Train firm achieves best-ever customer satisfaction results

A Northern Rail pacer train.
A Northern Rail pacer train.

Northern Rail, one of UK’s largest train operators whose diesels come through Burnley, has achieved its best-ever customer satisfaction score in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey.

Northern, a Serco and Abellio joint venture, has achieved an impressive 84% overall customer satisfaction score, compared to a national score of 83%.

Of the 26 train operators surveyed, Northern is one of only five to significantly improve overall.

The survey was carried out last autumn, with Northern’s score a 6% point increase on the equivalent 2014 survey.

It is Northern’s best ever score in the 12 years of its current franchise operation.

Over the last year Northern has targeted a series of measures to improve customer satisfaction.

Importantly, improvements to the information provided to customers during delays and the trains in service have been a particular focus.

As a result the score for dealing with delays has risen by 12% points, provision of information during a journey by 6% points and overall satisfaction with the train, which includes cleanliness, by 6% points. These are the areas our customers told us we needed to improve.

To target future service improvements, Northern has already started developing retail technologies for ticket buying.

Work ranges from the introduction of new payment options such as Apple Pay and on station ticket machines, through to initiatives such as the retail Smart Wall at Harrogate station.

The Smart Wall features facial detection technology that moves interactive ticket touchscreens to the customer’s eye level.

Northern is now working on support for paperless ticket travel and smartcard technology.