Metro Magazine

JUN 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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34 < m ETRO m AGAZINE JUNE 2014 As competition in the motorcoach in- dustry increases and operations look for ways to maintain and grow their cus- tomer bases, responding to the custom- er's needs has become even more vital. While spotting trends, diversifying business and being prepared to provide transportation for niche markets have become important, so too have moni- toring passengers' travel patterns and simply asking if they enjoyed their trip as well as what they'd like to see improved. "In our view, it's 100 percent about the customer," says Pete Worthington, VP, coach & tour, at New Britain, Conn.- based DATTCO. "If they want some- How to Improve Motorcoach Customer Satisfaction thing, be it a service or amenity, we try to fulfll their needs whenever possible." RESPONSIVENESS Keeping in line with its mission to un- derstand what its customers value, and then, exceeding those expectations, Minneapolis' Jefferson Lines began a customer satisfaction survey program in May 2012. "We spend a significant amount of money acquiring passengers and would really like to retain them, so when they do decide to invest and put their trust in us, we want to deliver the best expe- rience possible so they keep coming back," says Steve Woelfel, president at Jeferson Lines. Woelfel adds maintaining passengers is extra important to his operation since the biggest chunk of its business portfo- lio is fxed-route intercity bus routes. In addition to that, he adds that his oper- ation relies on word of mouth market- ing to grow ridership. As a result, the key question Jefferson Lines is most inter- ested in is "Would you recommend us to a friend?" "Word-of-mouth marketing is so im- portant to us, and with that in mind, we really must focus on the customer's expe- rience," says Woelfel. As competition gets tougher, many motorcoach operators are exploring ways to both maintain and grow their customer bases, including taking action on items mentioned in customer surveys and diversifying both their business models and feets to be able to move into niche markets. BY ALEX ROMAN, Managing Editor SURVEY Excellent Good Average Poor Uncertain

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