Ember Drives Culture Change at Bus Company


Bespoke learning and development programme to increase customer centricity

Ember Real Results has begun a series of workshops to help Stagecoach South, one of the UK’s biggest bus operators, enhance the customer experience it offers.

The one-day workshops form part of a comprehensive training solution, designed to reduce customer complaints and improve the culture at each depot.

Different sessions have been developed for managers, controllers, leading drivers and driver mentors. Each addresses a range of issues that can impact on the way drivers interact with customers, from really understanding what great service looks like and getting buy-in to that, to recognising the right leadership behaviours that role model the right approach.

We’re also working with a cross section of drivers who have volunteered and been hand-picked to act as Customer Champions.

Designed around depot analysis

The workshop design is based on day-long visits to each of the company’s eight depots, talking to staff at all levels to build relationships and understand different perceptions and priorities. Ember also undertook some customer focus groups, to align the company view with the voice of the customer.

“Our depot visits provided a real insight into the range of pressures that bus companies – and in particular the drivers – have to deal with, from adhering to timetables to supporting vulnerable customers to adapting to new technology,” says Simon Pocock, Leadership Solutions Consultant at Ember. “The training programme we have designed focuses not only on the interaction between drivers and customers, but on how the whole leadership and management culture can equip drivers to be more customer-focused.”

For the bus operator’s operations director, the bespoke nature of the programme will be the key to its success. “The fact that Ember has taken the time to visit our depots and talk to a range of different staff has already made the training visible internally. We recognised the issues that Ember fed back to us, ahead of training design, and were particularly interested to see the differences in culture between our depots.”


Superb Early Results

A few months into the project, it is clear that the hard work is paying off.  Stagecoach South have begun to implement a range of initiatives that promote the right culture, and the sessions that Senior managers, middle managers and Customer Champions have attended are clearly starting to work.  The sessions we have delivered have been exceptionally well received with an incredible amount of buy-in as a result.

Already, there has been a 20 rise in Net Promoter Score (NPS) which is an amazing testament to such a strong, concerted effort across the region to move towards putting customers at the front and centre of everything they do.

Next up: One-to-one coaching to address individual challenges

But we won’t stop there!  The workshops will be followed by a series of revisits to each depot, where managers will receive individual coaching from Ember leadership experts, and there will be additional group sessions for controllers, drivers and mentors. The first revisits will take place within six weeks of the workshop, with further sessions scheduled for 2020 and 2021. These coaching sessions will enable Ember to benchmark progress, as well as provide targeted support to help the staff address specific challenges.

“We have really valued that Ember has taken the time to visit all our depots, talk to a range of different staff and has already made the commitment to improving our service culture visible internally. We are delighted with the subsequent design and delivery of the sessions from Ember, which is addressing critical areas for improvement. We are now seeing a really positive ramping up in CX focused skills and behaviours; which is already translating into real results in our NPS.” – Keith Gait, Customer Service Director, Stagecoach

About Ember

Ember is a business services group providing specialist management consultancy, training, analytics and executive search. We’re joined by a shared ethos, of doing the right thing for our clients, and a shared focus on the customer experience and how to improve it – with the end goal of increasing value for our clients.

For more information contact:

Ember (UK) 020 7871 9797 | info@embergroup.co.uk