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#HumansOfSupport is a storytelling series by Help Scout featuring support professionals sharing their experiences working in customer service.
Strangers on a Train

I work for a train booking service, and the people who email us are often stressed out — they’re trying to plan their holiday, or they’re on holiday and things aren’t going right. I had one customer who was traveling with his wife and child, and misunderstood how seating worked when he booked a specific overnight train (he accidentally booked gender-specific compartments, and he and his family was separated). Rail operators don’t allow us to choose specific seats on trains, so there’s often little I can do to help in situations like this one. But in this instance I was able to secure the extra berth he needed in my own basket, and then release it back into the booking system exactly when he was ready to purchase it. He was “randomly” assigned that berth and placed with his family.

The story for me isn’t so much that I was able to help this customer, but that we were able to work together in tandem to solve his problem. I felt like we had a real connection, which can be lacking with frustrated customers — people often won’t treat you like a human if you can’t resolve issues the way they want them resolved. I feel best not just when I can solve a problem, but when both parties see each other as humans and a brief little connection is made.

Catherine Bodry

Catherine works on the customer support team at Loco2, a search engine for train tickets in the UK & across Europe. Connect with her on LinkedIn.