West Yorkshire Combined Authority retains customer service excellence status

24 December 2018

West Yorkshire Combined Authority's public transport information teams have, once again, retained their Customer Service Excellence status.

Established by the Cabinet Office, the Customer Service Excellence standard encourages organisations such as West Yorkshire Combined Authority to make a tangible difference to service users by focusing on their needs and preferences. The scheme's five main criteria are customer insight, the organisation's culture, information and access, delivery and the timeliness and quality of service

In their report, the scheme's assessors praise Combined Authority staff's understanding of customers needs. They note the pride staff take in delivering an excellent customer service and remark on examples of staff being readily prepared to go the extra mile.

The importance placed on providing up-to-date and accurate customer information is described in the report as being central to service delivery, with care being shown in ensuring that customers have understood the information they have been given.

Frontline staff, the report says, interact with a variety of customers, some of whom it describes as presenting quite challenging behaviours. The assessors described staff as 'unfailingly polite and helpful' and say it was very clear from observation that staff make 'commendable efforts to ensure that each customer is dealt with respect and care.'

The Customer Service Excellence assessors also say the organisation works hard to ensure that its services are inclusive and as welcoming as possible. The report says ongoing liaison with groups representing young and vulnerable people has led to many service improvements and that great emphasis is placed on consultation and feedback to inform service developments.

Service improvements are continually sought and delivered, the assessors say, describing the annual customer Tracker survey as providing a wealth of information regarding customers. Consultation, they say, is integral to the approach taken to driving forward significant improvement such as the simplification of services for young people.

In their report, the assessors mention the Combined Authority's online interactive Your Voice consultation hub and say satisfaction levels are a driving force behind many service improvements. Examples they include are young people in school uniform no longer need to show a photocard to obtain a concessionary fare and staff having undergone training in mental health awareness to ensure that vulnerable customers are identified quickly and engaged with appropriately.

Closer working relationships have been forged with bus operators, the assessors say, and this has helped to shape the way in which complaints are dealt with, with the views of customers, complainants and staff now feeding into reviews. Service standards that cover both timeliness and quality of customer service are, they report, published on the website and staff make every effort to ensure that enquiries are dealt with quickly and fully at the first point of contact.

Cllr Kim Groves West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Chair said: "At a time of transport disruption, people need understandable information they can rely on and I am pleased that the Customer Service Excellence assessors are saying that is what our staff are providing."

"I would like to congratulate to our transport teams on once again retaining our Customer Service Excellence status through their hard work to ensure public transport users across West Yorkshire and beyond are kept informed and are dealt with courteously, appropriately and promptly."

"Making public transport understandable and accessible is key to achieving our aim of relieving congestion by encouraging more people to catch buses and trains, and ensuring we provide them with high standards of customer care is an integral part of this work."