Growth Needs Assessment
Network Rail, and specifically its Chief Executive Andrew Haines, were tasked with Ministers to establish the Great British Railways Transition Team, (GBRTT) in 2021 in response to the Williams-Shapps ‘Plan for Rail’, the Government’s plan to transform the railways in Great Britain.
A deep dive process was initiated to determine the operating model for GBRTT and, as part of this process, Journey4 were commissioned to advise on how to adopt a customer-focused approach from the outset and to build the required customer capabilities within the organisation.
We approached this task by reviewing customer expectations of the railway and how they might have changed since the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it had on working and travel behaviours and assessing how these changes might impact on the reform ambitions set out in the ‘Plan for Rail’.
This analysis and understanding of current customer needs was then used to shape recommendations on an operating model that could deliver greater customer focus. This involved developing recommendations for a new Customer Team, ongoing customer insight and industry strategy for customers and leadership and culture.
Following a deep dive process conducted utilising an agile methodology our recommendations were submitted to and approved by the Secretary of State for Transport. Following approval of our recommendations, we were asked to set up the Customer Team and establish the core customer activities, (insight, strategy, design and delivery) as GBRTT was mobilised from a virtual programme into a physical entity. This work included supporting the development of the leadership and culture of GBRTT and represents the biggest change to the rail industry since privatisation and a once in a generation opportunity to transform the railway to become truly customer focused.
Impact of our work
At the start of the deep dive process, the focus was primarily on passenger experience, as opposed to creating a customer focused organisation. We successfully made the case for creating a focus on the latter and establishing a Customer Team to lead this transformation, which we then mobilised. The Customer Team is now well established and leading customer-focused activities across GBRTT, and the rail industry and ‘customer-led thinking’ has been established as the first of four priorities for GBRTT as it transitions towards GBR.