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 – Fan safety at Lord’s

In 2019, Stadium helped protect fans at the iconic ‘Home of Cricket’ – Lord’s – at five key matches during the summer.

Stadium was tasked with providing hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) barriers during four matches in the Cricket World Cup, and the Second Test of the 2019 Ashes between England and Australia.

Stadium has great experience in providing HVM barriers at football matches for many large teams in the UK, as well as at public events such as music festivals and Christmas markets.

However, this was the first time Stadium had deployed its barriers at a cricket ground, which presented a new set of challenges for the firm.

The Challenge

Lord’s Cricket Ground is located in a residential area in Central London, meaning it was very important to work with the needs of local people.

Stadium’s staff had to make sure all fans entering and exiting the ground were kept safe through their HVM barriers, while also ensuring they got in and out as quickly as possible to minimise disruption to those living and working in the area.

There were also challenges relating to the two different styles of matches Stadium was hired to cover.

The Cricket World Cup fixtures were all one-day games, which meant Stadium simply had to make sure everything went right for one day.

But the Ashes fixture – a traditional Test match – ended up lasting for five days, which meant Stadium had to make sure there were enough staff members to cover the five days and to stay vigilant throughout.

Both the Cricket World Cup and The Ashes attracted fans who are not originally from the UK, let alone London.

This meant Stadium’s stewards also needed to have excellent local knowledge about where the nearest Tube stations were, key locations within Lord’s such as the ticket office, and other important information.

The Work

Stadium worked directly with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), who run Lord’s Cricket Ground, to make sure they understood where the chokepoints for people and vehicles were likely to be before, during and after the matches, and therefore where the best places to deploy HVM barriers would be.

After their discussions, Stadium deployed ATG Access Surface Guard barriers at two key strategic points for both matches to allow crowds to flow and provide access to authorised vehicles only.

These were installed on the two roads adjacent to Lord’s cricket ground and both deployments were manned by experienced Stadium staff during each match.

Stadium’s staff also provided help to fans who needed directions to their seats at Lord’s, or to the nearest bus stops and Tube stations when they were leaving the ground.

When the matches had finished, Stadium were able to disassemble the barriers very quickly and pack them away, meaning residents living near the ground were able to get back to normality.

The Results

MCC were very pleased with the fans’ experience at each Cricket World Cup match and the Ashes fixture thanks to Stadium’s professionalism before and during the matches.

Fans were kept safe during every game, and were able to enter and exit the ground smoothly thanks to Stadium’s staff giving them clear guidance.

The barriers made sure no unauthorised vehicles were able to access the perimeter around the ground, and when required, were easily opened up to allow access to authorised vehicles.

And local people were satisfied with the low level of disruption despite the large number of fans attending each fixture.

Burnley FC

Stadium has been working with Premier League football club Burnley F.C since the company was founded as StadiumTM in 2009.

The company is the primary provider of crowd management and traffic management requirements for the club at the Claret’s home stadium Turf Moor.

Stadium’s traffic management services were first put to the test in a friendly against Leeds United in August 2009 and the company has since added the deployment of Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barriers.

Services are also provided inside the stadium, ensuring crowd safety and providing customer services for spectators enjoying the match.

The Challenge

The Clarets’ home stadium Turf Moor regularly attracts more than 20,000 fans when it hosts a fixture, and it is important that fans have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Stadium’s team had to provide a viable traffic management solution to ensure fan safety and smooth flowing traffic around the stadium on every match day.

Turf Moor is situated just outside of the town centre in Burnley, in a built-up area and the stadium is surrounded by tight terraced streets.

This makes traffic management even more of a complex issue, in comparison to modern football stadia built in vast, wide open spaces.

These tight streets also make parking around the stadium difficult, which enhances the importance of being able to provide clear directions to official car parks and ensure safe parking practice on arrival.

To add to the challenges of the built-up environment around the ground, football fans can also be unpredictable on a match-day and will abandon pavements and walk on the roads.

