Merseyrail – customer service to help train passengers

Stadium began working with railway franchise Merseyrail in December 2018, which was the first time the firm had ever provided its services to the railway industry.

Merseyrail needed to make vital improvements to its platforms at its many stations in and around Liverpool, but the franchise knew its work would disrupt passengers’ journeys.

The changes to the regular timetable would inevitably mean a high number of passengers would have questions about what trains they could catch and if replacement buses were available.

The Challenge

To cope with this, Merseyrail hired Stadium to provide stewards with strong customer service skills to help guide passengers. Stadium’s staff needed to provide Merseyrail’s customers with a smooth travelling experience despite the platform upgrades heavily disrupting the franchise’s normal service.

Its stewards were engaged at more than 60 of Merseyrail’s stations while the construction work took place to explain the reasons for the disruption, inform them about changed timetables, and guide passengers onto the replacement bus services.

Merseyrail knew the work could cause disruption for its passengers, so it needed a firm with an outstanding track record of impeccable customer service alongside experience in stewarding crowds of people.

Stadium already had several hundred members of staff trained in stewarding based in Liverpool and the surrounding areas due to the event services work it provides on home matchdays for Liverpool FC at Anfield, meaning it was well-placed to help Merseyrail.

Stadium was able to quickly deploy its fully-trained and experienced staff in the region to stations very quickly, as there was only a short lead time between Merseyrail signing the contract and Stadium starting work.

The Work

It was important for Stadium’s staff to not only guide passengers to alternative platforms or the correct replacement buses, but also to help with any other queries they might have had and assist them with their onward journeys.

A calm, professional attitude as well as a willingness to go the extra mile for customers were very important to prevent passengers from getting frustrated during the works.

Stadium’s staff regularly helped families with pushchairs, shoppers laden with bags and travellers with heavy suitcases get on and off their trains and buses – ensuring a stress-free travel experience.

The brief to guide passengers and provide the correct information was not enough for Stadium employees – the attitude displayed by staff throughout the period of construction works gave passengers a positive reason to continue catching the train when they may have been tempted to use alternative transport methods.

And Stadium’s knowledge of monitoring the flow and behaviour of crowds was also invaluable to the customers’ experience.

Stadium has great experience of managing large crowds at public events, such as at Premier League football matches and making sure they are safe, when ensuring fans enter and leave the ground efficiently is also very important.

This expertise was put to use at Merseyrail’s stations, and was especially effective at peak times.

A busy station combined with disruption due to engineering works has the potential to create serious problems with crowd flow.

But Stadium’s ability to manage crowds in a safe and efficient manner meant passengers were able to move freely to their trains or replacement buses, making it more likely that onward journeys were stress free.

The Results

Since Stadium’s staff were hired to help Merseyrail, rail passengers have been very impressed with the level of customer service.

One passenger who travels between Moorfields and Liverpool Central nearly every day with his wife and two-year-old child, remarked that Stadium’s service was ‘incredible’ in an email to the firm.

His experience with Stadium’s staff during their journeys kept him and his family coming back.

In his email, he details how Stadium staff helped load his child’s pram onto the train at Moorfields, before more staff at Liverpool Central consistently helped him with his bags and pram up and down the station’s escalators.

He went on to say: “Your staff have been incredible to us so far and no doubt to many other passengers. Excellent customer service. Thank you.”

Stadium has received many other emails praising their customer service from grateful passengers, and Merseyrail has continued to use Stadium’s services due to how successful they have been.

Testimonial

Stephen Bradley, Head of Stations at Merseyrail, said: “We knew our works to improve platforms at our stations could cause disruption to our passengers, so we needed a company who really knew what it was doing to help guide travellers to the right trains or replacement bus services, as well as helping control crowds at busy times.

“Stadium’s past experience in stewarding made it an excellent fit for us, and we’re delighted with the service it has provided to our customers since we hired the firm last December.

“Not only has its staff fulfilled the brief perfectly, they have gone above and beyond to help passengers, such as by helping families with pushchairs get on and off their trains, as well as up and down escalators.

