Customer service representatives don’t have an easy job. They just make it look that way.
For C-TRAN, our Customer Service Representatives cover three distinct roles. There are the voices on the other end of phone in the C-TRAN Call Center. There are the faces behind the window at C-TRAN’s customer service window. And there are the boots on the ground with the on-street Customer Service team.
On this National Customer Service Week, we caught up with two of C-TRAN’s stellar representatives to take a look behind the scenes.
Jessica Craft is one of the Customer Service Representatives who serve riders from the window at Vancouver Mall Transit Center. In her nearly 15 years with C-TRAN, Craft has worked numerous other customer service window locations, including the old Seventh Street Transit Center in downtown Vancouver.
Working the window is very different from working the phones. Craft handles pass sales and physical transactions throughout the month. She also fields plenty of questions and on-the-fly trip planning for riders passing through the transit center.
“When people come and ask for help, if I can help there and navigate it, that’s an important part for me—being able to help them,” Craft says.
The customer service window sees constant activity, but the beginning of each month tends to be the busiest time, Craft says. That’s when many people receive paychecks or other income that boost sales at the window.
In the Call Center, Lead Customer Service Representative Rosa Chavez is one of the voices on the phone. But the job is a lot more than answering calls.
Representatives also handle a host of other duties, including C-VAN eligibility assessments, interviews, keeping forms up to date and accessible, and managing the C-TRAN Lost and Found. That’s on top of fielding 40 to 70 calls—per person—per day.
The majority of those calls are booking C-VAN rides throughout the week, Chavez says. And that’s something that sets C-TRAN apart. C-TRAN handles all aspects of C-VAN paratransit service in-house with its own staff, including ride scheduling.
“A lot of places, they hire out or have it in a different department,” Chavez says.
The third category of Customer Service Representatives at C-TRAN are the on-street team, which interacts with passengers on the bus and in the community. On-street representatives also attend many community events on behalf of C-TRAN, and help with major public outreach initiatives throughout the year.
The job of Customer Service Representative constantly changes as the transit system itself changes. Representatives always have to be up to speed on route changes, schedules, fares, detours or anything else. New programs mean representatives will answer a whole new set of questions. For example, C-TRAN's entire fare system changed when Hop Fastpass launched on the fixed-route network in 2017, then C-VAN in 2020.
“As a CSR, you have to have good organization so you can remember everything that’s changed,” Chavez says.
Occasionally, questions come out of left field. C-TRAN has received numerous calls over the years about bus service in Elmira, New York. That’s because the transit system serving Chemung County in southern New York state happens to be called C TRAN (no hyphen).
As we celebrate C-TRAN’s Customer Service team this week, we salute all of our representatives working behind the scenes to help you, our riders. We’re also telling our representatives something they don’t hear often enough: