THE MANAGING Director of rail operator First TransPennine Express was last night (23 Sept) awarded the prestigious title of 'Customer Service Leader of the Year'.

Vernon Barker was presented with the award at the National Customer Service Awards. The awards celebrate the effect and impact of excellent customer service on the consumer and businesses and attract entries from multinational companies and some of the UK's best-known service providers.

Vernon, who was named IOD North West Director of the Year last year, collected his award in front of more than 1,700 people at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

The judges chose Vernon for his outstanding work in a senior customer service role, his fantastic vision and strong leadership. Vernon makes himself known to customers when travelling on-board the trains, attends 'Meet the manager' drop-in sessions at stations and instills a strong value of customer service throughout the whole company.

Commenting on his win, Vernon said: "This is a fantastic achievement and I am so pleased to have won this award. First TransPennine Express takes customer service very seriously and it is great to be recognised for this, especially against such strong competition."

First TransPennine Express employs 1,000 people across the north of England and carries over 23 million passengers a year.

Don Hales, chairman of the judges, said: "Each year we use over 120 judges, all of whom give up their time to attend, listen and make the decisions. By definition all the judges are customer service professionals, many in senior roles.

"All our winners can be assured that they won in tight competition against worthy contenders and all our finalists can take some comfort in the fact that they were competing at the highest level."
The National Customer Service awards is in its ninth year and attracts several hundred entries every year.

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