CRA 2014 winner - Best Customer Service

Northern Rail – Tour de France

Northern Rail’s involvement with the Tour de France (TdF) is a clear example of customer service excellence in action. Le Grand Depart was Northern Rail’s biggest ever event in terms of scale, planning and delivery, with 2.5 million cyclists, tourists and spectators heading to Yorkshire to witness the start of this world-famous event. For Northern Rail, the TdF was a unique opportunity to deliver an exemplary customer experience, engage its staff and front-line teams in a common goal, create awareness of the existing cycle-rail facilities and services and grow the profile and appeal of cycle-rail in Yorkshire. Preparations and planning took a year. The theme “Taking you to the tour” underpinned all the activity and communications, which included an interactive webpage highlighting cycling facilities and access at each station near the route. The ‘Le Yorkshire’ rail ticket granted unlimited travel around the county, for less than £10 per day.

Behind the scenes, Northern Rail’s staff had a dedicated campaign intranet page, providing easy access to event briefings and tour maker packs for volunteers, to ensure everyone involved was informed and on message. Staff inspired by the athletes were encouraged to take The Northern Cycle Challenge, building on the buzz around the event to inspire them to try out cycling to work and for leisure. Northern Rail worked closely with event organisers TdF Hub, stakeholders and partners including Network Rail, BTP and other TOCs to deliver the event. Northern Rail maintained clear communication with and managed the expectations of visiting cyclists. The event was hugely successful for Northern Rail and for cycling, with Leeds CyclePoint enjoying one of its busiest days since opening. Staff were fully engaged, with 150 volunteering throughout the weekend. In addition, Northern Rail Cycle Forum had a string of successful workshops focusing on the Tour. Northern Rail delivered a slick, unforgettable customer experience for spectators and athletes alike.

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