Customer Service at Fionn MacCool’s in Oakville

I have been to a few of these throughout Ontario, mostly in Toronto. Great times, good food and drink, though a little over priced. I was attending an event nearby and needed dinner after braving rush hour traffic out of Toronto. I had a choice between a Japanese Restaurant nearby and Fionn MacCool’s. I would have preferred Japanese food, (I’m a big fan of sushi), but today I really needed the wi-fi. There was a Starbucks nearby, so just in case it didn’t have it, I might be able to pick up a nearby signal.

I was greeted very politely and I asked about their wi-fi. They didn’t have it set up yet, but I figured I could at least get a few words down and then hop over to Starbucks if I was desperate. It turns out that their wifi is actually working, since I’m writing this. I decided what to order and then did my Foursquare check-in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had a special here! It read: “Today from 4-6 pm enjoy 2 for 1 drinks!” It did not specify a day, just that I had to check in to unlock it. So I did.

After waiting a short time and no one came to serve me, I asked a waitress nearby as to who my server would be. She offered to take my drink order and I showed her the special. When she said it was only available on Friday’s, I suggested that she might want to show it to her managers to double check. I’ve had a couple of servers not be aware of what specials are available or they are new. I’m okay with that. What surprised me that when she returned, she said that they weren’t going to honour it. What? What would it have cost you to do honour an error on your part? It’s not like there was a table full of us, it was just me. I ordered my meal anyway and resisted the temptation to get up and leave. Needless to say, I’m going to finish my meal (that the same waitress brought me), finish my single glass of wine and head over to Starbucks… and never come back. You’ve just made my mind up about you, Fionn. I’m done.

By the way, from a social media perspective, if they were smart, they would pay attention to this blog post and fix the problem with their check-in and make it right by me. It’s something small, but it didn’t have to be made into a big problem.

PS. I can’t even tell which Twitter handle to use to add them to this post.

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TTC Naming Stations After Corporate Sponsors

I realize that the most logical thing to do when naming stations is to name them based on locations. But, what if those stations never get built because there is no money to build them? How is it any different from allowing corporations to name our stadiums and buildings after themselves? Now, they even change the names nevermind building new ones. Look at what they did with SkyDome (and yes, it will always be the “Dome” to me).

I’d make the corporations pay for the drilling to the new station, the construction of the station itself and for the first five years of maintenance such as cleaning and facilities. If they want to pay that much, let them. Who benefits? Potentially their own employees and most definitely the general public. Let them put their money where their mouth is. In return, they get it named for no less than 25 years, provided they don’t breach the agreement.

So, who will step up?

My TTC Ride Today

Seems like a pretty enough title and usually my rides on “The Better Way” in Toronto are pretty uneventful and sometimes enjoyable. But I guess that’s because I always take the same route more or less. Today was not one of those days. I enjoyed the trips well enough, but maybe not the supporting processes (Spoken like a true ITM’er at TRSM)

I went through Finch Station on my way to an interview. I have to give credit to Trip Planner because so far, it has never failed me. The timings are pretty damn accurate, both with when the next vehicle will arrive and estimated time to arrival at the destination. It even gives me a couple of options. I will first say, that I thoroughly enjoyed the rides both there and back home today, especially with the wonderful weather.

There are definitely some improvements I would love to see happen with their planner. What if I don’t know exactly what street I’m on or which transit line I’m on. For example, I took one bus to get to my destination today, but figured I would walk to the other end of the building and get on the bus there since it was a nice day. Someone told me that I could catch one to a closer LRT station than the one planned out. Thought I would give it a try. What I would loved to have seen is how I can somehow plug in my GPS location on my phone to find out where I am AND how I can use this as my starting point and time to plan my trip most efficiently. This is helpful especially if I’m part way through my trip and need to change, because of a re-routing, for example. Just a thought with today’s access to Open Data and mash-ups. There has to be a way to take where I am now and figure out how to get where I’m going, much like Google Maps.

I had to get some tokens when I went back in to Finch Station. I was taking a bus into the station and leaving on another. The shelter there is pretty big and I’m sure that it would be very easy to install one or both of a token machine and metropass machine. I had to go down into the station and out by the turnstiles to purchase tokens. It doesn’t end there.

I had to purchase tokens from one of the two staff people on duty. There were no machines even on the outside of the paid area. I had to take a transfer (waste of paper), come around to one of the staffed booths and purchase them there. Imagine my surprise when I saw an interac machine there! Great, so I can hang onto my cash and use my interac card to purchase my tokens. “Oh, no” says the TTC employee, “cash only”. So I can use my interac card to buy my metropass, but not tokens, when it takes the same amount of time? Does that make sense to anyone else? Please enlighten me.

I hope that the Customer Service Advisory Panel takes a few of these things into account while they are renovating the Finch Station and their overall customer service. Here’s what putting one or both of these machines will do:

1. Saves customers time and energy because they can serve themselves while waiting for their bus rather than wasting time going to the main entrance and missing it.

2. Takes the onus of so many customers in a single area away and reduces the number of people waiting in line to get their purchase. There were always at least 3 in line at any given time.

3. By accepting Interac payments for all of their methods of payment for fares, it reduces the need to keep cash on hand at the booths and potentially reduces the security risks and loss with handling cash.

Some of these seem very simple, especially with the strides that the TTC has made in recent years and hopes to make in the coming years. All it takes is putting a couple of extra machines that you probably will buy anyway in a very strategic place that could potentially boost your sales and improve customer satisfaction. Just sayin’.