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Thoughts on Transit | Ecolane Blog

5 Key Factors in Transit Customer Satisfaction That You Can Control

Posted by Ecolane on Wed, Nov 4, '15

Transportation Scheduling Software

The transit industry is no stranger to Customer Satisfaction Indexes (CSI), and those scores can make or break a business. In the transit world, we know that users can rate services on a variety of factors, ranging from cleanliness and comfort to fare prices and personnel. Instead of getting hung up on calculating an actual CSI score, focusing efforts on five factors that can be controlled and working towards improving those activities is recommended. By excelling at these, an overall CSI score can improve:

  1. Service Reliability

    Not surprisingly, service reliability rates high in transit CSI. Factors such as runs that arrive on schedule and overall punctuality are often cited. For transit agencies, service reliability is usually something that is very much in control. For agencies facing issues with run punctuality and scheduling, it may be time to evaluate internal processes. Why are these problems being experienced? Are they caused by factors that have to do with the scheduling software being used (or lack thereof) or do they have to do with personnel issues? Are fleet maintenance issues, like breakdowns, impacting services? If the scheduling system in use doesn’t allow dispatchers and drivers to focus on providing reliable and efficient service, it might be time to consider a new process or software. Quality software which allows transit managers to monitor and assess system and employee performance in real-time can lead to higher productivity and service reliability, which equals increased customer satisfaction.


  2. Service Characteristics

    Service characteristics include factors such as service frequency and daily service time. This also has a lot to do with scheduling systems and processes, and is closely related to service reliability. If a route is scheduled to run every 25 minutes, for example, but the routes run late, it will severely impact customer satisfaction and potentially lead to negative domino effects within other areas of an operation. It is obviously important to provide routes that meet consumer demand, such as routes running during peak travel times. Keeping those routes running on schedule to keep riders on their schedule is the ultimate goal. Increasing ridership and their overall satisfaction while maintaining reliability can be achieved.

  3. Information

    Information is likely the easiest factor to control for transit agencies. This includes the availability of schedule/maps at bus stops and the availability of information by phone and online. With communities becoming more web and mobile dependent everyday, consumers are expecting to have information available at their fingertips when they want it. Agencies should be looking at ways of increasing the availability of real-time data for scheduling purposes. This will not only improve customer satisfaction, it will also help maximize efficiency and reduce costs elsewhere in the organization. Implementing reliable transit software that assists dispatchers and drivers manage, monitor, and assess system and route performance in real-time will help to ensure scheduling and routes are always up-to-date.

  4. Customer Services

    The Customer Services category on the transit CSI references the difficulty or simplicity of calling for rides and the administration of complaints. Can consumers request a ride by phone or online? Can they do it on a mobile device? If a consumer has a complaint, who do they contact, how can they make contact, and how soon will it be addressed? If an agency works to streamline these systems for simplicity and accessibility, both customer satisfaction and ridership will increase.

  5. Environment

    Factors such as an agency’s use of eco-friendly vehicles are taken into consideration within this category. Is a vehicle fleet working towards reducing emissions or incorporating other ways to build a sustainable infrastructure? Some examples include transit agencies using solar canopies and lights at bus garages and shelters, utilizing electric vehicles and charging stations for Vanpool and Vanshare programs, or using recycled material for new construction projects. Incorporating green initiatives can go a long way towards increasing overall customer satisfaction and favorability for an agency.

If an agency focuses on these 5 areas of the transit CSI, increasing a customer satisfaction score is within reach. You can control the Service Reliability, Service Characteristics, Information, Customer Services, and Environment categories by working towards maximizing efficiency and overall scheduling capabilities for your agency.

Transit Software

About the Ecolane Blog

 

Ecolane's blog is geared towards readers who are interested in perspective, opinion and strategy on the transit industry, scheduling and dispatch software technologies and related topics. 

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