Customer focus

The British branch of Dutch train firm Abellio has recently taken over the Greater Anglia train franchise from National Express East Anglia. For the next 29 months, the company will provide train services across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and links to London. The firm is now responsible for 3,000 employees and 43,000 individual train services per month, carrying 2 million passengers a week.

Abellio managing director Ruud Hackett said: ‘Our first main priority is to improve the customer experience. At day one we have more people on platforms and in trains to assist passengers and provide more information. All front-line staff will be equipped with Blackberries over the next few months to ensure they have up-to-date information at hand.’ (BBC, 5th February 2012)

This focus on meeting customer requirements is fundamental to Zurich’s business strategy.  Zurich, the global financial services provider, offers a wide range of services, including insurance, risk management and pensions, for both business and personal customers.  It operates in a highly competitive marketplace, so, in order to differentiate the business, it has embedded the concept of customer-centricity into its vision, aims and objectives. Its strategy is to increase customer satisfaction, thereby retaining more customers.

In order to understand what makes customers more or less satisfied, Zurich carries out extensive market research to measure specific aspects of its services.  In addition, it benchmarks its findings against independent market research to ensure it knows in which areas it needs to invest resources to improve customer satisfaction.

Abellio has given a commitment to improve station conditions and operational performance to improve the customer experience. Mr Hackett said: ‘We’re investing a lot of money in cleaning and maintenance of trains to make the travelling experience with us more pleasant.  We don’t believe repainting all the trains makes a lot of difference but making sure they’re clean and safe does’.  The attitude of staff would also change as they would be put through a programme of customer service training.

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