How often do you read good news about the UK rail network in mainstream media? Train operators are often hit by reports of criticism which can be damaging to brand reputation. Those reputations influence employees and potential employees, alongside passengers. So, what can train operators do to protect themselves?
Hitting the headlines
In an industry which invests heavily in attracting future talent, it’s disappointing when negative news hits the headlines. Have you read headlines like these?
Train passengers are missing millions in compensation because claim process is too complicated… (Daily Telegraph, July 2019)
UK train firms named and shamed over late compensation (Guardian, January 2019)
“In a complex industry like ours, passenger disruption can be due to issues beyond an operator’s control. Either way, customer experience teams feel the effects, and I’m sure HR teams do, too!” says Sarah Dalby, Managing Director of Tracsis Travel Compensation Services (TTCS).
According to the CIPD, ‘effective resourcing is not just about filling an immediate vacancy but about having an impact on the long-term success of the business, using workforce planning data to understand what skills are needed for organisational performance.’
Yet a feature in The Rail Engineer states that: ‘The National Skills Academy for Rail forecasts technical skills shortages in the rail industry of around 10,000 people over the next five years. This is a particular issue for signalling, telecommunications and traction and rolling stock, where forty percent of the workforce is aged over fifty.’
Sarah continues: “Hays, the leading global experts in qualified, professional and skilled recruitment says that employees and customers alike need to believe that an organisation cares when something has gone wrong and has taken action to ensure a problem doesn’t happen again. So, negative media coverage or customer experiences won’t help rail operators unless strides are taken to improve.”
Where train operators set out to provide passengers with a great rail services, they might invest in trains, stations, networks, and more. But, says Sarah: “…operators’ goals and values need to extend to when things don’t go to plan for passengers.”
Speaking about things going wrong for passengers, Anthony Smith, chief executive, Transport Focus says: “When things go wrong train operators must ensure every eligible passenger knows about delay repay and how to claim. They must also do more to make it easy to claim and automate this process wherever possible.”
Customers are at the heart of what train operators do, so how can they help when services are delayed or cancelled? Sarah says: “There is a wealth of information available to show where things need to improve. For example, only one third of passengers currently claim compensation for delayed services. Many aren’t even aware that they can claim.
“Transport Focus is running a huge national campaign to encourage passengers to claim. While that happens, train operators have a chance to improve proactive communication on Delay Repay, while making it easier and quicker for passengers to make claims that are eligible.”
Sarah concludes: “Our award-winning ‘one-click claiming’ technology is already used by many leading UK TOCs. It provides a proven solution for them to meet the needs of passengers, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and the Department for Transport (DfT). At the same time, it improves operators’ fraud detection capabilities and reduces the costs of processing claims.”
Want to know more? We’d be happy to discuss how Tracsis Travel Compensation Services can support you and your organisation. Get in touch with a member of the team today