“Ask Me!” Foreign Passenger Satisfaction Augmentation Project
In order to increase local and foreign passenger satisfaction, and to accumulate information about fields promising potential improvements, “Ask Me!” project was launched by İstanbul Ulaşım in 2014 and it continues to do so in 2015! The second part of the project, which has been developed by Strategic Planning and Service Development Bureau affiliated to Quality and Corporate Development Management, is being applied to the field since 1 July 2015. The Project will continue until 21 September.
As part of our Project, 39 “Ask Me!” employees will serve local and foreign passengers in our stations for 2,5 months in two shifts, everyday between 09:30-15:00 and 15:00-20:30. Our Staff consists of students who has been chosen from Turkey’s leading Universities like Boğaziçi University, İstanbul Technical University and Marmara University.
We perform the Project, which is a significant social responsibility initiative, for the second time under our corporate organization. Until now it has been a great success and we are proud to tell that feedback from our passengers who are using railway systems as their main way of transportation has been top-notch.
39 employees assigned in 12 stations!
During the research stage of the Project, in order to assess requirements, monthly reports that has been issued by İstanbul Culture and Tourism Agency between 2014-2015, was examined and proportions of languages spoken by tourists visiting İstanbul has been measured to determine which languages were dominant. Designating where “Ask Me!” staff works, predicated on İstanbul Ulaşım’s annual foreign passenger satisfaction research and 12 stations, all of which contain central transportation stations, consisting of the following 4 stations; Beyazıt, Sultanahmet, Eminönü and Kabataş that are located in the historical peninsula found in T1 Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram line,3 stations; Atatürk Havalimanı(airport), Aksaray and Zeytinburnu found in M1 Aksaray-Havalimanı line, 4 stations; Taksim, Şişli-Mecidiyeköy, Yenikapı, Vezneciler found in M2 line and Eyüp-Pierre Loti aerial tramway.
“Ask Me” staff meets 8000 passengers daily
Through “Ask Me!” staff available in stations, we take 8000 passengers’ opinion daily about the services provided by İstanbul Ulaşım during the project.
“Ask Me!” staff will have the opportunity to have face to face conversations with passengers all around the world during our approximately 2,5 month long performance. Iranians take the lead in numbers under foreign tourists who are visiting our country and are mainly using railway transportation followed by Americans, Iraqis, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Italians, Spaniards and Arabians.
Meticulous elimination and education process
Participants who had taken part in the written exam, then got invited to the oral interview. Different scenarios have been mapped, which are based on frequently encountered questions, problems and incidents that are recorded in stations under İstanbul Ulaşım’s control which have a high density of foreign passengers; and participants’ linguistic capabilities were assessed.
Upon completion of the interviews, an exceptional group of 39 people was formed and put to an intensive training program between 24 and 25 June. First day of the training, 4 students fluent in Arabic, another 4 students fluent in both Arabic and English along with 29 students fluent in English have been given instructions on how to establish effective communications with passengers by getting introduced to the current state of İstanbul’s railway systems, to İstanbul Ulaşım and to “Ask Me!” project. As for the second day of the training, trainees were given background information about İstanbul’s historical and cultural heritage, museums, historical sights and shopping centers as well as map reading skills and lastly orientation process in lines. After the training, project employees were handed a culture map from İBB Kültür A.Ş. and their field vests. While various forms and documents were being procured, a special handbook was prepared which was designed to be a practical, field-related guide full of useful information for employees on the field. In addition, a small survey was prepared to be conducted by the employees during their encounters with the passengers. After identification cards of “Ask Me!” employees were printed and field planning was made, in 1 July the staff started to work actively in the field.
A significant social responsibility project
“Ask Me!” project is one of the biggest social responsibility projects İstanbul Ulaşım has ever performed. While İstanbul Ulaşım reaches out to this many students first-hand within the scope of this project for the second time, students participating in the project find the opportunity to find out more about İBB(İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality) and its affiliates as well as how the railway system in İstanbul functions. Within the project, where best students from Turkey’s most prestigious Universities are being evaluated, future Ulaşım employees already find the opportunity to educate themselves further.