We'll Call You - Greyhound (First Group)

Marketing's mystery caller couldn't resist all the publicity around the launch of the iconic American coach servcie in the UK, so he rang up to ask when he could get on board.

First Group - Good morning, First Group. How may I direct your call?

Mktg - Hi. I was looking for customer services for Greyhound, actually, and I couldn't find it on their website.

First - Group Right, one moment.

Mktg - Thank you. [Mktg waits to be connected.]

First Group - Hi, you've reached the voicemail for [name]. I'm not here at the moment, but if you could leave your name and number then I'll get back to you soon.

[Mktg redials.]

First Group - Good morning, First Group. How may I direct your call?

Mktg - Hi, I think I just spoke to you a second ago - I'm looking for customer services for Greyhound. I just got put through to a woman, I think, called [name] or something.

First Group - [Name]? Yeah. I don't have a number because it's all fairly new - any calls I have, I have to direct to the marketing team.

Mktg - Oh, she's on the management team?

First Group - No. Marketing, marketing. They're taking all the calls. They might be able to help you, but I don't know if there is a customer services yet. It's not up and running.

Mktg - Oh, right. I thought it had started.

First Group - No, it doesn't start until the 14th, or something, of September, I think it is.

Mktg - Ah, OK. I'm with you now. Will there be a customer services in the next couple of weeks, do you think?

First Group - That's why I put you through to [name], because we can't answer any questions. I've been told to pass all the calls regarding Greyhound to our marketing team.

Mktg - OK. Could you just try for me again?

First Group - Yeah, I could try someone else.

Mktg - Great. Thank you very much.

[Mktg waits as call is connected.]

First Group - Thank you. Good morning, [name] speaking.

Mktg - Hi, sorry, is that Greyhound?

First Group - You're through to the marketing department at First Group, yes.

Mktg - Yeah, I was just looking for some more information.

First Group - OK, how can I help?

Mktg - When does it actually launch?

First Group - It launches on 14 September.

Mktg - OK. Basically, I regularly use National Express etc. and I just wanted to see how the services differed, really. With Greyhound, I travelled around America a few years ago and I didn't have the greatest experience. So, I was wondering how it differs in the UK.

First Group - It is a different service. We've pitched it differently in the UK compared to National Express. Our main extra features, I guess, are wi-fi, extra legroom - 20% more then standard coaches...

Mktg - You've got wi-fi?

First Group - Yes, power sockets as well. Reclining seats, free Newspapers. And obviously, most of our offers are to be put online. It going to start from a £1 plus booking fee.

Mktg - I've travelled around America a few years ago. Is there much difference from it there?

First Group - It is.

Mktg - There were a few ex-cons on there and things like that. It was a bit random.

First Group - Our offering is different. We're mainly aiming at commuters and young professionals. You can find more information by visiting the website.

Mktg - There's more on the website. Excellent. What's the service that'll be starting, then?

First Group - Where are you based at now?

Mktg - Well, I live in London but I go to Wales.

First Group - OK, well... at the moment... We're... Apart from London Victoria. We're offering two services from there... one to Portsmouth and one to Southampton.

Mktg - Oh, right. Will that change in the future?

First Group - It may do. At the moment, 2009, they're the only services that we are offering. If these are successful, then we would hope that we could branch out to other areas.

Mktg - I'll keep my eye open then... OK, that's really good. Thanks a lot.

First Group - Bye.

Verdict - Despite regional press ads being run to back the launch, no customer service number had yet been put in place and I was passed around before being put through to someone who could help. I expected First Group to have prepared better.

Score - 3/10


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