Virgin are still living their brand

Virgin Trains Vs East Midlands Trains

I was in London for a very early meeting last week and chose to travel out of Grantham on the East Coast mainline that is now operated by Virgin trains. It was always a quick route, normally cheaper than East Midlands Trains and in my experience anyway, dead reliable.

I have always have had high expectations of Virgin and their brand. They promise a lot with their values, so they have a lot to live up to.

And they didn’t just live up to them, they completely exceeded them. Perfect service, genuinely chatty, friendly staff and a great choice of breakfast options delivered to your table at no extra cost. (my bacon sarnie was lovely thanks) and free wifi that was fast enough to be usable for work.

On the way home later, they added a choice of hot meals or a selection of (very tasty) sandwiches and wine or beer and teas and coffees, again all included in the price. It just feels like they are being generous in every respect, even though the actual cost must be tiny, the perceived value and the warmth this drives towards the brand is massive.

Today i’m back on the slightly more expensive and slower East Midlands Train to Nottingham. Full priced menu, wifi that doesn’t work properly (It’s so slow that I can’t even load Speedtest.net to test how bad it is). The staff are still very friendly and I did get a glass of wine on the way home, so overall, i’m not particularly inspired to travel on this route again. It’s Grantham and Virgin for me.

So this proves that you can drive your brand values right through to your service standards and you can keep delivering them over and over again and find new ways to win over and delight your customers.

Thanks Sir Richard.

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One thought on “Virgin are still living their brand

  1. I just saw this post when Googling for something else and I must correct you. This is nothing to do with the Virgin brand. When you had written that article the service on-board was identical to that offered by the previous operator, East Coast. East Coast had been offering complimentary catering including hot food and alcohol since 2011. It was the best operator in the UK despite Virgin Trains West Coast getting all the media attention.

    For the first two years Virgin (really 90% Stagecoach, the people who run East Midlands Trains) did a decent enough job taking the long running East Coast service style and tweaking it a bit, but this year the service has started to decline, it’s still better than most operators but was worse than what we had with East Coast.

    BTW the managing director of Virgin Trains East Coast is David Horne, who prior to taking that role was managing director of East Midlands Trains.

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