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Dunroamin

Ferry broken down and no fix until after holidays!

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I good friend of mine works for the racket. He has had a fantastic day. One woman told him that she hopes he "gets cancer and nobody helps".

I hope that that call was recorded for 'training purposes' and it somehow gets leaked as a 'name and shame' exercise. Alternatively, SP could introduce a zero tolerance policy to verbal abuse of its staff and start dishing out bans. By all means criticise the management for the way they handle the communications, but staff trying to do their best should not have to deal with this crap. A similar attitude is often shown to NHS staff and it's unacceptable.

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Being vile to the people who are working hard to help you is shocking behaviour obviously. After a day absent of proper communication from the IoMSPC and then over an hour and a half trying to get through to them on the phone, I was hardly delighted with them. More so when the lady who took my call broke the news that it was going to be a two and a half day delay for me. Nevertheless, it was clearly a 'don't shoot the messenger' situation, and the call was quick and polite. As was said earlier, we can't expect new boats to be summoned by magic.

 

That said, when things like this happen, the one thing that really, really riles passengers is bad communication. From watching the news from today's Kings Cross rail fiasco, it wasn't the rail delays themselves that people were complaining about. It was crap communication. When people are given proper information about a bad situation, most of them will actually be quite reasonable about it, even stoic. Keep them in the dark and they get angry.

 

The Steam Packet knows it will have significant problems from time-to-time. It must surely have a plan for that. It's 2014 and they have local media, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, text messaging and (not least) their own website on hand. They seem to have failed to use any of them effectively. Instead they let everyone pile up on the phone, one-by-one. Surely also knowing that as a result, when many did finally get through, a lot of time would then be wasted with 'venting'. At around 7.00pm tonight, their (mainly engaged) Sailing Information Line message hadn't been updated since (IIRC) 11.15am.

 

It will be interesting to hear what the CEO has to say about this inept management / leadership.

 

My thanks to those at the IoMSPC and elsewhere who are no doubt working hard to fix this mess.

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Now booked on the sailing from Heysham on Tuesday, so got three days to fill, hotels to pay for etc.

 

It took me almost one and half hours on hold to get through, God knows what my mobile phone bill will be.

 

I did feel sorry for the woman who answered the phone, she sounded totally done in.

 

This little exercise will no doubt be very expensive for the Steam Packet, what with the 50% refunds they are giving and costs they will have to cover.

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Being vile to the people who are working hard to help you is shocking behaviour obviously. After a day absent of proper communication from the IoMSPC and then over an hour and a half trying to get through to them on the phone, I was hardly delighted with them. More so when the lady who took my call broke the news that it was going to be a two and a half day delay for me. Nevertheless, it was clearly a 'don't shoot the messenger' situation, and the call was quick and polite. As was said earlier, we can't expect new boats to be summoned by magic.

 

That said, when things like this happen, the one thing that really, really riles passengers is bad communication. From watching the news from today's Kings Cross rail fiasco, it wasn't the rail delays themselves that people were complaining about. It was crap communication. When people are given proper information about a bad situation, most of them will actually be quite reasonable about it, even stoic. Keep them in the dark and they get angry.

 

The Steam Packet knows it will have significant problems from time-to-time. It must surely have a plan for that. It's 2014 and they have local media, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, text messaging and (not least) their own website on hand. They seem to have failed to use any of them effectively. Instead they let everyone pile up on the phone, one-by-one. Surely also knowing that as a result, when many did finally get through, a lot of time would then be wasted with 'venting'. At around 7.00pm tonight, their (mainly engaged) Sailing Information Line message hadn't been updated since (IIRC) 11.15am.

 

It will be interesting to hear what the CEO has to say about this inept management / leadership.

 

My thanks to those at the IoMSPC and elsewhere who are no doubt working hard to fix this mess.

 

Really? What a graceless age we live in.

 

Some people need to develop an appreciation of what they have, rather than what they have not.

 

If the problem manifested itself before the morning sailing, then there was a press release done and on the radio by 8 am. Pretty good communication in my book.

(I turned up at the airport for a flight recently to only then be told it had been cancelled. No warning text or chance to make plans.)

 

On a Saturday, between Xmas and New Year I imagine Steam Packet management were pretty busy trying to come up with a plan B which

they could put in place and communicate later in the day. Which they did. I have seen it on their website, local media and their Facebook page.

 

I was told they have the same Xmas related issues as any of us, staff away on leave, staff unable or unwilling to come in because no one to look after kids etc or families over....

