I’m not a regular commuter, thank goodness!

Today I took the train into Liverpool Street for a meeting, then needed a tube to meeting two and was getting a lift home from there. Simple enough round trip.

In my rush to catch the first train I purchased the wrong ticket at the machine, there was no buy from a person option. By mistake and in haste, I purchased a return.

What can we learn from this?


Just before I caught the tube, I made an enquiry with a real person (I use the term loosely) as to the possibility of refunding the return part of my journey that I purchased in error. They didn’t think they could refund but agreed to ask a manager (again I use the term loosely).

No problem, they can refund it, but they have to charge an admin fee.

Great I thought, sensible I thought, how good is that I thought, but I was celebrating a little too soon.

Ah, given it’s now off peak, even though I purchased more expensive peak time tickets, they could only refund the off peak price. So by the time they apply their admin charge, I owed them £1.80 for not using their train!

Nonsense, but I was in a playful mood. So I offered the young lady £2.00 and asked for 20p change. Boy was she confused.

It doesn’t make sense for you to pay more money to cancel your ticket and not use the train.

Precisely I said, but if those are your rules I’d hate to break them. Can I have my change please?

But I can’t give you change as I can’t open the cash draw without a purchase, and this is for a refund I can’t give you. I’m confused.

Never mind, keep the change I said as I smiled and walked away leaving a very puzzled cashier confused and £2.00 richer.

Do your systems and procedures make sense? Are they focused on your customer’s best possible experience?