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Amtrak Satisfaction Guarantee and New Brand Identity
Amtrak News Release -- July 6, 2000
Service Guarantee and
New Corporate Brand Identity At Event At
Los Angeles Union Station
Event Focused On Employees As Providers of High-Quality Service
LOS ANGELES - Hundreds of Amtrak employees from across the country joined together today in celebration of the company's new unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee and corporate brand identity. Souther California Amtrak workers gathered in the south courtyard of Los Angeles' historic Union Station to pledge their support to the Serivce Guarantee. They heard fellow employees, Amtrak and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) officials describe what the changes mean to them, Amtrak and the future of travel.
"This one-of-a-kind guarantee represents another step in Amtrak's transformation into a customer-focused business, which puts the guest at the forefront of everything we do," said Gil Mallery, president of Amtrak West. "Our promise is to make every guest's trip a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience."
All of Amtrak's 25,000 employees have been training and preparing for more than a year in advance of the guarantee's debut.
Members of the Amtrak Board of Directors, including Board Chairman Governor Tommy Thompson (WI) were also part of the celebration, appearing via videotape, to promote the new Satisfaction Guarantee, the first of its kind among U.S. travel providers.
Capping off the celebration, Amtrak West President Gil Mallery joined employees to reveal Amtrak's new brand identity for the first time in the west, by unveiling a banner with the new company logo in the courtyard. All employees present were invited to sign the banner pledging their personal support for the Service Guarantee. The signed banner will be displayed at Los Angeles Union Station.
In addition to the celebration in Los Angeles, employees pledged their commitment to the Service Guarantee at events in Union Station in Washington, D.C., 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and Union Station in Chicago.
Questions and Answers
About the Amtrak
Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee and New Corporate Brand Identity
July 6, 2000
"You're our guest on Amtrak. We promise to make your trip a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience. If something isn't right, talk to any Amtrak employee, and we'll try to make it right. If our efforts aren't enough, call 1-800-USA-RAIL for a Service Guarantee Certificate toward future travel. Your satisfaction is guaranteed."
Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee
What is the Amtrak Satisfaction Guarantee?
Our Satisfaction Guarantee is Amtrak's commitment to provide all guests with a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable travel experience. While the guarantee cannot prevent the occasional problem that a guest may encounter on a trip, it is designed to ensure that guests receive full satisfaction for their money. We are guaranteeing our guests that if something isn't right, we'll do everything in our power to make it right. If the guest feels that the effort is not enough, Amtrak will offer the guest a Service Guarantee Certificate toward future travel. This guarantee is a first among U.S. travel industry providers.
Why is Amtrak offering this Satisfaction Guarantee
By offering our Satisfaction Guarantee, Amtrak is striving to achieve a level of customer satisfaction that no other U.S. transportation provider can surpass. We believe that providing excellent service and guaranteeing our guests' satisfaction is essential to building loyalty which, in turn, will lead to financial success. We estimate that for every one percent improvement in our guest retention rate, $13 million is added annually to Amtrak's revenues.
How does the Satisfaction Guarantee work?
If a guest is dissatisfied during any portion of a journey on board Amtrak, the guest should first address their concerns with any available Amtrak employee. If the guest is still not satisfied, he or she may request a Service Guarantee Certificate, good for future travel on board Amtrak. The value of the certificate will be equal to the cost of the trip segment for which the guest was dissatisfied.
How does a guest request a Service Guarantee Certificate?
A guest should call 1-800-USA-RAIL to request a Service Guarantee Certificate. Guests should keep their ticket stubs as our Customer Relations Representatives will use the ticket number on the ticket stub to determine the value of the Service Guarantee Certificate. Service Guarantee Certificates are mailed to guests. We also encourage our guests to share their stories with our Customer Relations Representatives so we can improve our services.
Will every guest who requests a Service Guarantee
Certificate receive one, no questions asked?
Yes, no questions asked. Guests may be asked about incidents so that we can take measures to see that it doesn't happen again and, of course, we'll take reasonable steps to ensure that fraud doesn't occur.
What is the anticipated cost to Amtrak for the number of
potential certificates issues?
By implementing an unconditional guarantee of satisfaction, we are confident that we will increase ridership and revenue by developing long-lasting relationships with satisfied customers and exceed the costs that we will incur through issuing certificates. Our goal is to deliver satisfaction to our customers that, in turn, contributes to our financial bottom line.
Is Amtrak concerned about the ability to handle a
significant number of requests for Service Guarantee Certificates?
We do anticipate that some of our guests will request certificates. However, through the extensive development process of our Satisfaction Guarantee, we are training our employees to provide top quality service and are putting a Right-and-Ready program in place to ensure every aspect of the corporation is prepared to meet the needs of our guests.
Is every employee empowered to address a guest's complaint?
Yes, all Amtrak employees are empowered to take the initiative to ensure that every guest is a satisfied guest.
What training have Amtrak employees undertaken to be
prepared to deliver guaranteed satisfaction?
Every Amtrak employee has completed a comprehensive training program, and new procedures have been adopted to empower employees to take a personal initiative to solve guest problems, often before they occur. The company also instituted a series of new policies and practices designed to meet the highest standards of service excellence. These include procedures to ensure that all trains are "right and ready" for service, covering every aspect of every train prior to guest use. Amtrak has also developed new standards to ensure consistently high levels of service and amenities on trains.
Is Amtrak providing employees with incentives for good
As part of an extensive planning process for our Satisfaction Guarantee, all 25,000 employees completed advanced customer service training and learning how high-quality service can positively affect the corporation.
