Gearing up for National Customer Services Week


30 Sep 2022

As we gear up to mark National Customer Services Week 2022, members of our team explain how they work behind the scenes to keep customers moving and safe.

Gearing up for National Customer Services Week

Customer Services Director Andrew Butterfield recalls one unusual case which involved a distressed motorist and a stricken violin, which struck a real chord in the control room. He says:

"We took a call from a distressed gentleman who said he’d lost his violin while on the way to perform in a concert. It had fallen onto the road from the back of his motorcycle and he’d pulled over to raise the alarm. Once we’d taken the details of the location, we quickly notified the relevant regional control centre and dispatched our traffic officers to the area to help. When our teams arrived, they were able to recover the violin and return it to the gentleman. Thankfully the instrument was still intact, and he even made it to the show on time."

This is just one anecdotal example which shows why it’s vital that we have teams on standby ready to react to calls from customers because safety is always our top priority. Although people may not necessarily see themselves as our ‘customers’, a strong customer service focus is central to how we design, build and run the country’s motorways and major A-roads.

Andrew says:

“We’re committed to making a real difference for our customers. Getting people home safely, or making sure your goods arrive on time, is all in a day’s work for our frontline teams. If you need our help, our frontline teams are available 24/7, 365 days a year.”

National Highways Customer Service Director Andrew Butterfield says listening to customers is key to shaping decisions.

(National Highways Customer Service Director Andrew Butterfield)

New figures show that we handle around 28,000 phone calls and nearly 6,000 emails from customers every month. Although some of the calls can be a bit unusual – someone called in about transporting fish – our frontline teams are always on hand to help.

Customer advisor Elias is one of 57 people working in our customer contact centre which operates 24/7, all year round from the National Traffic Operations Centre in Quinton. He says:

“We deal with thousands of calls and emails each day from across the country. I could be asked about a variety of issues ranging from road users calling in to report debris, advise us of an incident or simply asking us a question about something they have come across on our network – such as why a road is closed or to inform us of animals on the network. I love my job because no two days are the same. Teamwork and sharing information at the contact centre are key. This makes sure the team have got the information to help customers on the spot.” 

The challenging job of keeping people moving following an incident frequently falls to our traffic officers, who are often first on scene in a motorway incident.

As well as clearing obstructions and spillages, traffic officers help remove broken-down vehicles, and support the police and other emergency services by managing road closures when there’s a serious incident. Teams in eight operations centres across the country work hand-in-hand with on-road traffic officers, responding to emergency calls and setting signs and signals when required.

Four million vehicles use our roads every day and it’s important to us that they reach their destination safely. Great teamwork is central to our ability to effectively operate England’s strategic road network. We have a very dedicated and passionate team looking after people when they’re using the roads.  

One of the people responsible for dispatching traffic officers to incidents in the East Midlands region is Operations Manager Mark Munnoch. He says:

“Drivers will be familiar with the National Highways liveried vehicles that travel up and down the strategic road network, but there are many hidden heroes who work together with them behind the scenes making sure the countries motorways and major A-roads run smoothly. "

Mark Munnoch is an Operations Manager for National Highways

(Mark Munnoch is an Operations Manager for National Highways)

From answering calls to setting signs and signals as well as attending or clearing incidents and making sure our infrastructure is in proper working order – the combined effort of all our staff ultimately helps people make safer journeys and keeps people moving.

Visit our Open Day - Saturday 8 October

If you want to learn more about National Highways’ frontline services this National Customer Service Week, the organisation’s West Midlands Regional and National Traffic Operations Centres will be open to the public on Saturday, 8 October.

There will be fun activities for all of the family as well as the chance to speak to traffic officers and operational staff about their roles.

Visitors will also be able to get an insight into the work of the adjacent National Traffic Operations Centre during the event.

Find out how to attend by visiting our event page.