Brooklands Museum, Surrey

Volunteers shift customer service up a gear!

More than 100 volunteers are leading the drive to improve customer service at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge. Known as the birthplace of British Motorsport and Aviation, the Museum has used a bequest to fund a series of Welcome Host Plus training  courses for the voluntary stewards who look after visitors across the 30-acre site.

More than 110,000 people enjoy the collections of  classic and racing cars, and airplanes each year. Some 15–20 volunteers are on duty at any one time, working in indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, catering facilities and at events. They direct visitors around the vast site, answer queries and work to boost the overall visitor experience.

“We decided customer service training was an excellent use of the bequest, as volunteers are crucial to running the attraction,” said Commercial Manager Valerie Mills. “Our research shows that visitors appreciate volunteers’ knowledge and enjoy a personal welcome. We wanted to encourage our volunteers to approach customers more proactively, so they can offer advice or suggestions.”

TSE Training and Skills were brought in to deliver the one-day Welcome Host Plus course, which offers advanced training that builds on core service skills and was tailored to meet Brooklands’ operational needs. A series of seven courses, each for 15 volunteers, was delivered on site at the Museum.

Brooklands selected Welcome Host Plus after evaluating various training course options. “We felt it was the most appropriate, and it is very well regarded throughout the tourism industry,” Valerie added.

“The course and trainer were excellent and we had a very positive response from participants. I think it has helped change some peoples’ perceptions and made them realise how important it is to understand what visitors want and to be confident in communicating with them.”

TSE Training Services Director Sue Gill said: “Many museums and attractions have charitable, not-for-profit status and rely on volunteers, but at the same time are competing for visitor spend with the rest of the tourism industry. Giving volunteers new customer service skills can really make a difference and I am delighted that Brooklands chose to invest in this via Welcome Host Plus. The race is definitely on to improve customer service standards and Brooklands has really taken a lead.”

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