Baffling train ticket prices. A lesson for all businesses.


A recent BBC article has highlighted pending changes to pricing for cross-country train routes. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) says the 16 million fares currently on offer are “baffling” for passengers. The result being many people paying different prices for the same journey. With some unlucky travellers paying over the odds.

One example: An off-peak return from Wick, in northern Scotland, to Par, in Cornwall = £342.50. But by buying six separate fares for each leg of the journey the cost tumbles to £80. Wow!

So what can we learn?

Keep it simple

Whether it’s your pricing structure, your customer buying process, your website design, whatever. Complexity confuses people. Which in turn can lead to pretty disgruntled customers. Make things as easy for your customers as possible. They’ll thank you for it.

Be fair

Differences in price should reflect differences in the level of service or product on offer. Customers get cheesed off pretty quickly if they find out they’re paying more than someone else for the same thing. One bad customer review that questions your business’ morality could be catastrophic.

Be consistent

A confused mind is unlikely to buy. That’s why a coherent message across all your marketing literature, website, sales channels, etc is a must.

Never take your customers for granted

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Even better, ask them what they think! Review every touch point your customers could have with your business, then iron out any problems. When customers feel like you care about them they’re more likely to become repeat customers and refer you to others.

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