full interview talking about the Roadeo and what the course entails, how teams get to this level, and a summary of the various components of the maintenance competition.

Leah Harnack – Editor and Bus Driver Extraordinaire … Almost features me navigating the Roadeo Course. Luckily the music drowns out the words I’m saying, but the facial expressions give away what I’m saying. When you need a quick break and good laugh, it’s time to check out this video!

The teams prepare a long time for the competition and there were so many good stories to be heard around the course.

One board member was going to take her maintenance team out to dinner the night before the event but they spent the evening studying up for the challenge.

Hennessy also introduced me to Penny Foster of Yakima Transit who had never competed in a Roadeo before and made it all the way to this elite level. After finding others to take over her shifts and raising the money needed to come, she made it to Long Beach. And she made it all the way to a finalist on the Customer Service Challenge!

Melaniphy talks in his interview about how much has changed at the Roadeo over the years when you look at the evolution of the technology. Mirroring that sentiment was the keynote speaker for the APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference, “Wired: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to Do About it,” by John R. Patterson.

Patterson had the crowd laughing with his stories exemplifying not-so-great customer service and it created an entertaining session that got everyone thinking about what they could be doing to improve their customer service skills for themselves, and their agency or company.

He started with two great quotes, “Greatness does not come from asking the customer what they want and then giving them what they require. It is understanding the customer well enough to give them what they desire even if it is unexpressed.” – Len Berry and Sandra Lampo.

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou.

Both quotes express his point that the customers’ perspective about the experience they have is the only thing that counts.

And for those thinking they don’t deal with “the customers,” he reminded the crows that everyone has customers, whether that means external riders or buyers or the internal coworkers from other departments.

The theme of the presentation was that with this hi-tech, hi-touch world, we don’t get as many chances today. People are connected in to technology which makes it quick-and-easy to share information, especially those bad customer service experiences.

People expect more than they used to because they have: More choices, More technology/information, Great service.

He used a triangle graphic to show how you can build customer satisfaction and loyalty. The base of the pyramid is to provide the necessary. The end result is the outcome expected. Patterson’s example was when he gets on a flight to LA and he gets to LA, the basic service was provided.

The second step of the pyramid was to add ease. If you make it easier, you get to customer satisfaction. However, he reminded the group that satisfaction doesn’t buy much as 75 percent of customers have said they left a service provider even though they were satisfied.

Step three, add engagement. This connection will build loyalty.

Add an extra surprise for step four and that will delight the customer.

At the top of the pyramid? He said to add exhilaration, it’s like the cherry on top. An example he had was for the Morris Mini Cooper that when you purchase a new one, you get the “birth certificate” and can track its progress online. They also have billboards with RFID technology and if your car drives near, it sends a personalized message to you on the billboard.

Patterson stressed that old adage, when you always do what you’ve always done, you get what you always got.

Some things to consider are involve the customer from the very beginning and always learn about the customer. Also, remember what they expect:

  • Understand Me: Know more than you have before
  • Surprise Me: Put a cherry on the experience
  • Include Me: Create an owners group, a riders group
  • Protect Me: Give me comfort and consistency to build trust
  • Teach Me: Help me learn something new