Shareholder Questions Steamship Company’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Signs

steamship co zero tolerance sign
A Steamship Company shareholder says he’s unhappy at signage, which informs customers of a ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards aggressive behaviour.

John Nicholls says he’s passionate about the company but he feels that the notices at the airport and the Hugh Street Travel Centre give the wrong impression.

The wording states that the company, “understands people can become angry when matters about which they feel strongly are not being dealt with as they wish.”

But it goes on to say that they won’t tolerate aggressive or abusive behaviour towards staff.

Anyone behaving like that could be denied travel, suspended from the Travel Club or reported to police.

Aggressive or abusive behaviour could include verbal attacks, derogatory remarks, rudeness, unsubstantiated allegations or language that makes staff feel afraid or threatened.

John has taken up his concern with a company director.

He feels that there is no excuse for customers lashing out at staff and says that when he owned the Star Castle Hotel, he once evicted abusive guests who reduced a staff member to tears.

But John feels that, rather than the public-facing signs, staff should be offered training on how to deal with difficult customer.

Since the signs were posted, the company has employed an operations coordinator to assist customers, especially when their travel plans are disrupted. The company has declined to comment but a spokesman told us that the signs have been in place for some time and are “not uncommon.”

10 Responses to Shareholder Questions Steamship Company’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Signs

  1. LINDA BADCOCK June 4, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Front line team members always have and always will take the brunt , of course this should not be the situation, let me follow this up with my comment on customer service, not in any way related to front line members.
    On a recent flight back from Exeter Airport 24 May2014 a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 very young probably 6-9 boys, the parents sat in the back seats and the boys were sent to the front row seats by the parents, we and 3 other concerned passengers sat in the 2 rows behind them. The boys initially on take off had fingers in their ears, we’re not too happy with the flight and one started crying they then starting to scrap. I was as was the passenger sitting along side of us worried and tried to console the crying boy and was promptly pushed away.
    My point is,as I have conveyed in a letter to the CEO of the Steamship Company, for the benefit and pleasure of all passengers parents should be seated with and responsible for their children on flights so that we other passengers can enjoy ours.

    I have not had a response to my letter dated 26 May 2014.
    Customer service from the top, not so far.

  2. Peter M June 4, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I was quite surprised to read the zero tolerance notice. It could remind people of police action in crime ridden New York. It is insulting to imply that thousands of visitors are potential abusers or criminals. Of course abuse of staff should not be tolerated and notices to this effect are required to be posted. However the wording should reflect the type of business operation and the backgrounds of the customers etc.

    The signs displayed in places like supermarkets are mild compared to this one, short and to the point. Anyone displaying such a sign must ensure that staff are trained to deal with customer complaints in a sympathetic manner that prevents acts of abuse. Clear operating procedures should also be displayed in order that customers can make a judgement as to how they are being treated.

    I respectively request that notice is taken of the concerns of John Nichols and a notice on the following lines is posted:-

    We do not believe that visitors to the Scilly Isles would in any way be violent or abusive to any member of our staff.
    However we are now required to inform you that such behaviour will not be tolerated and should it occur appropriate action will be taken.

    This notice is all that is required; it should not include details of sanctions etc as each case may be different.

  3. Dottie North June 4, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Surely this is all about customer service? Who wants to arrive en-route to Scilly to be met by such an aggressive statement. Aggression breeds aggression! A notice apologising for the delay, with reasons why, and a clear commitment to get people away asap would be much more pleasant – ending with something like – ‘KEEP CALM – SCILLY’S WORTH WATING FOR!’ would be much more sensible. John Nicholls’ suggestion that staff should be given training in customer service in an excellent one – well trained staff can do so much do dissolve difficult situations.

  4. Thomasina Cairns June 3, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    The notices /wordings mentioned here are commonplace now . Travel on trains , buses etc in fact anywhere that staff deal with ‘ joe public ‘ you will find these signs . I agree with the comment about CC TV also . Of course staff should be protected from the anger & rudeness of the customer . Most of the problems they are complaining about staff & ISSCo have no control over , fog , winds , tides for example . Unfortunately it seems the majority of people now have less tolerance & are much ruder & aggressive than they were 10/20 years ago .

  5. John Banfield June 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    The problems encountered within the Company are usually created by decisions made or not made within the Management structure not the Front Line counter staff, but unfortunately human nature being what it is the ones at the bottom of the pile get kicked and abused first. I am all in favour of what ever means are used to protect these vulnerable members of staff who have to put up with the bad manners and aggression that is directed towards them, perhaps the Company should go down the route of installing CCTV in the office to further safeguard them.

  6. bob wharton June 3, 2014 at 11:34 am

    nothing in those signs that the jobcentre wouldn’t tolerate and I would like a boss that stands up for their staff

  7. Hershal June 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Seriously John, have you got nothing better to do than to question a couple of small signs?