Over the next few months, we will be working closely with customer care training expert Caroline Cooper from Naturally Loyal to provide free workshops as part of our Culture+ programme.  These will take place in several cultural organisations across Dorset, from arts centres to museums, and will enhance and develop key customer care skills for both employees, and volunteers.

Caroline Cooper delivering a Customer Care workshop for volunteers at Shire Hall, Dorchester.

Many small arts and cultural organisations (particularly venues) rely on an army of willing volunteer supporters to look after, and promote key messages to visitors, and this is good news. A wealth of knowledge and passion for the organisation they ‘work’ for, means volunteers are a natural resource, and well worth the investment of time and training.

In this age of instant reviews and sharing of experiences, the demand for flawless service and instant information delivered with a smile has never been higher.  The tourism sector – hotels, restaurants, shops – rely on good customer care and visitor satisfaction to encourage repeat custom and a good reputation. Wait over an hour without reason or apology in a cafe and not only are you are unlikely to return, but you will share the experience with everyone you know, and they are unlikely to go either. Work in a shop (or wear any kind of badge) and you are fair game for those who need information, from directions to the weather – people just expect you to know.

Arts centres, art galleries, theatres and museums are also part of this huge service network.  Venues with a public café or bar, or with an easily accessible Box Office, are fair game for a public seeking information, directions and insider knowledge

The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, June 2017

The pleasure people expect from a culture, entertainment or leisure activity starts as soon as they first decide to do something.  As with tourism, the visitor journey starts from decision, and extends through booking, travel, welcome, expected experience, added value experiences, goodbye and follow up.  Difficulty booking a ticket online, having to deal with a miserable employee, or a constantly engaged phone line playing Vivaldi all detract from the experience. A cold venue, confusing signs, overly expensive cups of tea, queues and unsmiling, bored or annoyed staff are all danger points.

Our Customer Care workshops aim to show employees and volunteers how to deliver a perfect experience on a daily basis at every customer touch-point.  The next workshops will be held in the summer 2018 so keep an eye on our Courses and Workshops page to sign up once they are live.

Over the next few weeks we will share more thoughts on some customer care tips, and the difference they can make.

Do you have any stories of good customer care tips to share with others? Or did you have a particularly good visitor experience at a venue recently? Tell us in the comments box below.