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Dial-A-Ride: Clear Example of the Need for Greater Professionalism

July 29, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I sent the following letter to the quality assurance manager of Dial-A-Ride following a conversation he had with Karen this afternoon.

Hi Andrew,

Karen and I just spoke at length regarding the telephone discussion the two of you had this afternoon. First, please understand that Karen and I appreciate your taking some ownership of yesterday’s incident and doing your best to make some adjustments. We really do appreciate that. Second, we both fully understand that Dial-A-Ride is a shared ride service, that it (like all other systems in the known universe) is imperfect and that, from time to time, there are bound to be problems. When problems do arise, all we ask is that your organization’s staff hold themselves accountable, take ownership and make real, sincere, reasonable best efforts at resolving the issues. As in just about any other business, we expect representatives to take ownership and responsibility of all matters from start to finish. The following basic steps would go a very, very long way toward resolving any issues:

  1. When there is an error, acknowledge it right away.
  2. Sincerely apologize.
  3. Expedite any adjustments as needed to reduce the negative consequences.
  4. When adjustments just can’t be made, provide a free trip or send some tickets.
  5. Investigate and provide real answers.

That’s all there is to it. We just would like you guys to do your best to follow those basic five steps. We feel they are pretty much universally good practices across all aspects of life. You mentioned your feeling that the number of e-mails we send and telephone calls we make concerning issues are “excessive” and that we need to understand that “we are not the only passengers”. Karen is in the hospitality industry and I am in the technical customer support industry. Under no circumstances are we permitted to make statements like these when dealing with customer service issues. It would be, at a minimum, considered highly unprofessional. Our supervisors would certainly be speaking with us. We would most certainly be written up or, worse yet, fired for repeated incidents. Please understand that you and other members of your staff will receive fewer e-mails and telephone calls from us when we observe practices of greater accountability,
professionalism, responsibility and taking ownership of issues.

Best regards,


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One opinion on “Dial-A-Ride: Clear Example of the Need for Greater Professionalism

  1. That was a very well-written letter Darrell. I sincerely hope that greater efforts will be made to treat customers such as you and Karen with care and professionalism. As I stated in an earlier post on your site, one of the reasons I gave up using my state’s paratransit system was the lack of professionalism. But there are, as I have found, other ways of getting around. Paratransit isn’t the only area in which I’ve seen professionalism lacking though. I have also seen it in my state’s VR agency. On more than one occasion, my mother and I have both been yelled at over the phone by supervisors of this agency. Not only that, but nobody has ever bothered to notify clients when we are getting new counselors for whatever reason. To date this has happened three times. My first VR counselor just suddenly disappeared and was never heard from again. When my mom and I finally had had enough of the games being played, she decided to call one of the central offices for the Bureau of Blind Services. After being told very rudely that we should have taken the responsibility to know where this counselor was, my mother was told that he had retired and that I would be getting a new counselor. Two more instances of this have happened since then. I realize we’re dealing with a very big agency serving many clients from all over the state, but one would think that the agency would take responsibility to notify clients of any changes. After all that’s what I’ve been told by my counselors, that they or someone else will contact the clients regarding a change in our services. The same is true for the appeal process, and with everything else regarding VR services.

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