“It is this high level of customer service that keeps travellers coming back, and we would recommend Stadium to other rail franchises undertaking major works.”

ICC Cricket World Cup – Lord’s

There are few cricket grounds in the world as iconic as Lord’s.  It first opened in 1814 and has been the home to international cricket since 1884.

The ICC Cricket World Cup is organised by the sport’s governing body – the International Cricket Council (ICC) – every four years and the 2019 tournament was hosted by England and Wales at Lord’s in London.

Lord’s hosted five group fixtures before staging the World Cup final on 14 July 2019.

Lord’s Cricket Ground is located in St John’s Wood, a busy and built up district in the City of Westminster and has a responsibility to keep its visitors and local residents safe.

Between May and August 2019, Stadium deployed ATG Access Surface Guard in two locations immediately outside the iconic ground. Both sets of HVM barriers were installed with vehicle access points and manned by experienced HVM teams.

Jon Williams, Head of Security at Lord’s said “In 2019, we worked with Stadium for the first time to provide a Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) rental solution at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and the England v Australia Test match.

“Stadium provided us with temporary HVM barriers at two locations for all five events for perimeter security and crowd protection from potential vehicle ramming attacks.  Both barriers were manned which allowed access to emergency and VIP vehicles and service providers in approximately 30 seconds.

‘The HVM teams also provided excellent customer service to fans and visitors by providing help with directions to the ticket office and on-site facilities as well as general enquiries from the local community”.

Burnley FC

Match Day services

On match days at Burnley, Stadium supplies around 100 staff. Our traffic management arm are responsible for implementing the Match-Day Traffic Management Plan at Turf Moor, operating the necessary road closures and directing vehicles along diversion routes or to the assigned car park. The car parks at Turf Moor are in turn operated by our Car Park stewarding team who will supervise the organisation of the vehicles parked.

Our Crowd Management arm, meanwhile, provides the stewards responsible for ensuring crowd safety and providing customer services for spectators seated in the stadium.

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) Barriers

We install and provide our HVM Barriers on match days. Thanks to our expert team, Burnley is the first football club to use the unique ATG Access Surface Guard Barrier System – an innovative step forward in crowd safety and protection.

London Olympics

For this prestige event of such huge importance to both London and the UK as a whole, Stadium allocated 700 accredited staff to provide traffic management, stewarding and security services to 24 venues across North & East London for the duration of the London Games.

Our locations included the Olympic village itself and 20 other Training Venues, including the Media Hub at Russell Square, Wimbledon and Hyde Park.

We were able to deploy 240 staff from within our own organisation – who lived outside of London, with accommodation and shuttle buses to transport them to and from their allocated sites each day – and also recruited accredited additional staff with the required skill sets.

All this was achieved within the time frame required by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Our services contributed hugely to the safety and security of each of the locations at which we were present – and we are hugely proud of the part we played in achieving such a successful games.

Liverpool FC

We have supplied Liverpool FC with Traffic Management services since 2012, with average attendances of 54,000. We are responsible for Anfield Stadium’s traffic management operation, and the stadium footprint, and have around 100 stewards inside the ground on match days. This work stretches to the biggest games: in April 2019, for example, we supplied 250 staff for Liverpool’s astonishing performance against Barcelona in the Champion’s League semi-final.

We operate Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTRO) in accordance with the set traffic management plan, and handle the parking-up of away coaches across designated areas to ensure the walkways are made safe as spectators enter and egress from the stadium.

We also implement a pass-access system on certain road closure points for exclusive parking areas in the vicinity of the stadium, ensuring VIPs are able to access as required in accordance with the club’s wishes.

Overall, we deliver around 190 operatives to Anfield. Our staff-members act as the first port of call for visitors to the stadium, placing great emphasis and importance on the quality of our service. To ensure an all-round high quality operation, we provide our staff with customer service skills of the highest standard through our thorough training regime.

