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Metrobus

Figures released by the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) in January 2014 highlighted that the transport sector was underperforming in terms of customer service provision. Research conducted by the Institute of Customer Service found consumer trust was directly linked to the likelihood of a consumer recommending a business or brand, which in turn directly linked to an uplift or drop in sales. As the transport sector’s UKCSI score has consistently fallen over recent years, so has its level of consumer trust, resulting in fewer recommendations and an ensuing potential loss of sales.

Metrobus, award-winning* local bus operator in the South East understands the link between great customer service, consumer trust and strong sales. In September 2013 they decided to introduce and implement their own customer service training programme, in association with Welcome to Excellence. The programme was designed to enhance employees’ customer facing skills whilst also improving their knowledge of the local area. This innovative programme called ‘Going the Extra Mile’, has been a huge success and demonstrates their commitment to lead the way in customer service provision within the public transport industry.

The evidence speaks for itself through feedback gathered in a recent Passenger Focus Survey (2013) in which Metrobus received a 93% satisfaction rating for staff helpfulness and driver attitude, significantly bucking the current trend of poor customer service provision seen within the transport industry as a whole.

Andrew Ward-Minter, Training Manager at Metrobus Ltd has been impressed by the impact of ‘Going the Extra Mile’ and feels that since it was introduced the company has seen a decrease in complaints from within the Crawley community. In addition, he has seen drivers becoming more customer aware with a clear focus on keeping buses to schedule whilst remaining polite and courteous.

Metrobus have their own trainers who deliver interactive in-house courses that are geared to business and company needs. The sessions are designed to prompt discussions about real work issues such as wheelchair access on buses, dealing with elderly people and prams, and learning overall is therefore enjoyable and thoroughly worthwhile.

The achievemenets of the course highlight Metrobus as a model of best practice with the UK public transport sector, revealing how increased levels of customer service can help build business success.

Sue Gill, Training Services Director at Tourism South East, worked alongside Metrobus to develop ‘Going the Extra Mile’ and to ensure that content suited their business needs and tackled some of the core issues faced by Metrobus employees on a daily basis, such as point-of-service communication, accessibility and how to deal with difficult passengers. Sue wanted to make sure that content was mapped to the national customer service standards so that drivers could ultimately go onto gain a level 2 City and Guilds award.

To date over 200 drivers at the Crawley Depot have gained Welcome to Excellence accreditation and have gone onto achieve the Level 2 City and Guilds Award.

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