Maritime & Transport

The business of transport is the public

Robert Guest is Head of Customer Services, Metro Trains Melbourne. Rob will be speaking at the Transport Accessibility & Connectivity conference in Sydney, 25-26 November. This important two-day event looks at how effective public transport is fundamentally about improving the customer experience and access for all.

Robert Guest

Rob, can you please tell us a little bit about your professional background and the path to your current role?

I have always been fascinated with organisational culture and change. It is this curiosity which had inspired me to study in Anthropology, earn a post graduate in Industrial Relations and a Masters in International Business at Melbourne Business School. Prior to this role, I held the position of Group HR Manager at Metro Trains where I lead organisational wide restructuring and workforce planning to support better performance for our customers.  Prior to working in rail, I had the privileged position to work for Racing Victoria, the governing body for Horse Racing in Victoria. Again leading change was the remit, introducing a raft of workplace reforms across the industry which improved workplace safety, employee conditions, and career pathways for the 15,000 industry participants.

 What are the major challenges you have faced with regards to implementing customer service improvement plans?

It is interesting that at the start of a customer experience change journey it can be a challenge to get momentum. Then once the momentum is generated, it can be hard to keep the organisational enthusiasm at bay, but the enthusiasm must not compromise the change road map.  The enthusiasm is a great thing, it is exactly what we want and aim to foster, however the enthusiasm must be structured and shaped in a way that underpins and supports the direction we are headed.

Is there a particular career highlight that you would like to tell us about?

Through a great team effort at Metro and partnership with Public Transport Victoria, we have improved our customer satisfaction score every quarter since January 2013. Additionally, our Dumb Ways to Die campaign educates the public on rail safety and our award winning customer service innovation the “stop here” application makes travel easier for vision and hearing impaired customers. We are also now accredited to the International Customer Service Standard.

 Are you able to give us a quick snapshot of what you will be talking about at TAC 2014?

Railways have typically been focused on the asset, rather than why the asset exists – which is to provide a service to the customer. I look forward to sharing Metro Trains journey on how we are improving the service, shifting our whole of business focus on the customer, and customer innovations.

Book now for Transport Accessibility & Connectivity, 25-26 November in Sydney.

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