Delivery of good customer service is vital to future of the bus industry. This Award is designed to promote its delivery and improvement by rewarding excellence, best practice and innovation in this essential area.
The judges are looking for:
- An organisation that broken genuinely new ground in the delivery of customer satisfaction, or
- A particular creative solution, developed by an organisation or team, which had vastly improved the passenger experience, or
- An initiative that had improved the journey experience for a particular passenger group
Ideally, the winner of the award will set ambitions for the future and thus blaze a trail for others in the industry to follow.
The 2015 Results
Winner, Gold Award
Accessible travel for our city - Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company
Brighton and Hove Bus Company's Accessible Travel for Our City scheme has won praise from user groups locally and nationally. A company-wide ethos of respect and empathy, and genuine engagement with users and expert groups, has resulted in a number of initatives such as 100% of the fleet offerring audio annoucements (which sit alongside more than 300 talking bus stops) and the Taxi Guarantee which offers a free accessible taxi to any wheelchair user who is unable to access the bus. All new drivers are trained to become Dementia Friends, bring the total to more than 350 across the staff. The Company's Access Team has also contributed to the design of new vehicles such as the floor colouring on the new Coaster fleet to minimise problems for people with dementia.
The judges felt that the scheme typifies overall, absolute commitment to passengers and that the approach has been built into the business not just as a standalone project.
Winner, Silver Award
Coastrider X7 - Stagecoach East Scotland
Stagecoach East Scotland's X7 Coastrider is the only coach route linking the towns and cities along the cast coast of Scotland. The service is operated by high specification coaches, providing a luxury service for commuters and tourists with free wifi, at seat charge points, leather reclining seats, air-conditioning, toilet and dedicated bike racks on board. The route was extended to serve three hospitals in Perth as well as the city centre and into Dundee to provide a fast, frequent link between key hospital sites. Growth in passenger use in recent years has led to several increases in the number of journeys provided and subsequently influenced the purchase of new, higher capacity vehicles in 2014 to cater for demand.
The judges felt that the service reflects the standard that the whole group aspires to and an approach of not being complacent but building something new on what works already. The judges were impressed by Stagecoach's search for continuous improvement.
Winner, Bronze Award, Live Chat: It's good to talk - Arriva UK Bus
Arriva's Live Chat service enables those who need assistance to communicate directly with Arriva over the internet. The service was launched three years ago and in 2014, Arriva developed the initiative further with a standalone Facebook app. One of the major benefits for Arriva is that advisors can have up to four live chats open at once as opposed to one telephone call at a time.
The judges were impressed by the greater audience reach afforded by Live Chat, giving customers almost instantaneous access to dealing with a complaint on a one-to-one basis.
Dementia Training - "Understanding Dementia" - East Yorkshire Motor Services
East Yorkshire Motor Services, through its training division EYMS Bus & Coach Training, has worked with the Hull Dementia Alliance to expand its range of training modules (mainly for driver CPC training) to include Understanding Dementia. Delivered as part of the Comapny's Customer Care and Disability Equality Awareness training, the new module helps drivers and other staff identify dementia sufferers and how to help them.
The judges were very impressed with this idea. They thought it was well researched, no assumptions were made and the right organisations were consulted. The judges noted that there is a rise in dementia and this is affecting bus users more and more. They welcomed the action being taken by EYMS and how it is encouraging people with dementia to get on the bus.
yLink - Translink
Translink identified that the very competitive deals on cars and insurance for young people in Northern Ireland was the main competitor to the use of public transport for this age group. Therefore, it created a sales and marketing campaign to increase the reach of its discounted youth travel card, yLink, which reached only 5% of its target 16 to 23 year olds. The scheme aimed for a 45% increase in the number of cards held in both the first and second years of the two year campaign.
The judges welcomed the age group targeted by Translink and the philosophy of choosing a younger as group as a growing market and encouraging future commuters beyond the age of 18.
Who could be nominated?
Entries were welcomed from operators, authorities and others specifying and securing services, partnerships and tourist agencies.
… and by whom?
Nominations were accepted from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
Decisions were based on the quality of the submissions made and the extent to which they address the criteria. Therefore, nominations were required to:
- Describe the project or organisation that is being submitted for the award
- Show how the nominee has achieved one or more of the following:
- Delivery of outstanding standards of service to bus passengers
- Improvement in the standards of its service to all its passengers
- Improvements to the journey experience of particular groups of passengers including those with restricted mobility
- Show why the nomination is innovative and likely to influence others in the industry
In assessing and comparing entries, judges took into account the nominees’ underlying approach to customer service standards, which will be judged on the factors set out below. These also needed to be addressed in the entry:
- Employee training and involvement: the extent to which staff are involved in the delivery of excellent customer service and in the development of the standards by which the organisation judges itself
- Service delivery: how the organisation goes about achieving consistency of delivery and measurement of standards
- Recovery – how the nominee goes about restoring the customer confidence when performance falls short of the expected quality
- Customer information and contact: the approaches used by the organisation to ensure that customers are:
- treated with respect and integrity
- kept informed
- provided with easily accessible points of contact
- provided with clearly documented, published and auditable complaints procedures
- Customer research - the extent to which a company or organisation:
- seeks to discover the needs and expectations of bus customers, with some indication of the results of such a strategy.
- bases its strategy on customer feedback
- measures its achievements (and/or failures) by research and monitoring and uses results to modify or improve its approach