Football matches are also high-risk events, with thousands of people on the streets at one time, who will need to be protected in the event of a car ramming attack.

Once inside the stadium, the range of challenges continue, with crowd safety taking precedence, whilst still protecting the fan experience.

The Work

It was key that on match day’s Stadium’s impact was effective but not disruptive to the experience of fans – some of whom will have travelled from around the country to attend.

Stadium deploys more than 100 of its fully-trained and experienced staff around Turf Moor on a match-day.

The traffic management team are responsible for the implementation of a match-day traffic management plan at the stadium.

This includes operating key road closures in the streets around the ground and ensuring that vehicles are directed to follow key diversion routes. Not all traffic going around Turf Moor on a match-day is heading towards the event.

The diversion routes operated are designated to provide the quickest, and safest, passage for traffic looking to head out of Burnley town centre.

By providing a joined-up approach around Turf Moor, Stadium staff direct traffic and operate the car parks. This approach ensures that traffic reaches the destination safely and is managed from end-to-end by experienced staff.

On arrival at the car parks, the car park stewarding team supervise the organisation of the vehicles which are looking to park.

To ease traffic flowing from the match, vehicles are required to be organised in a fashion where they can smoothly leave the car park with minimal difficulty.

Stadium stewards monitor and operate all of the turnstiles at Turf Moor, ensuring safe entry and a steady flow of fans into the venue. Stadium’s staff are trained in customer service care and place an emphasis on ensuring these measures do not impact the fan experience.

The match-day offer from Stadium has expanded from traffic management to the introduction of Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) barriers to protect fans.

When first implemented in 2017, 38 metres of barriers were installed around the stadium.

The innovative barrier system allows pedestrians, emergency vehicles, VIP’s and suppliers to pass through safely which ensures a safe experience for all spectators and local residents.

The Results

Stadium has now been working with Burnley FC on match-days for more than a decade, which is testament to the effective work carried out by the company’s experienced staff.

The introduction of the HVM barriers set Burnley FC as a trailblazing club, becoming the first team to use the unique ATG Access Surface Guard barriers.

The innovative barrier system allows pedestrians to pass through safely, can be dropped in less than 30 seconds to enable vehicle access and are accessible for wheelchair users.

London Olympics

Stadium was contracted to provide stewards and marshals for the delivery of the London 2012 Olympics across 24 venues around central and outer London, ensuring the safety and security of millions of spectators visiting the world’s premier sporting event.

The work involved helping the operation of 20 training venues for the athletes, the media hub in Russell Square, Wimbledon, the marathon in Hyde Park, and the cycling road race in Box Hill.

The Challenge

London 2012 was the largest ever visitor event hosted in the UK, attracting millions of people from across the world to a huge range of different venues – all at a time of a heightened terrorist security alert.

Stadium was awarded the contract to supply just three weeks before the operation went live, while every venue required varying service offerings and this was achieved above and beyond company requirements, through a flexible approach and motivated workforce at each site.

This required extensive planning and management of personnel within a stringent time frame to ensure the contract was delivered on time and to the high quality of the standards set by Stadium.

In order to surpass expectations as a service supplier to the Olympics, Stadium worked to deliver an extension of required qualifications to all of its 2012 employees.

Stadium had very little time but – through funding from Ealing and Hammersmith College, along with use of its facilities, Stadium trained more than 500 people recruited through the Ealing Job Centre.

Stadium offered NVQ level 2 in Customer Service, along with other training for certain individuals that included health and safety, first aid, conflict management and fire safety training – offering staff improved, longer-term job prospects.

The Work

Stadium worked across 24 venues throughout the capital, but highlights included the cycle road race and the marathon.

Stadium was contracted to provide crowd management, stewards, security and traffic management services to the Box Hill Road Race in Surrey.

