Virgin Trains | Client Case Study
Presentation training helps staff integrate positively into local communities...
On taking over the West Coast Main Line (WCML) franchise, Virgin Trains was keen to centralise its corporate communications to ensure consistent service across the network. As service levels improved the Communications Director was keen for selected staff throughout the network to communicate directly with their local business communities. It was felt that staff working along the WCML route could better communicate with local businesses and communities served by Virgin Trains. It was a way for Virgin Trains to provide a local, friendly face and help build the Virgin Trains brand with long distance business travellers.
An additional benefit from Virgin’s perspective was that this would relieve some of the workload on the head quarters’ team, allowing them to concentrate on national, brand management activities.
The Communications Director wanted to improve the presentation and communications skills of managers across the WCML network. He wanted them to present at business networking events that might typically be run by local chambers of commerce.
This project was completely tailored for the very specific requirements of Virgin and the WCML staff. We surveyed all the staff involved and gained a clear understanding of the challenges they felt they would face being the ‘local voice’ of Virgin Trains. Many members of staff had worked on the railway for their entire working lives, and had never had any communications training. We needed to create a very supportive environment and keep our training practical and grounded – making it easy for them to practice and apply.
We ran many small-group, one-day workshops up and down the network, getting the staff to role play business networking and delivering presentations. We brought in additional people from outside the company to act as a typical audience, including some professional journalists. All of this helped build their confidence in handling questions that might arise. Presentations were recorded for individual post programme review, allowing staff to look over their personal performance and pinpoint any areas for improvement
Increased use of Virgin Trains by passengers commuting on business
Staff better equipped to positively communicate the Virgin Trains message at a local level and introduce the service to local business
A repeatedly consistent message has helped convey staff professionalism and enhance both the West Coast Main Line and broader Virgin Trains brand