Their staff are entitled to enjoy Xmas just as you would. I'm sure they didn't plan to have the Ben fall over at such an inconvenient time!

 

It is fairly difficult to replace a missing ship, yet despite all the problems they have pulled two ships into service in a day. Pretty good going by my book.

 

So why don't you get off your perfect high horse and recognise real world problems - be grateful for what you have. The alternative could be far worse.

Edited by Silver Surfer
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Just got through after more than 30 minutes on hold, which in itself was after ringing for seemingly ages to get an engaged tone. No space for the car until Tuesday night.

 

This sort of thing is not exactly a one-off occurrence with the SP, so they really should have plans already in place, rather than having to think one up on the hoof. If nothing else they could improve their communications procedures so that the phone message periodically told you where you were in the queue, instead of just rambling on about making sure you visit the shop to buy fragrances etc. People cope with inconvenience pretty well if they're sure the problem is being sorted fairly, so the other thing they should put in place is to automatically bump people to the next available sailing that can accommodate them, and only get them to phone in if it is not acceptable for whatever reason.

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and of course, if they had run three round trips per day instead of two, which is theoretically feasible with Mannanan, they could have got everyone home by tomorrow. In fact they could, at a push, do 4 round trips per day if it runs to 2.15 per leg as that still leaves 6 hours of turn around time per day.

 

I suspect it comes down to number of crew available and restrictions on duty hours

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Far too sensible, Wrighty.

 

I was booked on this morning's sailing to Birkenhead.

 

The queue at the Sea Terminal yesterday morning was horrendous, so I didn't hang about there. I have not been able to get through on the phone, and the text that just tells me my sailing is cancelled was sent well after 9pm last night. The phone is still in melt-down this morning.

 

Classic case of "it's not what you do but the way that you do it".

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Really? What a graceless age we live in.

 

 

So why don't you get off your perfect high horse and recognise real world problems - be grateful for what you have. The alternative could be far worse.

Goodness. I post a comment which makes the point one should be polite to those one is dealing with, even when they're delivering bad news. I make no complaint about the lack of boat, or the time it takes to solve and I note that one can't expect easy solutions , I specifically include my thanks to those dealing with the problem. You call me 'graceless'. I'll leave it to others who lacks grace and good manners here.

 

As to real world problems, yes, obviously this is not Aleppo, Ebola or whatever. However just because 'worse things happen at sea', should we refuse to comment that the Steam Packet made a poor job of communicating? The substance of my comment was that communication makes a big difference to how passengers feel (and behave) in these circumstances, and in turn makes it easier (or harder) for the IoMSPC to deal with their customers. We live in an age where communication has never been easier, but the IoMSPC still made a poor job of it, and so made a bad situation worse. I stand by that, despite your insults.

 

Thanks again to those at the sharper end of this. It can't have been fun breaking bad news and dealing with irate people. Thanks again also to those who have provided useful info here.

 

PS. Where is the Steam Packet's Facebook page you refer to? If it exists, it isn't easy to find.

Edited by Yibble
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Interesting watching this thread whose posts are predictably split between the usual criticism (some very reasonable however to some reported completely unreasonable) to praise. Obviously nobody wants this sort of this especially the SP as it will cost them dearly but I'd wager that most of those praising are not travelling during the next few days. I'm not travelling but my son is marooned in the short term here but really has to be back at work so is now going by air and train at considerable extra expense and time. His UK employer definitely won't want to know why he can't get back as planned as it's not their problem. However, like many he must be back in time if at all possible.

 

Anything mechanical can break down and the more complex and aged it is, the more likely. However that said, the next few years will be the ultimate test as to whether this is one of a series of one-offs (if you see what I mean) or one of a series of a tired machine past its best.

 

You wouldn't keep an old car that you needed for a business unless

 

1) You didn't have to rely on it.

2) You had an alternative car

3) It wasn't costing a fortune to keep mobile

 

Whilst it's an imperfect parallel situation these aren't bad yardsticks to consider this issue. The BMC:

 

1) Absolutely has to be relied on.

2) Has no real winter time alternative.

3) Might well be costing a fortune to keep mobile which can lead on to other implications eg fares.

 

I am generally very OK with the service of the SP but it's a very different animal to what I (maybe with rose tints) remember in the 70s. Sure, it's got to make a profit and the 70s model clearly wouldn't now but the SP have a significant market advantage in return for a good year round service. It's very tempting when you're stuck to generally attack the service which is normally fairly good. However if in the future it gets worse, it's no good having a go at those who are justifiably moaning a bit. Personally, I would rather have two slow reasonably interchangeable vessels than the present arrangements.