This involved deploying circa 200 staff, mainly stewards to the event, providing a plethora of services including a visible presence at densely crowded points to deter encroachment on to the road area; responding relevantly to spectator enquiries, reporting obstructions, conflicts and suspicious behaviour; providing security at the start and finish areas and also access control services to athletes at pre-event and post-event staging areas.

The event passed off without incident and was viewed as one of the highlights of the London Olympic Games.

Stadium was responsible for the provision of traffic management services to the Hyde Park London Marathon event, as well as providing stewarding and security services to the pre-event site entertainment areas.

The work at the Media Hub – one of the most famous traffic junctions in the world and a major focus for global media coverage – included deploying traffic management staff according to a geographical site plan; enacting road closures according to a pre-planned timeline; deploying the necessary signage and barrier equipment to support road closures; directing traffic to follow organised diversion routes and maintaining radio communication at all times with the operations manager to approve any actions.

The Result

Stadium met all the deadlines and requirements set out by LOCOG after other companies had struggled to provide the level of service and staffing required for the greatest sporting event held in the UK.

Meeting such tight timelines while still providing staff and services to maintain the high standards set by Stadium required a high degree of customer relationship management with individual clients at each of the 24 venues, each with their own specific operational needs.

Stadium maintained a strong working relationship with LOCOG throughout to ensure services were delivered to the customer’s satisfaction.

This was achieved through regular meetings and on-going assessments of operational performance.

Any issues were concisely communicated through appropriate channels and fed back to Stadium staff to ensure these were rectified and a high quality of service was sustained.

More than 500 staff were trained and skilled-up thanks to the involvement of Stadium, giving them new channels for employment and enhanced prospects.

Stadium played a role in an event which saw 685,000 visits from overseas visitors that were mainly for the Games, or involved attending an official ticketed event at the London 2012 Olympic or Paralympic Games. In total these 685,000 visits involved spending around £925 million in the UK, on average spending £1,350 per visit.

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 Music Festival, Coventry

Godiva Festival is one of the biggest annual music festivals to be held in Coventry, and regularly attracts up to 125,000 visitors over its three days.

Stadium has provided its services to the festival for a number of years, including in 2014 which saw a record number of visitors attend.

Each edition of the festival has seen Stadium refine its services to make sure the event is safe and secure for fans every year.

 

The Challenge

Godiva is a three-day music festival held in War Memorial Park in Coventry, and for a number of years gave free entry, which meant it attracted a huge number of visitors from the city, across the Midlands and further afield.

To help keep the festival running smoothly, site traffic needed to flow in and out of War Memorial Park with minimum disruption and public vehicles continued to flow around the park perimeter.

It was also very important to manage the high number of cars – around 3,000 – using the designated car park. Stadium had to make sure the cars were able to enter and exit the car park in a safe and efficient manner.

Finally, the increased prevalence of hostile vehicle ramming attacks in the late 2010s meant fans had to have extra protection in later editions of the festival.

 

The Work

Through working with Coventry City Council and the emergency services, Stadium was able to come up with several effective traffic management plans tailored to the different demands each year.

Elements of the plans included temporary road closures at strategic times and points, and creating a one-way route for site traffic to ensure they could enter and exit easily.

In later editions of the festival, Stadium would install hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) barriers at four points around War Memorial Park to protect fans from harm.

These barriers would also allow authorised vehicles to access the festival, such as emergency vehicles, utility vehicles, as well as the acts performing at Godiva.

Once the festival finished, Stadium’s staff were able to dismantle the barriers and pack them away very quickly, meaning War Memorial Park could reopen to the public as quickly as possible.

 

The Results

Godiva has been a smooth experience for visitors for a number of years thanks to Stadium’s experience in traffic management, car park management, crowd management and temporary HVM barrier deployment.

Stadium have been retained for many years to provide their services at Godiva due to how effective they are.

Each year, tens of thousands of fans are able to access War Memorial Park, have a safe and fun time, and leave with no issues thanks to Stadium’s meticulous preparation and planning.

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.