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Service with a smile

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It can be rare for good customer service to get the recognition it deserves. Customers are far more likely to write in with a complaint than  with a complement.

The same can’t be said for this year’s Outstanding Customer Service winner, who has made a habit of collecting dazzling feedback from the passengers she meets.

Professional attitude

Nicola May, a train conductor with TransPennine Express (TPE), took home the 2017 award for her pleasant demeanour and professional attitude. Her nomination for the RailStaff Awards followed recognition in FirstGroup’s internal awards for its rail, bus and transit staff around the world.

Her nomination included several examples of the kind of thank-you notes Nicola receives on a regular basis. In one example, she was thanked by a mum for posting back the shoe that her little boy had lost under a train while it was leaving York station.

Nicola was unable to attend the awards evening so her trophy was collected by Chris Nutton, major projects director at TPE. He said, ‘At TPE, we’ve got hundreds of excellent people working with customers, but Nikki really stands out.

‘Each and every day bringing her personality to the service that she gives on board our trains. Always positive even in the most trying of circumstances, recognised by hundreds of our passengers through correspondents and social media.’

Worthy winner

The Outstanding Customer Service award was sponsored by telent, which has been providing communications systems to the rail industry for more than 30 years. The award was presented by the managing director of telent’s transport division, Stephen Dalton.

Nicola was also nominated for her determination to continue to improve TPE’s service. It was this that impressed Stephen most. He said, ‘The thing that won her the category was innovation, where she got involved in groups, taking feedback – good and bad – from the customers back into the organisation.’

He added, ‘We’re very pleased to sponsor this award, and I think we’ve got a very worthy winner there.’

Highly commended: Faye Lambert, London Midland, and John Wards and Simon Cheesman, Network Rail.