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.”

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.