The quality and consistency of our service over the years means we have regularly been called upon to offer ad-hoc security and stewarding requirements in a variety of contexts. As with all our customer relationships, we’re very proud of the positive and productive links we have fostered at Liverpool FC and Anfield itself.

Godiva Festival

The Godiva music festival itself is an event provided by Coventry Council and has been running for the last 15 years. The year of 2014 saw record attendances, with 125,000 park visits made over the course of the three-day event, with a peak attendance of 20,000 at 10pm on the 5th July – when headline act Happy Mondays performed.

In that year, Stadium was responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the festival site’s vehicle traffic, which flows into and out of the site via a one-way traffic management system.

As part of achieving this aim, we were responsible for enacting council-approved temporary road closures on public highways as part of a wider traffic management plan. We worked alongside key providers such as the police, emergency services and council representatives in order to implement the plan smoothly and with minimal disruption.

Our remit included ensuring over 3,000 cars were parked in an orderly fashion in the designated car park field – and could egress from the park in an efficient and safe manner. The event was a complete success, on this and every other metric!

Following the event, the senior Stadium team met with Coventry City Council’s Events Production Manager for a debriefing in which we provided detailed feedback on the overall operation. Here we highlighted areas that could be improved and suggested innovative solutions that could possibly be implemented for the following annual event. This is part of the way in which we add value to our service – and ensure that every future event is as safe or even safer than the one before it.

In 2019, we deployed temporary hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) barriers in four locations to secure the perimeter of the Memorial Park, Coventry from vehicle ramming attacks.

The HVM barriers were manned to allow swift access to emergency vehicles, utility vehicles, staff and entertainers.

Glasgow Commonwealth Games

The 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games was a wonderful event – and a banner moment for the city itself. Stadium provided key security and crowd management services across three venues during the Games, acting as an official supplier.

There was just a three-month period between the award of contract and operations going live. Prior to this, however, Stadium had established a strong understanding between the organising committee and our management team – and this enabled a thorough apprehension of service requirements at each venue.

We provided stewarding and security services to the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Dundee and the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. We deployed security personnel for CCTV and response steward roles in each venue.

Operational planning involved regular meetings with the leads of each of our operations teams, in which we assessed staffing requirements and which profiles would be most suitable to fulfilling any required roles. This helped ensure the highest level of service was provided. Understanding the profiles of each of our staff required an appreciation of their experience, skill-set and character. This was especially important for placing staff in leadership roles, since it was essential – of course – that they had the necessary leadership qualities.

In this way, Stadium places great importance on the planning process, in order to integrate all client requirements into operational activity. Great emphasis is also placed throughout implementation phases, however, on the teams’ requirement to be fully flexible throughout all event operations. In this sense our planning is flexible as well as robust.

Each of the 150 deployed staff-members required logistics planning, accommodation, catering, welfare and uniform throughout the two-week event. This required the following functions to be performed by the head office team of Stadium;

  • Maintenance of Staffing Databases
  • Client Relationships
  • Regular Team Meetings
  • Risk Analysis and Staff Vetting
  • Stadium Training – SIA, Spectator Safety NVQ Level 2, Employability, Customer Service, Health and Safety NVQ Level 2, First Aid, Fire Marshalls, Event Role Play

Stadium prioritises maintaining the operation’s integrity at all costs. During the event itself, we reacted within stringent timeframes to alleviate operational queries, issues and dealt with any staffing requirements on a daily basis. Throughout the Games, we held a contingency of staff to mitigate issues of staff retention on-site. This helped to ensure the operation’s integrity was not compromised at any point and continued to run smoothly.

We ensured contingency levels continued to be maintained through transporting and deploying further staff to operational bases wherever numbers needed to be “topped up”. Stadium operational management staff boast extensive experience – and, thanks to our Stadium Training arm, all operational personnel are fit with a flexible range and level of skills and qualifications that can fit a variety of contexts and needs within the event industry.

In other words, we took the Games as seriously as Glasgow itself did – and that’s a commitment we make to every client.