The Role of a Train Station Customer Service Assistant (CSA)
When we think about careers within the rail industry, train driver and train guard immediately spring to mind. However, there are many different and varied jobs available that are designed to ensure the trains run on time and the level of service provided is the highest it can be. One such role is the Train Station Customer Service Assistant.
Other roles within the Railway Industry include:
- Project engineer
- Project manager
- Project planner
- Scheme project manager
- Site manager
- Track maintenance operative
- Customer service assistant
- HR administrator
- Team organiser
Of course, due to the intense levels of competition amongst trainee train driver applicants, another option is to choose a different role with the Train Operating Company first, before eventually applying for your preferred role. This option also has the benefit that the TOC will get to see what you are like as an employee and how effective you are at helping them deliver a high level of customer service.
In this article we will specifically take a look at Train Station CSA is and what the role involves.
As we are all aware, train stations are very busy places and the role of a Customer Service Assistant can be extremely demanding. The key areas of the role include:
- Dealing with members of the public
- Answering train-related queries, such as train times, delays and ticket information
- Helping customers and ail passengers who have mobility issues
- Manning the station information point
- Being available at the reception
- Carrying out security patrols
As you can imagine, you will need to have lots of skills and qualities to deal with customers, especially when customers become frustrated and agitated due to train delays and issues with disruption due to inclement weather.
Train Station Customer Service Assistant
In order for Train Operating Companies such as South Eastern, CrossRail, EuroStar, Virgin Trains and West Coast Railways to operate effectively, their customer service must be the best it can be. Often, the first person a passenger will come into contact with at any train station will be the Customer Service Assistant. Therefore, it is crucial you have the following qualities before you apply and complete the application form:
Confidence (required to deal with difficult and upset customers. In addition, confidence is required to know and learn your job so that you can provide the information required when requested by customers and rail passengers)
Fitness (required as you will be on the go for most of your shift.
Flexibility (Customer Service Assistants within the rail industry are required to work shifts; therefore, you will need to be in a position to work at short notice)
Consistency (this is required when providing information to customers and also when dealing with customer complaints)
Retain information (required for when you start to learn your role. You will need to retain a large amount of job relevant information and apply it on a daily basis)
Vigilance and tenacity (this is required for when you conduct security patrols and checks on the train station and platforms.
Some of the larger train stations, such as Kings Cross, Manchester Central, London Euston and Birmingham New Street will have more facilities than the other smaller stations that form part of Network Rail. These include information points, mobility centres and receptions.
Manning the Information Point
When you carry out this particular role you will have constant access to the live rail times. If you look at the reception point at London Victoria, there are people queuing for information every hour of the day. Although there will be boards provided that offer live train times, some customers want to speak to a customer service assistant. Computer skills will be required for this role.
Train Station Reception
The railway station reception point is often the first place passengers will come to in order to ask for directions, train times, purchasing tickets and also requesting train platform locations. You will need to greet passengers in a friendly and welcoming manner. You will also have to deal with other members of the rail industry group, such as engineers and people working on the track. They will be required to sign in and you will need to collect their risk assessment and health and safety forms.
Offering Mobility Assistance
Some customers will book in advance for mobility assistance and you will need to arrange this for when they arrive, greet them and provide a mobility buggy for them and their baggage. They will then be taken to the relevant platform where they can wait for their train to arrive. Customer Service Assistants are also often required to learn how to drive the mobility buggy, too.
As you can imagine, within the current climate, security is becoming more and more important. During your training you will learn how to carry out security checks at the station, on trains and also on the platforms, looking out for suspicious packages and baggage. You will also have to provide security updates over the train station communication system. Whilst full training is provided, you should have excellent communication skills, both verbally and in writing. Attention to detail is absolutely imperative for this role.
Before you apply
Now that you have taken the time to learn more about the role of a CSA, think carefully about whether or not you have the skills required to carry out the role. If you do have the skills required, and you are certain it is the job you want, you would be encouraged to arrange a visit at your local train station to find out more about the role and the Train Operating Company you are applying for.
Our Transport for London Assessment test questions are a great way to prepare for a CSA assessment: