South Western Railway (SWR) has been recognised for achieving the national standard in customer service, underpinning the company’s determination to improve the passenger experience in readiness for more people travelling on the railway after lockdown.
Every aspect of SWR’s customer facing departments underwent 18 months of rigorous examination before being awarded the ‘Putting the Customer First’ accreditation in January 2021 by Customer First UK.
SWR is now part of select group of train companies to undertake assessment and receive this prestigious accreditation.
Over 250 colleagues were surveyed or interviewed by Customer First assessors, who visited the train company’s operations facilities in Basingstoke and conducted numerous secret shopper visits at some of the busiest stations on its network, including London Waterloo, Clapham Junction, Basingstoke and Southampton Central, to get a first-hand experience of being a SWR customer.
The award recognises how SWR is dedicated to delivering for its customers at every stage of the journey – from booking tickets on the website and app to interactions with front line colleagues.
As well as improving customer service, SWR has spent the last few months investing heavily in its network to prepare for the return of more customers. New Island Line trains – part of a £26m investment – recently arrived on the Isle of Wight, whilst a £1.5 million station repainting programme is well underway, and following SWR’s investment in digital infrastructure, all stations now offer free Wi-Fi.
Christian Neill, South Western Railway’s Deputy Customer Experience Director, said:
“We’re delighted to have been awarded the Putting the Customer First accreditation as it recognises how we’re putting the customer experience at the centre of everything we do.
Government lockdown restrictions mean many customers are not currently using our services, but this doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels. We’re doing all we can to deliver a great experience for customers at every part of their journey in preparation for when they return in better times.”
Ted Stone, Chief Executive of Customer First UK, said:
“We are incredibly excited to recognise SWR’s for achieving full compliance against the Putting the Customer First Standard.
This is a great accolade for any organisation during normal business cycles, but the determination demonstrated by SWR to continue their efforts during the pandemic is particularly impressive. It clearly represents their forward-thinking business approach and awareness that commitment to customers should increase in times of difficulty.
We are proud to welcome SWR to the collective of accredited organisations and look forward to working with them in future as they continue expanding their customer centric offering.”