First Bus response to 2017 Bus Passenger Survey
Statement to be attributed to Giles Fearnley, Managing Director at First Bus:
“These results confirm what we already know, that we need to continue our focus on improving customer experience, but it’s pleasing to see that our value for money rating has increased, as well as achieving outstanding satisfaction results across some of our local businesses. This is the first year that First Cymru has been included within the results and it’s pleasing to see that they have achieved exceptional results across the board. First York continues to score highly for overall satisfaction and value for money, whilst our Scotland East, Glasgow and Leicester businesses have seen significant increases in their satisfaction scores.
“Across First Bus we understand that customer service is key to growing our business and are continuing to invest in this core area. We have invested in new payment technologies that make catching the bus much easier; including contactless and mTickets. The rollout of contactless is well under way and we are seeing growth every week, especially within our larger urban operations – i.e. West Yorkshire and West of England. Alongside our contactless offering, the use of mTickets is exceeding our expectations and year-on-year growth (over 100%) continues to be strong.
“We are also improving how our customers can plan their point to point journeys on our journey planning app, where they can also see where their bus is in real time, using GPS. This new technology provides us with data that allows us to better understand how our buses are performing so we can work with local authorities to identify congestion hot spots and deliver a more reliable bus service that our customers can trust.
“We also have “Tell First Bus”, which is an online customer surveying tool where our customers can go to tell us how they feel about their journey. This provides us with invaluable feedback, which we use to drive improvements to local services.
“We are investing in our people by increasing the amount of customer service training all of our drivers receive with our industry leading “Journey Makers” programme. We have also made it easier for customers to contact us by introducing web and mobile chat as part of our investment to improve our CRM and Social Media activity. We are also reviewing our entire customer service proposition and improving our omnichannel approach to customer service enquiries. This will facilitate greater engagement with our customers through the conversion of complainants into advocates.
“Our customer-focussed projects are ambitious and change will not take place overnight – it will take time for this to filter through the results of surveys like this. However, we’re more confident than ever that we’re on the right track and that we are focussing on the best ways to improve the customer experience going forwards.”