I don’t just moan. I don’t only complain. I like to offer my thanks when I have received good service too. And when I left my suitcase on the train the other week, I received excellent customer service from First Great Western.
This is not a complaint. I repeat – this is not a complaint.
Having spent 17 years of my life living in Reading, First Great Western or whatever you are called now, do not tend to have the greatest (like my pun?!) reputation.
Perhaps somewhat unfairly, as I thought it was often the bottleneck at Reading station that caused a lot of problems – and given that it took 10+ years for the Labour government at the time to agree to expand and replace it, I know exactly who to blame for that. Though I am also going to blame Brexit.
Anyway, two weeks ago, I was due to DJ in Reading. I live in London now, and popped onto the train with my hand baggage and small suitcase, which I stowed overhead.
I sat there with my friend, having a nice beer as the houses, offices, flats, apartments, offices, Slough and occasional annoying pockets of countryside went by. DOWN WITH THE GREEN BELT.
I got off the train at the other end, headed to the pub, whilst discussing which pub to go to, when I realised that I had left my suitcase on the train.
Bollocks! I wasn’t even drunk. Just two pints of beer. It wasn’t like I was off my head on ketamine or anything. Just two simple pints of beer. And a couple of strawberries (I’m getting old and boring).
The train had long gone, on its way to Westbury (could have been worse!). I went to the customer service desk (the ticket buying part), after a while they advised me to go to the helpdesk at Reading station and wait.
I waited around 15-20 minutes for my Reading Station Customer Ambassador to become available – Varun was his name.
I explained my situation – my music and headphones were in my suitcase and I was due to start DJing at 10pm. Not only that but that I am the only minimal techno DJ to ever play in Reading and that my 4 fans would be distraught if they were to go without their monthly selection of very long and exceptionally repetitive Romanian minimal techno tracks.
Varun explained that there was next to no chance that I would get my suitcase, the process was that it would remain in Westbury, and if I could not collect it within 48 hours (I think he said 48) that it would go to Bristol lost property centre.
Neither of these would be very helpful in terms of DJing, and being unemployed with a monthly income after rent of £80 (do you know anyone that needs a website building?), collecting my bag was prohibitively expensive.
He said he would see what he could do.
4 pints later, and a lot of worrying about how I was going to afford to collect my suitcase, and hell, whether I had actually lost it forever – I’ve already lost two pairs of expensive headphones during my DJ career (or more accurately they were stolen by chavvy scumbags), I had a call from Varun. My suitcase was on the way back to Reading station.
So I would like to thank GWR/FGW/FDR/whoever for employing Varun and allowing him the opportunity to provide such good customer service. Please do ensure that he receives my thank you, and if you can give him a pay-rise or a bonus, or some kind of service award for his endeavour that would be much appreciated.
I guess this exceptional service makes up for the time 6 years ago when I “accidentally” forgot to buy a ticket and got caught by your Nazi’s at Reading train station, and fined £20. I shall now no longer refer to your revenue inspectors as Nazi’s.
By the way, I didn’t play any minimal techno in the end, I played more of an understated underground house sound. Something a bit like my mix here – https://www.mixcloud.com/jameswinfield/coal/
In summary, I know I blab on a lot:
1. Varun needs a promotion/pay rise/bonus/slap on the back.
2. I make websites and if you know anyone that needs a website please let me know.
3. I am also a minimal techno DJ – feel free to check out my mixes.
4. Your revenue folks are not really Nazi’s.
5. Varun is ace.
Dear J Winfield
It’s good to know we’re getting things right
Thank you for your form, and for your lovely comments about Varun in our team at Reading.
We work really hard to make sure we give our customers great service, and we set very high standards for our teams. So your comments have made our day.
We’ll let them know what you said
We will of course let Varun know what you said – he will be really happy to hear it, and that you appreciate the effort he makes.
Thanks again for getting in touch
We’re always pleased to hear when our teams are doing us proud. We hope you’ll be just as happy with our service the next time you travel with us. Also, thank you for the interesting form.
Customer Support Advisor
First Greater Western Limited