National Rail – Happy to talk, not so happy to listen


I hate this. The Chief Exec of National Rail gets down there with the kids and signs his emails personally. he cares about us customers, and signs it with his first name only. He knows us so well, we’re mates, known each other for years, bezzies even. Thanks Chris, call me John, or Johnny to my friends. He even cares about whether I enjoyed the Royal Wedding.

I know, I’ll tell him I loved it.

Yes Chris, I thought it was great, best of British, just like our rail service.

But do we believe he cares? No, not really. He has sent out the clearest posible signal that he doesn’t want to listen to ANYTHING we have to say. He’s talking at us, not with us. There is no listening involved. He doesn’t care what we say. he’s sent it from a ‘noreply’ email address. I presume this means we can’t reply.

A lovely Personalised email from Chris, our friendly Chief Executive of National Rail
A lovely Personalised email from Chris, our friendly Chief Executive of National Rail

Living proof that he doesn’t care enough to listen to us, but he’s happy to hawk the new services that have been designed with us in mind.

So ask yourself if you should care enough to use his service. Well, probably you should as it’s still better than And ask yourself again, whether you ever do this with your own clients.



National Rail have responded on Twitter almost immediately, which is good and they;ve commented below. Good work team, maybe now change the email send address?

National Rail reply on Twitter
National Rail reply on Twitter

Further update

Okay, National Rail DO listen and they Do care.

Twitter can really have some power if you use it as a listening tool. How good is this?

National Rail - A minor triumph for the little man
National Rail - A minor triumph for the little man

7 thoughts on “National Rail – Happy to talk, not so happy to listen

    1. It’s good to see you are listening.

      I would still argue that people want to reply to emails, not click through to another site.

      if it is coming from your CEO Chris and he cares enough to speak to us, then allow him to see what people come back and say. Otherwise, why not just send it out from your ‘customer relations team’?

  1. One simple question: Why does any business need a ‘customer relations team’? Don’t frontline staff relate to customers themselves? I suspect we already know the answer to that…

    1. You’re right Richard, it’s the general abdication of responsibility for looking after people. Creating leaders throughout the organisation and customer champions in every team.

      Social media has caught this one and it’s worked well for them, but there’s no disguising the fact that it is everyone’s responsibility to look after the customers.

      Email campaigns, twitter feeds and hiding behind a wall of web facing people can often totally overlook this.

  2. It drives me crazy, impersonal internet sites think they have the right to call me by my Christian name. I just hate it. British Airways, to their credit, never do this. If they can address people properly, so can the rest of the internet world.

    1. It could be worse Mr Farmer, Virgin address you with the delightful ‘Hello Gorgeous’!

      (I don’t quite dare call you Nick now)

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