 

Ultimately the good service is just about completely in SP hands. They know what's required to have a reliable vessel and adequate crew that ultimately makes money and its their responsibility to ensure they come up with the goods. They are liable for just about everything except the weather and a working ramp either end. Best not make snap judgements based on this highly inconvenient situation but if reliability does end up on a downward slope then I think the travelling public have a right to speak their mind assuming it's in a reasonable manner and to an appropriate audience.

Edited by ballaughbiker
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Really? What a graceless age we live in.

 

 

So why don't you get off your perfect high horse and recognise real world problems - be grateful for what you have. The alternative could be far worse.

Goodness. I post a comment which makes the point one should be polite to those one is dealing with, even when they're delivering bad news. I make no complaint about the lack of boat, or the time it takes to solve and I note that one can't expect easy solutions , I specifically include my thanks to those dealing with the problem. You call me 'graceless'. I'll leave it to others who lacks grace and good manners here.

 

As to real world problems, yes, obviously this is not Aleppo, Ebola or whatever. However just because 'worse things happen at sea', should we refuse to comment that the Steam Packet made a poor job of communicating? The substance of my comment was that communication makes a big difference to how passengers feel (and behave) in these circumstances, and in turn makes it easier (or harder) for the IoMSPC to deal with their customers. We live in an age where communication has never been easier, but the IoMSPC still made a poor job of it, and so made a bad situation worse. I stand by that, despite your insults.

 

Thanks again to those at the sharper end of this. It can't have been fun breaking bad news and dealing with irate people. Thanks again also to those who have provided useful info here.

 

PS. Where is the Steam Packet's Facebook page you refer to? If it exists, it isn't easy to find.

 

 

Graceless because we all 'expect' everything to be perfect and kick-off when it isn't. Does it occur to you that the Steam Packet is actually a collection of individuals, like you,

who I expect were looking forward to a quiet Christmas having planned for sailings to operate as normal?

 

So the communication wasn't as good as it might have been. I guess that happens when you have to make plans for, and communicate with, (probably) several thousand passengers as well as try and

put ships being serviced back together in a hurry, organising people to come in to sail them and everything else that needs to be done.

And all this with many of your own staff (quite reasonably) on their pre-planned holiday enjoying their own families and festivities.

 

So by all means feel the Steam Packet has done a poor job. I for one don't agree with you.

 

it really isn't hard to type 'Steam Packet' into Facebook search...but as you can't manage it here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/isleofmansteampacket?fref=ts

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Sorry but anyone defending the Steam Packet's communication needs their head checking. They were communicating that the Dublin sailing was going ahead until 4pm yesterday despite it being plainly obvious there was no chance of it going. Essentially there was a communications blackout for about 8 hours which there shouldn't have been.

 

They definitely need someone to handle their social media, imagine if there had been someone on here, facebook and Twitter to handle some of the questions - would have reflected them in a good light. Instead they've chosen to run any question through their phone line meaning Vulgarian and his colleagues end up being run off their feet - it's like having a motorway available and routing everyone through a b-road instead.

 

I was meant to be sailing yesterday but currently sat in Liverpool airport waiting to board. Fair play to the steam packet for getting a reasonable plan out quickly however if they combined that with good communication I think you'd find a large amount other people affected would understand that these things happen.

 

I hope things are better for you today Vulgarian and I hope the people you deal with get a sense of perspective too!

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This has been an interesting thread (for a change). Funny to see how the content and direction of postings have changed as time has gone on. Couple of comments, some relating to earlier posts:

Manufacturers of machinery don't necessarily keep their software secret, but whether the end user has licensing and the knowledge to actually use it is another matter. Equally, they normally have people who will be available to go out for emergency repairs, but it takes time to confirm availability, travel, parts etc.

Resorting to wishing cancer on an innocent person (or anybody, for that matter), is about as low as it is possible for someone to sink.

Communicaiton is vital in these sort of instances, and can dramatically improve peoples perception of the situation. Obviously, the SP do not know just when these problems will occur, but they could invest a small amount in paying for a third party to operate emergency call centre with info from SP.

I think going back to 2 standard vessels is a better move than 1 standard and 1 fastcraft. The saving is only an hour, or hour and a half, and when you have already allowed for check in and 2.5 hours voyage, it's not actually that much longer.

In terms of reliability, most major stuff is all repairable/replaceable. In this instance, the actuator seals had been replaced at the last overhaul.

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