The Bus Industry of Greater Copenhagen had become a place you didn't want to work. And the passengers didn't find the bus ride attractive. We gathered the industry and changed how they looked at themselves. Then we changed their service. And finally we helped them build a positive image in the public.
We gathered the public transportation administration of Copenhagen, the union and seven private companies that comprised Copenhagens bus industry with hundreds of busses and 4,000 bus drivers. First, we ran a 8 months pilot project and then a 3 year large scale change of behavior and image that would transform the industry. We gave power to the bus drivers because the customers said the drivers with character meant the most for the good experience. Within the first 8 months the job satisfaction increased from 72 to 90 percent and we kept delivering on multiple dimensions.
Bus drivers with character - that's a pioneer project. I think this is the beginning of many good stories about taking the bus. This project will be instrumental in achieving that. Lars Barfoed
Danish Minister of Transportation
A strategy of transforming an industry
We wanted to create a new reputation that would attract employees and get more people to choose the bus. But we knew that no media campaign could do the job. We had to change the staff and management focus from tangible measures such as delays and towards job satisfaction and good experiences for the customers. We had to change the culture and internal perception of the job before we could change the image of bus drivers externally. We created three major initiatives:
- Leadership and staff training through Movia Academy
- Building the brand visually and digitally
- Internal and external communication
Now the politicians are willing to join us in celebrating the bus drivers. Busses used to be unpopular but that has changed. We feel that and our drivers feel it. And it makes everyone want to do a bit more. That is absolutely the strength of Stagis. Paul Lacoppidan
CEO, Nobina Denmark
I am proud of my job as a bus driver. I wasn’t when I first started. Back then it was just a job like any other. But I’ve learned that if I put everything that I find important into the job, I feel proud when I tell others about it. Lars Lylloff
Bus driver, Copenhagen
The organizational culture of any service company has to support the customer experience you want to deliver. We designed, executed and delivered a leadership and staff training program named "Movia Academy" with the objective of changing how the entire bus industry saw their role – as individuals and as part of society. We changed the organizational and professional culture from several perspectives, promoting "Drivers with character" – the employees who create good experiences for colleagues and customers. Our program helped the teams and staff members to see positive potentials "catching each other in doing things right". Content was class instruction, team exercises outdoors and personal mentoring.
One of the things I'll take with me is to remember the appreciative way of leading the organization. I have to visit the drivers on the bus when they are driving. That's what we have to worship. Bjarne K. Larsen
Chief Operations Officer, City-Trafik
Cultural performance means business
The five day training program Movia Academy helped the executives, managers and front end staff see what behavior was creating positive results. The staff that had gone through training was awarded with diplomas and supported in promoting new behavior and new narratives in their workplace through our communication. The program had direct effect on job satisfaction, sickness absence, staff retention, recruitment and customer satisfaction.
We can see our sickness absence is now about 3 percent. The industry has an average of 8 percent. We think that our lower fuel consumption is caused by employee behaviour. They appear looking happier. This means millions in savings for our company. Paul Lacoppidan
CEO, Nobina Denmark
By naming and showing the personalities that create the service and deliver extraordinary experiences, we helped create pride, attract new talent and show the customers the true face of the bus drivers. We created the visual identity, name, colors, typography and visual grid that would carry all the messaging – internally and externally, online and in campaigns.
The problems that we've solved in the bus industry are not unique. What this industry is really working on, is to create better customer service and becoming an experience. They are trying to find their authentic strengths and unfold them. That's what we do at Stagis – we help define those strengths so that they create value for the outside world. Nikolaj Stagis
It's important that it doesn't look like some fancy ad campaign. That would remove the trustworthiness of the communication. Anne Schourup-Kristensen
The digital solution for the busdrivers with character was vital to the communication effort. The website collected positive text messages from passengers which users could vote on in order to find the best stories and point out the drivers who deserved to become "bus driver of the year". The website also offered knowledge about the bus driver job, possibilities for finding a job, the bus drivers' own online video broadcast and news about events. We delivered the concept, user experience development (UX), grahpic design, content and programming. The digital platform was launched first in the initial visual identity and later in the common national transportation design, using strong yellow and black.
Creating public events can be a good way of getting attention and bring out your message. The "bus driver of the year" was chosen and awarded at a large public show with a large audience and mention in the press. We hired the well known Danish photographer Henrik Saxgren to create a photographic book about the bus drivers who represent more than 30 nationalities in Copenhagen. We arranged a photograhic exhibition to be shown in public squares around Eastern Denmark. And we helped the bus drivers write, record and act a rap song which was performed on national television. The events gave the bus drivers a public face and helped us tell new stories about the industry and the job.
Our communications goal was to create a new image and reputation in the minds of the Danes through the media. We used paid commercial media creatively inside the buses to get passengers to contribute by sending text messages and change attitudes towards the bus drivers. Internal communication to the bus drivers helped them remember to deliver the right service. And in the press we succeeded in getting hundreds of positive stories about the bus drivers and their purpose across. During a four year period we changed the image of bus drivers in the Danish public from negative to very positive. We changed the image and perception of bus drivers and hence removed an obstacle that was preventing people from taking the bus.