I’ve been following the Infrastructurist blog since it started (it’s a great one, by the way), but today editor Jebediah Reed posted a customer service story about what happened when he left his iPhone on an Amtrak train that I think is worth passing on. Here’s a snippet:
I went to the Customer Service office. There, a genial woman named Karen became my new best friend. She immediately began coordinating a multi-city search and rescue operation. Before I even finished explaining the situation, she was on the phone with an agent in New Haven to make arrangements for someone to dash onto the train and look for the device during the brief stopover there. She called the lost phone about a dozen times in hopes that someone would answer. At some point, a man did answer. His name was Mark and he was a conductor on the train. He promised that he would get the phone back to New York safely that evening. Karen’s liaison in New Haven organized a complicated hot handoff across the platform between Mark and a conductor southbound train. About four hours after I’d got off the train without, an Amtrak conductor walked up to me in Penn Station with a sealed envelope containing the lost phone. It was carefully bubble-wrapped…
It was an impressive operation in both a human and organizational sense. After all, Amtrak hadn’t done anything wrong – I’d just been a nitwit left an expensive thing sitting on seat in an empty train car. But about five or six very kind and competent employees really put themselves out to make up for that mistake.
Think about two things: (1) Their efforts really made a difference to this person. iPhones aren’t cheap, so the fact that they were willing to spare some time to help Reed track it down presented some serious value to him. (2) I get the sense that this blog is pretty popular already. It talks about issues around our country’s infrastructure- issues that really matter to Amtrak. So, Reed is in a position to do some major PR for them, but the fact that it is good PR presents value to Amtrak far beyond the price of one iPhone.