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Major improvements in Service issue resolution at St. Catharines Transit

2012 First Street Louth, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3V9, Canada

At a Glance

By automating its Customer Service issue management process, City-owned St. Catharines Transit Commission significantly improved staff & public satisfaction, and provided digital performance measurement for monitoring by senior management.

Problem Addressed

St. Catharines Transit provides public transit services to the Ontario, Canada cities of St. Catharines and Thorold, and shares delivery of regional transit needs in the Niagara Region. In 2019, St. Catharines Transit provided 5.3 million passenger trips with 71 conventional transit buses and 150 bus operators.

The initial objective of the project was to create a better way to track customer service issues and requests, to ensure proper follow-up, communication, and resolution. Information was being collected by a call taker, filled out on paper forms, then given to a supervisor to contact the bus operator. These forms could get lost and the problems would frequently not be resolved within the desired timeframes. There was also no way for the person reporting the problem to get updates along the way, or for management to measure the effectiveness of the process.

Additionally, the Transit Commission uses sophisticated GPS and CCTV monitoring technology on all transit vehicles. This invaluable data/information could not be easily connected to Customer Service issues in a timely nor automated manner. They were seeking a better way to take advantage of this technology investment.

St. Catharines Transit Commission used/is using Public Service Request cloud solutions to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Public Service Request provided St. Catharines Transit with a solution that required very little setup and training to get started. The solution works on all desktops, tablets, and phones that were already in use. The small amount of training that was needed was able to be done remotely to reduce cost and fit everyone's schedules. The minimal training, cost, and the lack of time needed by IT for the PSR solution allowed St. Catharines to be live and productive quickly.

With PSR, the information is quickly and easily entered into the system in as little as 30 seconds. The system automatically routes the request to the correct department/supervisor based on the issue. The request is automatically assigned to a person, the key to that statement is a person. Someone is responsible for dealing with it or delegating it. The person reporting the issue, whether it is an internal staff member or a customer, is automatically kept aware of progress without any additional work or steps by the person handling the request.

The system is so simple to use and so effective it soon evolved into things like recording when a bus stop was damaged, light bulbs needing to be replaced, IT challenges, etc. Issues that St. Catharines did not track in the past.

St. Catharines Transit uses the system to generate monthly statistical reports for their Commission as well as other management reporting for oversight and root cause analysis.

Outcomes

  1. An inexpensive & simple to use system that automated customer service / work requests and internal communications across the organization, with very little setup and training required.
  2. St. Catharines has completed over 1,300 requests while also providing reporting to the commission and management, including links to in-bus and terminal CCTV footage attached to requests.
  3. Customer Service "Playback Reports" related to GPS-sourced bus position (early/late etc.) are now attached to Service Requests to identify route/equipment/operator issue trends & specifics.
  4. St. Catharines Transit initially started with 34 members of the staff plus management and are planning to give their 150 drivers access to the system.
  5. The Transit Commission will be opening the system to the Public from their website and Facebook page, to create their own service requests & then follow each step to resolution.

Lessons Learned

  1. Customer Service is about not letting things fall through the cracks & prompt follow-up. Accomplish this almost overnight using simple and inexpensive cloud-based technology. Don't wait!

Something Unique

As St. Catharines and Thorold Transit Commission adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have opened the PSR system up to all employees to be able to report any of their COVID-19 related concerns. This request can be anonymous if sensitive.

Who Should Consider?

Small / medium municipality, county, utility or transit system operator needing an intuitive Customer Service request management and workflow system. Include the rest of your "Service Network" easily.

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