In addition, as an incentive to provide world-class service, every employee will receive a bonus equivalent to last year's average ticket price when the guest satisfaction level is 99.9% or higher. This satisfaction level will be based on the number of Service Guarantee Certificates issued every month. We will also continue our current satisfaction surveys that are mailed out randomly to Amtrak guests every month.
How will the Satisfaction Guarantee help Amtrak end federal
operating assistance by 2003?
Improving guest satisfaction can have a significant impact on strengthening our bottom line. We estimate that for every one percent improvement in our guest retention rate, $13 million is added annually to Amtrak's revenues. In addition, we are making great strides in becoming a customer-focused, commercially-oriented, and financially-viable business.
Through our Network Growth Strategy, which will expand service in 21 states, the introduction of our Acela Express service in the Northeast, and the development of high-speed rail corridors in key population centers across the country, Amtrak is striving to increase guest satisfaction and loyalty while increasing service, ridership and revenue.
The Amtrak Corporate Brand Identity
Why is Amtrak changing its corporate brand identity?
With our bold commitment to customer satisfaction, the development of new rail services including America's first high-speed rail system, and many business ventures reflecting a stronger commercial orientation, Amtrak has become a new company. The time has come to represent this revitalization and set the state for future growth.
After 29 years, the familiar "Inverted Arrow" of the Amtrak brand will be replaced by a new logo whose shape and suggestion of movement convey the comfort and uniqueness of the rail experience. The new Amtrak Blue brand color and typographic treatment of the Amtrak word mark reflect the company's commitment to quality and reliability. Combined, they represent a revitalized corporation that puts the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of every guest first and backs it up with a one-of-a-kind commitment to guest satisfaction.
The new brand identity serves as a master brand and as an endorsement for a family of services. Under the new brand architecture, Amtrak is bringing greater rationality and consistency to the numerous service names it inherited during its formation.
What led Amtrak to update its image?
The Amtrak identity we are retiring today was created in 1971 to represent a different kind of institution in an era with different values. Through extensive research, we learned that our existing brand image did not reflect many of the positive attributes of train travel or the attributes that consumers desire in transportation services today.
The new identity sends a strong signal that significant changes that have occurred at Amtrak in the past few years. As the company has become more market-focused in developing its rail services, we expect to increase ridership and attract new customers who haven't previously considered rail as an alternative to flying or driving. Our new brand identity will make communicating with consumers about the new Amtrak easier and more efficient.
If you really want to change your image, why didn't you
change the Amtrak name?
The Amtrak name is a widely-recognized and valuable trademark. Surveys indicate that many Americans are generally aware of Amtrak as a provider of passenger rail service. It is in the best long-term interests of the company that we protect this valuable asset by keeping it current and reflective of the passenger rail system we're developing to meet the needs of Americans today.
Have other companies retained their name, but changed their
Companies often change or update their identities to communicate changes in their business strategy or offerings, or sometimes to align with changes in their markets or among their competitors. For example, a few years ago, Continental Airlines traded its orange and gold brand colors for a new blue and gold globe symbol that was designed to place a greater emphasis on their international reach and their attention to the needs of demanding business travelers. Continental's identity change has fit together with many other business changes to play an important role in the company's success in recent years.
Will all of Amtrak's signs across the country change with
the new identity?
The new identity will be phased in gradually in a managed and cost-conscious manner over the next few years. Signage will be replaced as part of regular station improvements. A similar approach will be used for all affected items. For example, existing stationery supplies will be depleted before stationery with the new brand identity is ordered.
What is the total cost for changing the identity in all
Amtrak stations and on all trains?
First, Amtrak has no plans to make changes overnight. While other companies may change their equipment at once. Amtrak will do it incrementally as equipment is overhauled. Instead of applying the former logo and colors as we would do with overhauls, we will apply the new identity. The same is true for stations that, from time-to-time, require signage changes. This gradual changeover could last two years or so, which is not inconsistent with the approach taken by many other companies. To keep costs to a minimum, a plan is being prepared identifying all possible elements of change and establishing a timeline and possible costs.
What about state, local, or privately held stations and
Just as Amtrak makes changes on a gradual basis, we do not expect our partners to change overnight. But as they upgrade facilities, we would ask them to incorporate our new identity. This would also be true for state and city Departments of Transportation that have trailblazer signs with the former logo on them.
With the new corporate brand identity, will you be dropping
historic train names like the Sunset Limited
and the Southwest Chief?
Many of our current train names are an important part of our heritage and represents the uniqueness of the rail travel experience. We will continue to use historic train names to represent specific routes and services as part of our overall brand architecture.
Where did Amtrak get the funds to guarantee service and
introduce the new brand identity?
All costs will be covered by existing resources in the current budget, and ultimately be more than offset by new and growing revenues.
Amtrak's Strategic Plan Is Working!
Amtrak's new Satisfaction Guarantee and new brand identity are just two of the company's major strategies to achieve business success and end federal operating assistance by 2003.
The other elements of Amtrak's strategy are:
These strategies are already producing results:
Starting today, I'll do a lot more than wish
great trip. I'll guarantee it. That's the Amtrak promise.
So if for some reason we don't meet your
expectations, or ours, I'll make it right. Right away.
On the spot. Anywhere and anytime you travel
on Amtrak. What's more, there are 23,999 of my fellow
colleagues with the power to make the same promise.
Our new Satisfaction Guarantee is our commitment to you,
our guests, that the high standards we have
set for your travel experience will be met every time
you step on board. Are you ready to go further?
"Our trains cover 22,000 miles of track. But I'll go even further." -- Sheila Buchanan, Safety Liaison, Philadelphia
"I guarantee you'll see some glorious sunsets from my train. And speaking of guarantees." -- Bob Landreth, Conductor, Milwaukee
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