A bus driver from Newcastle has won heaps of praise from both passengers and his company for his customer service skills and been rewarded for his commitment with a Service to the Community Award.
Steven Davidson, 39 from Wallsend has only been a bus driver for Stagecoach North East for four years and has already made a huge impression, having received 11 commendations from customers in the past two years.
Based at Stagecoach’s Walkergate depot, Steven is a regular on services 12 between Fenham and Wallsend, service 22 from Throckley and Cobalt and service 1 from Slatyford to Cochrane Park, and his customers have written in to the company to compliment him on his customer service skills.
The comments range from “chatty and cheery despite working until midnight”, “helpful with advice and calm under pressure” and “greets passengers getting on and off the bus” to “warm, friendly and enthusiastic”, “customer service goes a long way” and “brightened up their evening.”
Customers have also said of Steven that he is “the nicest driver for a long time”, “an absolute pleasure”, “treats people with respect and a smile” and always “kind and considerate towards passengers.”
The bus driver, who went part-time to spend more time at home with his son Callum, who was diagnosed with learning disabilities, has worked in a number of customer-focused roles prior to being a bus driver. Steven developed his people skills early in his career in client sales for a kitchen door retailer in North Shields, and as a road sweeper for a local council where he spent 13 years chatting with people, being polite and friendly.
Steven said: “I really like my job, being out and about on the road. I remember the passengers and I’m on first name terms with them. I always believe that you treat people how you want to be treated so I enjoy a bit of banter with the customers - a nice smile, a bit of humour and ‘have a safe journey home’. Of course, not everyone is nice so I can be firm but fair if needed. But being polite and friendly really helps and I have even had customers sticking up for me when we have been late due to roadworks.
“I am delighted to receive the letters from passengers and would like to say thank you to everyone for the compliments. You don’t have a company without customers. Thank you also to Stagecoach for the award, a great company to work for.
As part of the recognition, Steven was presented with a certificate and shopping vouchers from the company by Stagecoach North East’s Operations Director, Colin Newbury.
David Wakefield, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Walkergate depot, said: “The Service to the Community Award was designed to acknowledge staff who assist members of the community and also who receive numerous commendations. We have received 11 commendations for Steven since 2016 which compliment him on the manner in which he carries out his duties, three of these commendations in one day.
“Steven is eminently suited to his role dealing with customers and we are delighted to hear such positive comments from our customers in what can sometimes be a challenging role.”
Steven is now looking to expand his position and become a relief duty manager in the control room alongside his bus driving role, and hopes to return full time when his son enters higher education.