Virgin Trains has renewed its certification in the Recognised for Excellence (R4E) programme at the highest level of 5 stars, following a bi-annual assessment by the British Quality Foundation (BQF). The company, which originally achieved 5 star status in May 2011, improved its overall score by around 20 per cent, with higher ratings for all nine criteria.
R4E is Europe’s leading recognition programme for organisational performance and forms part of the EFQM Levels of Excellence. The 5 star rating demonstrates that Virgin Trains continues to perform to a very high standard.
Andy Cross, Business Support Director, Virgin Trains said: “This award is a fantastic result for us and shows that, despite everything that happened with the franchise bid last year, thanks to our people, Virgin Trains has been formally recognised once again as a 5 star business. It will further build our credentials for the next franchise bid, and clearly shows that we are not standing still in the pursuit of excellence in customer service throughout every part of our business.”
Joe Goasdoué, Chief Executive, BQF said: “I am delighted to see Virgin Trains’ journey to excellence continue with its award of five star Recognised for Excellence once again.”
In their Feedback Report the BQF assessors recognised the customer service ethos that is at the heart of the business and which inspires our people. They wrote: “Virgin Trains culture is based around the customer with the aim of providing excellent service and continuously improving the customer experience of travel on its routes. From senior leadership to front line staff it was clear that everyone we spoke with during the site visit has a focus on the customer and seeks to add value wherever possible. Virgin Trains has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of its customer base, both existing and potential, and their needs and expectations. It uses this knowledge to develop and deliver added value for customers e.g. through discounted ticket prices, targeted offers for frequent travellers and organisational groups, improvements to on board services and reduced journey times.”
They also praised front line staff. The report stated: “Virgin Trains understands that their front line staff are closest to the customer and as such has devolved responsibility and authority to staff to deal with customer issues on the spot. Staff are trusted to take the correct course of action and are encouraged to come up with ideas for improvements based on their interactions and conversations with customers at stations and on board trains. All the staff we met felt empowered to deliver an excellent service to customers.”