A local train company is celebrating after its in-house Learning and Development team won a prestigious award.

First TransPennine Express (FTPE) has been awarded the title of Team of the Year at the recent Customer Service Training Awards.

Hosted at the Radisson Blu in Heathrow on Friday 6th July, the FTPE team beat off competition from four other finalists to scoop the national prize.

Run by the Customer Service Training Network (CSTN) the awards recognise best practice in customer service, leading edge training techniques and service excellence.

Since the beginning of the FTPE franchise in 2004, the business has invested over £5m in training and delivered upwards of 23,000 training days to a workforce of just over a 1,000.

The team of three both divise and deliver in house training on a range of topics from safety through to customer service.

Pat Brook, Learning and Development Manager for FTPE said of the award,

"We are really pleased and very proud to have been recognised by the Customer Service Training Network for our work within FTPE.

"We have a very small team but the business is highly committed to ensuring all colleagues are developed to the highest standard.

"We are a team who strongly believe in utilising the skills and resources within our business and to that end we regularly conduct focus groups with different areas of the business to bring in and incorporate the expertise within FTPE."

The team were recognised for the innovative and completely bespoke 'Doing the Right Thing' course which marries the need for ensuring safety and security with a focus on delivering great customer service.

'Doing the Right Thing' was designed, developed and delivered completely in-house, meaning the needs of the business and its customers were satisfied in a cost effective manner.

Uniquely not just customer facing staff attended the course, but the learning programme was rolled out to every member of the FTPE team including Directors and third party suppliers such as catering and station maintenance teams.

The course has been running for 18 months and in that period a 26 per cent drop in negative correspondence from passengers classed as 'most at risk' has been achieved and the National Passenger Survey results for 'helpfulness and attitude of staff' has risen to 82 per cent.

Nick Donovan, Managing Director of FTPE commented, 

"Learning and Development has always been a key part of the FTPE business. Upskilling our staff to Deliver Great Service Every Day is fundamental. I know we have the right team to do just that. They are both responsive to the business needs and innovative in terms of the training solutions they provide.

"Putting together and implementing 'Doing the Right Thing' is another clear example of their passion and commitment to our staff and ultimately our customers. It was a difficult challenge merging customer service training with safety messages but I am convinced that the programme they designed and they run is have lasting effects for all.

"They have made a significant contribution to making FTPE a safer place to be for colleagues and customers and I want to congratulate them on that achievement."

Judges from CSTN network praised the team and the course for their innovation and their ability to make each employee responsible and accountable to the customer. They commented that the 'buy in' from the top and the 'collaborative approach' was key to their success.

Richard Holliday, Learning and Development Manager said,

"It is fantastic that we have won an award for doing something that we love.

"We are all inspired by seeing colleagues throughout our business making a difference to the customers we serve as a result of our training.

"I am delighted that we have been able to develop 'Doing the Right Thing', a course that we have rolled out to all colleagues and one that is delivering improvements in safety and customer service."

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