Inspiring customer relations at Northern

by Lance

The challenge

Pete Myers, Head of Service Quality, really wanted his customer relations team to make a difference for Northern and Northern customers. His aim was to drastically reduce the amount of ‘repeat letters’ needed to solve a customer query; he wanted it right first time!

The solution

• let’s understand you: we spent time really finding out what it was like to be a member of the customer relations team and what it was like being a Northern customer

•a tailored approach: we designed and delivered a tailored programme for all team leaders and team members that:

• helped each team member work out the part they played in achieving the department’s vision

• offered clear feedback to each team leader and taught them how to give effective feedback to each other and to their team members

• really went to town developing everyone’s ability to find the best way to communicate with their customers so that they kept on coming back to travel with Northern

• just for you: we gave additional and targeted coaching support to those that needed a bit extra to be able to consistently apply what they’d learned

The result

The customer relations team is now at the heart of Northern. Team members resolve customer complaint; advise, help and liaise with operations when things don’t go to plan; and always strive to ‘exceed customer expectations’. As for their results, well they speak for themselves:

• within the first eighteen months over £78,000 in savings to the business

• a massive 53% improvement in getting it right first time

• first time resolution targets continue to be smashed!

• a massive reduction in customers appealing decisions

• external recognition, with Passenger Focus considering Northern to be leading the industry in terms of customer relations

Want to know more?

For those who just love graphs have a look at this!

Actual number of second letter complaints over each 4-weekly time period

Graph image

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What Karen said…

“We’d been getting a high level of repeat letters because we hadn’t been dealing effectively with the customers’ complaints first time. I was given the goal of getting our customer satisfaction up and these repeat letters down. Having spent time with the Rambutan bunch, my team did just this – from the very first month since the workshop they went down and have stayed there!”

Karen Toon, Head of Customer Relations

So, if your business is also serious about the customer experience or if you have a burning passion like Pete, please give David or Lance a call as they’d really love to chat about this stuff!