LCR has built a quality service brand to match the expectations of the
station's retail and hospitality tenants from ground-up, starting with
Interview forums devised by advisors Echelon Learning saw 400 potential
recruits selected after telephone screening from a total application of
1570, attend half-day assessment workshops at Arsenal's Emirates football
Groups of up to 12 candidates participated in different customer service
scenarios played out by actors. Further exercises tested candidates'
observation skills by identifying irregularities and potential hazards in
a specially contrived photograph of the station's concourse.
Skills of acuity were also assessed through listening to and drafting a
report of an incident.
One-to-one interviews rounded off the exercise observed by a team of
Echelon 's assessors and 77 customer service officers (CSOs) were
Further brand building during induction involved CSOs honing their
customer service skills and developing an understanding of a future role
involving a number of job-based service practices.
St Pancras is heralded as the most technologically advanced railway
station in the world. Digital glass screens behind service desks will
display customer information. A single departures board is being replaced
with customer information points located around the station as well as
small departures board scrolling train information.
A future development enables passengers to receive information about
train departure times and platform numbers via SMS.
In training, CSOs have also been acquainted with the technologies being
implemented to assist them, including customer service information
updated regularly via each individual's mobile personal digital
"Staff technical training and induction have been followed by further
customer care training, putting in place the criteria by which they are
perceived and judged by the travelling public," explains Echelon director
Hill adds that the programme - from recruitment and selection to
induction and customer care training - has been devised to allow the
development of a highly professional brand of customer service.
Alison Smith, station manager St Pancras and Ebbsfleet international
stations cites the initiative as playing an important part in the
development of the St Pancras International brand.
"Both St Pancras International and Ebbsfleet International are being
transformed to set new standards for railway stations in the 21st
St Pancras International, as Eurostar's new central London home, will
also be a place where the heart of London meets the heart of Europe," she
"With expectations justifiably high, it is vital that station users will
be met and helped by service staff not only with the right knowledge but
also highest level of inter-personal skills that this job demands.
"Echelon's strategy to use actors in such an impressive venue lent the
proceedings a real 'wow' factor. It also enabled us to quickly identify
and develop the best candidates from so many applicants."
The process worked so well that LCR has adopted it for the integration of
new recruits with existing staff members.
Echelon has held Development Centres for St Pancras's 70 existing staff.
The company has adapted its Interview Forum model to assess existing
levels of competence to deliver LCR's visionary Service Brand and in
addition the capability of each staff member to act as either mentor,
role model or coach to the new recruits. Existing staff were also
assessed in the advanced technical skills required to work in the new
station control room.
Additional processes provided by Echelon will be used for further
development of staff skill sets in brand service development and customer