I have the unfortunate experience these days of riding the MetroNorth commuter railway into NYC every day. Its unfortunate because I have a schedule to keep — meetings, tele-conferences, etc.. you know, the usual stuff – but something that MetroNorth is hard pressed to do themselves — keep to a schedule. Further, the brand refuses to engage any of its riders in a social fashion. Rather, they use Twitter as a scheduling publication platform, NOT as means for engagement. The organization doesn’t even bother to update riders quickly and efficiently using traditional methods such as station announcements.
The brand is formidable for its silence.
This silence will kill this organization.
I’m sure MetroNorth is thinking that’s not possible. “After all, we’re an indispensible service to the public and we own the rails.” BE WARY of such thinking! For just like Nature always finds a way to evolve and survive, so do consumers… shifting their attitudes and behaviors away from brands that dissapoint and towards the brands that they can engage with. Just check out CTAngryCommuter, @metronorth_hell or @metroFingNorth and you’ll see these shifting attitudes.
For the brands that bother to engage? Prefence and loyalty are the rewards. For those that don’t, consumer opinions such as the one’s below will become commonplace. And by that time, its too late.
New Haven Line Service continues to experience delays of 10-15 minutes due to weather related conditions. Please listen for announcements.
— Metro-North Railroad (@MetroNorth) February 18, 2014
… and the inevitable reply from the consumer…
— Emily Mann (@divineem) February 18, 2014
Typical reactions to service announcements:
@MetroNorth this isn’t news! This is every day normal delays!!!! The news would be if they were on time !!!!! That’s news!
— Carl Napolitano (@CarlNapolitano) February 22, 2014
@MetroNorth how do you justify raising monthly’s when your service is an utter failure? Pls go public. Shorting you is a guaranteed homerun
— chris k (@bostonchris535) February 22, 2014
The silence of the MetroNorth brand is deafening. And its killing the organization.