CREATING A CUSTOMER LED OPERATING MODEL FOR THE RAIL INDUSTRY
CGA has been working closely with Rail Delivery Group (RDG) since 2016. The organisation’s newly-created customer experience directorate retained CGA to map the end-to-end rail customer journey and create a transformation programme that put the customer at the heart of the rail industry.
Traditionally, the industry has measured functional features, such as ticket and toilet facilities. These remain critical to overall customer experience, but there is clearly more to a rail journey than on-time trains and clean toilets.
CGA was asked to identify ways of measuring and closing the relationship gap that has widened between rail companies and their customers. We were tasked with bringing together all stakeholders to develop a framework that the UK rail industry could consistently apply to all their interactions with customers.
There are now twice as many rail journeys being taken in the UK than there were at the time of privatisation some 20 years ago. This increase in demand has been met without any significant public investment in upgrading physical infrastructure. The industry has maintained safety standards but, alongside the steady reduction of taxpayer-funded subsidies, passenger density and costs on the UK rail network have risen.
At the same time, customer expectations are growing. RDG needed to understand what was important to customers and support the industry in meeting these needs. If rail transport can’t do this, customers will choose alternative methods of travel. This will come at the cost of strain on other infrastructure and environmental pressures.
CGA devised a complete change programme for the industry, focused around a robust methodology for measuring customer perceptions, understanding the pain points, and driving improvement in a consistent way across the industry. CGA mapped the customer journey using Heartbeat®, which helps show existing pain points in real-time and identify where proactive intervention and change will offer the greatest value. We also identified 5 customer promises, around which the industry customer ambition would be focused.
”CGA have played a pivotal role in shifting the rail industry’s focus from passengers to customers. They supported us with the mapping of the end-to-end journey and crucially implemented weekly CX data collection across all train operators. Working in partnership with CGA we developed a strong branding for this programme – Wavelength – and introduced workstreams which will drive CX improvement across rail using the new data.Billy DenyerWavelength Programme Manager, RDG
After analysing the gaps between expectations and reality, CGA developed a solution for RDG which measures, in real time, the customer Heartbeat® – pain and pleasure points and delivery gaps across the entire UK Rail Industry – to track progress and ensure customer promises are being kept. Underpinning the industry framework is a specifically designed model to drive improvements in customer experience. This will see rail customers receiving a more positive and seamless experience, so they’ll be more inclined to choose rail over other, less-optimal travel options.
Putting customers first should be the industry’s main priority. Through the work conducted with RDG and other stakeholders, CGA developed Wavelength, the industry’s customer service monitoring and measuring tool. Wavelength identifies opportunities for improvement through an ongoing process of assessment and improvement. Wavelength ensures the industry will build a deeper and more meaningful understanding of what drives customer experience.
Wavelength is the result of the whole industry – all the operators, RDG, DfT and Network Rail – being involved in the development of a consistent measurement and improvement programme culminating in five promises which are core to the industry meeting its commitment to improve experiences for customers.
Wavelength “aims to collect a wider range of information about the customer journey on a more regular basis, drawing on existing sources as well as new ones … [it] aims to cover all passenger services across Great Britain’s railways, tracking performance against a series of key commitments based on core passenger priorities; these are called ‘Customer Promises’ and they cover how customers feel, as well as how satisfied they are.”