Bus passenger satisfaction high as new training initiative tells employees ‘You Are The Difference’

From: Echelon
Published: Tue Nov 04 2008

The ‘You Are the Difference’ campaign aims to assist Metro and Ulsterbus staff in delivering high levels of customer satisfaction by offering tips and techniques and using driver and passenger feedback to boost service standards.

Just three months since its launch, there has already been an increase of over 35 per cent in the numbers of compliments received from passengers about Metro and Ulsterbus drivers. Moreover, customer care-related complaints from passengers have fallen by 36% over the same period.

According to Billy Gilpin, Central Area Operations Manager, the initiative is much more than just a routine training exercise: "These latest results are extremely encouraging and demonstrate just how successful the campaign has been to date.

"Our recent independent monitoring results show that customer satisfaction is already at an all time high across our bus network. This can be attributed to new modern vehicles improving comfort and frequency, more routes increasing accessibility and this initiative which is another proactive step taken by Translink to improve services and put both customers and our staff at the heart of all we do.

"‘You Are the Difference’ enables effective three-way communication between local bus drivers & inspectors, management and passengers. It empowers staff by providing a platform for constructive feedback on performance and allows them to suggest ideas for positive change. The project not only helps staff improve their customer care techniques but also educates passengers on how they can help us to help them."

Approximately 700 drivers and 70 bus inspectors, supervisors and managers have experienced ‘You Are the Difference’ training to date. The training consists of a series of role plays in which staff interact with professional actors in a range of typical scenarios and requires role improvisation under the direction of the trainee audience.

This innovative approach aims to illustrates possible outcomes of a number of actions and reactions to some basic issues identified through pre-course research* carried out with Belfast passengers. The real life scenarios are simulated within a training environment and then reviewed to enable staff to prepare themselves for eventualities in the real world.

"The technique of simulating real-life situations really helps to clearly communicate key campaign messages to our staff and feedback so far has been very positive," continued Mr Gilpin. "They have found it both enjoyable, informative and a great tool for ideas generation. We are looking forward to continuing to rollout the initiative and implement many of the good ideas** that have been identified."

Passengers are also being asked to follow simple guidelines identified by the campaign that aim to make travel experiences more positive both for them and our employees. Guidelines include: having correct change for bus drivers; using a Smartcard; clearly signalling at bus stops for drivers and avoiding dropping litter on buses.

Mr Gilpin concluded that learning through observation and focusing on meeting the needs and expectations of both staff and passengers is key to building a more sustainable and successful business.

"With the goodwill of our passengers and the focus of our staff we intend to ensure Metro and Ulsterbus services are the best in the British Isles," he said.


For further information please contact

Media contact: Bob Little Tel + 44 (0)1727 860405; Email: bob.little@boblittlepr.com

Sales contact: David Hill Tel + 44 (0)20 8568 1500; david@echelonlearning.co.uk

Notes to Editors:
• * In developing ‘You Are the Difference’ – which began to be delivered to Ulster Bus and Metro staff in August – Echelon Learning, the initiative’s designers, took over 70 bus trips in Belfast, interviewed more than 100 passengers and also spoke, at length, to Ulster Bus and Metro staff.
• ** To date, during the training sessions, staff have identified over 600 ideas for service improvement and the target is to reach 1,000 by the end of the year

• The initiative’s logo and the main focus of the training are based around the three colours of a set of traffic lights. Each colour signifies a choice of behaviours that might be selected:
- Selecting Red ensures we stop and reflect before reacting and selecting appropriate behaviours.
- Selecting Amber means we pause and respond in the way we have been taught.
- Selecting Green suggests we react quickly and often instinctively.

About Echelon Learning Ltd

Echelon is an organisation development consultancy with a 20-year track record of delivering targeted communication, training and performance support solutions that really make a difference to corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations and professional bodies.

The company helps its clients create and sustain improved operational performance by developing high levels of employee engagement and competence that leverage their ability to achieve outstanding results, particularly in times of change.

Echelon publishes a wide range of self-development solutions that support lifelong career development: www.learningmatters.com

Clients include:

Channel Tunnel Rail Link
London Overground Rail (LOROL)
Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply
Department of Work and Pensions
Festival Housing Association
Royal Town Planning Institute

Company: Echelon
Contact Name: Bob Little
Contact Email: bob.little@dial.pipex.com
Contact Phone: 00 44 (0) 1727 860405

Visit website »