Echelon Learning’s Rail Service Initiative on Track

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<p><strong>London &mdash; Aug. 30</strong><br />An initiative by London and Continental Railways (LCR) to support the creation of a service brand for the newly redeveloped London St. Pancras International station will be featured at the Echelon Learning stand at the Customer:Strategy and Management exhibition Sept. 26-27. <br /><br />Together with its case study on St. Pancras, featuring the actors used in the program, Echelon will showcase its service brand development work for commercial and public sector organizations, including Basingstoke & Deane Council, BUPA, Queens Moat House Hotels, Stena and Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust.<br /><br />&ldquo;Building a service brand starts at two points in an organization: from the top down and from the bottom up,” said Echelon Director David Hill. &ldquo;The executive determines the service standards to which the company should aspire and cascades them throughout the organization. New recruits are inducted into these standards which, in many cases, form part of the organization&rsquo;s performance management.&rdquo;<br /><br />In the case of LCR, about 400 potential recruits &mdash; whittled down by telephone screening from a total application of 1,570 &mdash; were invited to attend Arsenal&rsquo;s new Emirates Stadium for assessment.<br /><br />Groups of up to 12 candidates took part in a half-day selection exercise, which involved watching scenarios played out by actors and then becoming involved interactively.<br /><br />Candidates were invited to comment on a scene involving a customer complaint, identify irregularities and potential hazards in a photograph taken at St. Pancras and then draft a report of an incident. <br /><br />One-to-one interviews rounded off the exercises, observed throughout by a team of Echelon&rsquo;s assessors, and 77 customer service officers (CSOs) were subsequently appointed.<br /><br />The second stage in brand building took place during induction, where the CSOs honed their customer service skills and developed an understanding of a role involving many job-based service practices.<br /><br />”Once the new staff have received their technical training and induction program, they will be undergoing further customer care training, putting in place the fundamental criteria by which these staff can be perceived, and judged, by the travelling public,” Hill said.<br /><br />The whole program &mdash; from recruitment and selection to induction and customer care training &mdash; has been devised to allow the seamless development of a highly professional brand of customer service. </p><p>Echelon&rsquo;s use of actors as part of the assessment, as well as the training process, marks a first for the industry, Hill said.<br /><br />St. Pancras will not only be the key destination for the Eurostar and high-speed rail in the United Kingdom, but a major retail and hospitality destination.<br /><br />Facilities include Europe&#39;s longest champagne bar, a daily farmers&rsquo; market and world-class brasserie and a mix of independent boutiques, along with some of the best-known names in High Street retailing. </p><p>The Echelon initiative plays an important part in the development of the unique St. Pancras brand.<br /><br />”The strategy to use actors in such an impressive venue lent the proceedings a real &lsquo;wow&rsquo; factor and fast-tracked identifying and developing the best candidates from so many applicants,” Hill said.<br /><br />LCR is now adopting the strategy for the integration of new with existing staff members, and their development both organizationally (in terms of excellent service practices) and personally (through customer service training).</p>

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