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Allow us to present ourselves: What makes a good Customer Service Representative? And why does he or she receive training in the workshop?

Good service and a competent customer services department are essential for GATX – all our customers are aware of this. To ensure that all our employees are always up-to-date, we sent all our Customer Service Representatives (in short, "CSRs") into the maintenance workshop for one week: There the CSRs looked over the shoulders of the workshop team and learnt a lot about the challenges with which the workshops are confronted.

Exactly what work is carried out in the workshop? How are inspections and repairs carried out? How long do the individual work steps take and why? These questions were at the heart of an in-house GATX training course which we have carried out for our CSR team in cooperation with our contract workshops. Our common objective: To improve our customer services. All CSRs have successfully completed this training so that we can continuously improve the quality of our customer services. After all, we want all our customers to be completely satisfied with GATX.

CSR: In-depth technical understanding and comprehensive communication skills

Our CSRs are the interface to our customers in all matters which are concerned with technical service: A CSR ensures, for example, that the planned and unplanned downtime of the wagons is kept as low as possible. For this he or she maintains contact with the respective workshop, with the GATX engineering team and the customer. In order to carry out the work, a Customer Service Representative needs an in-depth technical understanding of the work that is carried out in the workshops. Because only then can he or she assess how long an action takes and provide our customers with reliable information. So the one-week workshop training came just at the right time!

An informative week

In this week, it was intended that the CSRs should learn as much as possible about the most important work that must be carried out all around scheduled inspections. Also they had the chance to perform some of these works on their own. So after safety instructions things got straight to the point: The training started with the acceptance of a wagon at the transfer station. On the second day it was necessary to prepare for the major inspection (G 4.0) in which the components such as the bogies and the wheel sets were refurbished. On the third day brake components were replaced and other components refurbished. On day 4, tank work and leak-tightness testing of the tank and the refurbishment of fittings were on the agenda. On day 5 the final round: The wagon approval by the workshop wagon foreman in which the wagon release documents are filled in and sent to the keeper of the wagon for inspection. Only then is the respective wagon allowed to leave the workshop.

Following the impressive week-long assignment, one of our long-serving CSRs, Markus Rom, observed: "I now know exactly how many work steps are necessary before the wagon release documents can be sent to the wagon keeper for inspection. Only after this approval can the wagon be put back on the rails again. And that is exactly as it should be – ultimately we are all together responsible for safety on the railways!"