Case Study: South West Trains

Communication and Customer Experience Development


South West Trains operates around 1,600 trains a day on a network in the South and South West England. Serving more than 200 stations and employing around 4,500 people. 

Over the last year SWT has been implementing new patrol plans based on The British Transport Police Trafalgar operating model who they work side by side with. Using an evidenced based approach SWT’s Rail Community Officers are now being deployed using Trafalgar style Patrols to certain hotspots at certain times across the network.

Key to the success of this approach is how RCOs communicate and engage with the travelling public, other TOC employees and stakeholders as they patrol their various hot spot locations. With this in mind SWT decided to engage Future Vision who had been working with BTP to improve RCO communication and customer service. 


We spent several days on patrol with a cross section of RCOs across London and the Southeast, observing their interactions with different customers and stakeholders. This was supplemented with a number of informal interviews and focus groups with this team, their team leaders and managers.

 What was evident was that while there were some very good communicators, there was also a lot of inconsistency across the team, with some very different levels of expertise and experience in terms of communication, especially when dealing with more challenging or emotional interactions. Some of these interactions were also affecting the RCOs due to their intensity, leaving some emotionally drained due to their challenging nature. It was also evident this team would benefit from understanding more about customer experience and the role of empathy in delivering positive personalised customer experiences.

It was decided there would be two learning programmes, one for team managers and coaches and the other for the frontline teams. Both would go through the same programme, only that the manager and coach group would be given additional insight into supporting their teams development once they are back in role. This group would also have a follow up day to focus on coaching and performance support.

Both programmes would focus on developing self-awareness using a unique communication and preference tool called Tetramap, nature of customer experience.  This wonderful tool helps people understand their own preferences and then how they can adapt their approach to communicate with customers in a way that connects to the customers own preferences and communication style. 

The team were also taken through a range of practical skills, including how to build rapport quickly, how to effectively empathise and connect with customers, as well as some of our core customer service skills we call the brilliant basics. The learning itself was both experiential and practical with plenty of time for skills practice and self-reflection ensuring delegates enjoyed a complete learning experience.

Key results

  • A more self-aware and customer focused team with the skills to deliver consistently good customer experiences.
  • An improved understanding at management level of how the team communicate with customers and each other across the different hubs.
  • Employee confidence in communication and using the skills learned moved from 6.6 out of 10 to 9.2 out of 10 as a result of the classroom development sessions.
  • 100% of delegates improved their confidence as a result of the training.
  • 100% of delegates would recommend this programme to colleagues.
  • Reducing crime and calls for service.
  • Improving passenger confidence.

Client feedback

Great work!

security and crime prevention officer

Great work Future Vision, the benefit of what you guys have delivered has been outstanding and this was reflected in an improvement of KPIs.