New training initiative tells employees ‘You Are The Difference’

A unique training initiative, from Echelon Learning, targeting local bus drivers and inspectors in the Greater Belfast area is beginning to deliver some impressive results.

The ‘You Are the Difference’ campaign aims to assist Metro and Ulsterbus staff in delivering high levels of customer satisfaction by offering tips and techniques and using driver and passenger feedback to boost service standards.

Just three months since its launch, there has already been an increase of over 35 per cent in the numbers of compliments received from passengers about Metro and Ulsterbus drivers.

Moreover, customer care-related complaints from passengers have fallen by 36% over the same period.

According to Billy Gilpin, Central Area Operations Manager, the initiative is much more than just a routine training exercise: “These latest results are extremely encouraging and demonstrate just how successful the campaign has been to date.

“Our recent independent monitoring results show that customer satisfaction is already at an all time high across our bus network.

“This can be attributed to new modern vehicles improving comfort and frequency, more routes increasing accessibility and this initiative which is another proactive step taken by Translink to improve services and put both customers and our staff at the heart of all we do.

“‘You Are the Difference’ enables effective three-way communication between local bus drivers & inspectors, management and passengers. It empowers staff by providing a platform for constructive feedback on performance and allows them to suggest ideas for positive change.

“The project not only helps staff improve their customer care techniques but also educates passengers on how they can help us to help them.”

Approximately 700 drivers and 70 bus inspectors, supervisors and managers have experienced ‘You Are the Difference’ training to date. 

The training consists of a series of role plays in which staff interact with professional actors in a range of typical scenarios and requires role improvisation under the direction of the trainee audience.

This innovative approach aims to illustrates possible outcomes of a number of actions and reactions to some basic issues identified through pre-course research carried out with Belfast passengers.

The real life scenarios are simulated within a training environment and then reviewed to enable staff to prepare themselves for eventualities in the real world.

“The technique of simulating real-life situations really helps to clearly communicate key campaign messages to our staff and feedback so far has been very positive,” continued Mr Gilpin.

“They have found it both enjoyable, informative and a great tool for ideas generation. We are looking forward to continuing to rollout the initiative and implement many of the good ideas that have been identified.”

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