Gail Satchell, winner of Outstanding Customer Service Award last year, speaks about her surprise at scooping the 2015 prize.
There’s one thing that the RailStaff Awards continually teaches us: You don’t need to have worked in the industry for a lifetime to be a big noise in rail.
Last month, we caught up with Ben Cox – winner of the Apprentice of the Year category in 2015. For this issue, we spoke to Gail Satchell, who was recognised at last year’s event for her outstanding customer service contribution.
Gail, who works for Siemens Rail Automation, had only been in the industry for seven months when she won the Outstanding Customer Service category. The award now takes pride of place in the office.
‘I was very shocked,’ said Gail, who manages the technical training programme that supports Siemens Rail Automation’s 1,650 staff, ensuring that course places are booked, competencies are recorded and that everyone has the correct certification.
‘But I was very grateful and flattered by the votes that it would have taken to win… and it was nice to know that when I’d come in, I’d made an impact and I changed a few things, so it was quite nice to know that what I was doing was valued.’
Graduates and apprentices
Before joining Siemens, Gail had been in telesales. Part of her role then was to oversee the sales training teams. ‘I wanted to step away from the more sales side of things and be in a position where you still had a lot to do, but you weren’t so target driven.’
Gail’s current role involves looking after Siemens’ apprentices and graduates. Last year, Siemens Rail Automation hired 18 graduates and 20 apprentices. She helped with their induction and ensured they were meeting their targets.
Her job overall is to maintain a certain level of expertise and competence across the business. It is also important, however, that staff personally get something from the training.
‘You can do the training that they require, but also it means that if they’re happy and feel that they’re progressing, with the different training that they’re doing. They’re happier in themselves, as well… I think if you can just try and make the experience of organising it and making it stress free for them, and as easy as possible, that helps the mentality of making the training course seem like something they would enjoy to go on.’
Since the awards, Gail has been heavily involved in Siemens’ Military2Rail programme – an intensive six-week course delivered in partnership with Wiltshire College to prepare a group of former soldiers for a career in rail.
‘I really enjoyed working on that programme. I felt like it was giving something back to the Armed Forces,’ said Gail.
Gail sought out a role in training and development because she felt it would provide a newfound appreciation for her efforts. Recognition is important, she believes.
‘I think it’s nice to be recognised… and it’s nice to know that the work you’ve done is appreciated, and it is nice to be able to go to an awards night with your work colleagues. Even if you don’t win, you’re still there and you’ve been nominated to get that award.’
She added, ‘People aren’t afraid to vote for people who are new either, as opposed to someone that’s been there for a while.
‘I think, especially at Siemens, everyone sees work as work and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been here a long time or if you’ve not been here a long time, there’s still something you can bring to it that is accounted.’
Nominations are open for this year’s event. Visit www.railstaffawards.com/nominate to recognise a colleague who has demonstrated outstanding customer service.