Improving the customer experience at GWR
The leadership team at GWR want their customers to fall in love with rail, building on Brunel’s legacy by making history of their own with a railway that’s fit for the twenty first century. They know that a great railway is not just about trains and tracks, it’s about heart and soul, about putting customers at the heart of everything they do. The team recognise that everyone in the business has a part to play, whether they work on train maintenance and cleaning, help customers at the stations or deliver customer service on board the trains. They understand that in order to fulfil the promise made to their customers, they have to start by delivering great experiences to each other.
train4change is proud to have continued working with First Group as the GWR brand was launched, designing and delivering the Great Experience Makers (GEMs) programme for all 6000 managers and colleagues within the business. Colleagues from all areas of the business were brought together in the programme to share experiences and to learn from one another, so GWR can work together as one team, entirely focussed on improving their customer experience.
The purpose-built website www.gwrgreatexperiencemakers.com is the start of the learning experience and includes a personal message from the GWR leadership team to every manager and colleague. The learning experience itself was carefully constructed to role model the customer experience that GWR is aspiring to deliver for its’ customers. Three purpose-built locations were created across the business, bringing the training to each region to make it easier to release and support colleagues who are attending. Their learning experience does not stop when the training is over, there are many initiatives which are aligned with the programme to embed and sustain the changes to brand behaviours and delivering experience excellence using the Six Pillars model of customer experience excellence developed by KPMG Nunwood.
The impact of the GEMs programme has been profound. Richard Rowland, GWR Director of Customer Service and Transformation said:
‘By bringing colleagues from all areas of the business together in our Great Experience Makers (GEMs) programme, to share experiences and to learn from one another, we are transforming the way we work and think together as one team. This is not just a training course, GEMs has connected with delegates on a truly visceral level, engaging hearts and minds across the organisation. It’s becoming part of our DNA, in a way I haven’t seen development inculcate in my years of experience in the railway industry.
When I am out on the network or visiting our various offices and depots talking to colleagues I see GEMs in action every day. I see colleagues doing what they can to give great customer experiences, sometimes in challenging circumstances. Our transformation is underway, and our Great Experience Makers are fast becoming history makers.’’
Tracey Coleman, GWR Head of Learning and Development described the way train4change has worked with GWR as:
‘Working with t4c has been a real pleasure, and it’s unusual to be able to say that about a supplier! By working with us, they have created a programme which as well as providing knowledge, has really engaged with the hearts and minds of our people. It has underpinned a huge organisational culture change, putting the customer experience at the top of our agenda. By providing the basis for a sustained change in our business it absolutely and directly impacted our purpose “to revalue rail in the hearts and minds of the travelling public”.
I would recommend t4c because they don’t simply deliver what’s requested, they work with their clients to challenge and innovate, creating a more effective product as a result. They don’t create typical training programmes, they get inside the skin of the organisation and the delegates, providing a real change in approaches and behaviours, from within. The quality of their partnership relationships and pride in their product results in a really collaborative and immersive project style. Nothing has ever been too much trouble, and they work hard as role models by providing the highest quality of customer care to us through their responsiveness and dedication.’
So far, colleague engagement and colleague empowerment has increased by 2% and 4% respectively and the attitude and helpfulness of colleagues (as rated by customers) has increased by 2%
The programme is probably best described by one of our recent delegates:
I was sceptical before I went on the GEMs course – how can this help me? Another programme that won’t be embedded or followed up on, I am too busy for this, etc. Well I was wrong – a superb 3 days – wonderful interactive and brilliantly delivered. At last a ‘course’ (I don’t really want to call it that because it was an ‘experience’) where we were treated like adults, allowed to think and discuss and help and understand each other and not just told how things would be and subjected to endless PowerPoint presentations. I have worked here a long time and I love my job and love to work for GWR, but I think like many people you can feel a bit ‘lost’ and disconnected from Company values and even other colleagues and customers, especially now we are such a large company. You hear the values but you wonder what does that really mean to me? You work hard but wonder where you fit in, do you and can you really make a difference. So to do GEMs and realise how everyone can make a difference and how everyone is important has been great. Every one of us can make a difference and we must for GWR to succeed in the long term. I do believe that most of us are proud to work for GWR but as I said perhaps we just felt lost – not feeling sometimes we can have much influence, so now through GEMs to feel more connected is great – one team. To have GEMs and have every colleague experience it is something I know can really make a difference. We all want GWR to succeed, but we all need to feel engaged and understand how the values relate to us, and GEMs now brings all that to life.
Already today at work I am working differently – more considered and I feel more engaged. Along with some colleagues whom I was on the 3 days with we have agreed we will meet up again and talk about how we have put what we learned into practice – this is something we feel empowered to do. We all felt we got so much from the course that we do feel a responsibility to bring it to life, to help embed it. Could such working groups be set up around GWR – perhaps this is already in the long-term plan? Thank you for GEMs – at all levels we must all ensure we keep ‘pushing’ the values and follow up, I see no reason for it to fail if we keep hearing those messages as delivered on GEMs.