Wroxham Barns is one of the most popular leisure attractions in Norfolk, with over 350,000 visitors a year, made up of locals and holidaymakers alike. The attraction is a showcase for traditional crafts, including spinning and woodturning, as well as a mecca for shoppers looking for gifts, clothes and plants. Wroxham Barns also boasts a funfair, a junior farm and a restaurant.
Director Ian Russell says ‘Many of our customers make repeat visits, with some of our customers having come to see us regularly over 20 years or so. Part of the attraction is the beauty of the buildings and the wealth of facilities but we also know that a warm welcome is equally appealing. Our staff love working here and it shines through in their positive approach. They treat customers as valued friends and know many of our visitors by name, which is of course very rare in this industry.’
Ian continues ‘The success of our attraction depends on our ability to look after every single one of our customers – old and new, locals and holidaymakers – so the quality of our staff is crucial. We are open year round, so our staff have full time positions, which means that the investment we place in staff training brings the business long term benefits.’
All the front line staff have taken part in ‘Welcome Host training’.
Ian says ‘’Welcome Host’ is right at the heart of our customer care programme. Many of our longer serving members of staff have taken part in ‘Welcome Host’ in the last 10 years but they still got a lot of benefit out of taking part in the training again. The course has been updated and it refreshed their awareness of the subtleties and complexities of delivering great customer service.
‘For newer members of staff, the ‘Welcome Host’ training gave them a fresh perspective on the importance of their role and a really useful overview of how to provide world class customer service. For example, the training helps staff understand how to turn negatives into positives. At Wroxham Barns, we ask visitors to complete a customer care card and although the vast majority of responses are positive, we do of course sometimes receive negative feedback. In these instances, we do everything possible to explain to the customer why the problem occurred, what we are doing to make sure it is not repeated and to offer an apology and recompense. The ‘Welcome Host’ training helps new staff see the value of this kind of activity and place it in context of our overall business objectives.’
Ian continues ‘ It helps the business to focus training around one core course of this kind as it means that all our staff now have the same knowledge and understanding of the ‘Welcome Host’ ethos. All our customer case initiatives are influenced and measured against the Welcome Host programme.’
‘Welcome Host helps us get the most out of our staff as well as helps the staff make the most of their jobs and get maximum job satisfaction. Our commitment to the Welcome to Excellence programme helps reinforce our wider customer care philosophy. We always try to go the extra mile. For example, we empower all our staff to make on the spot decisions themselves when customers encounter a problem. We also offer personal shopping assistance to customers who cannot access areas or need additional attention and we have experience in welcoming guests with disabilities. Because we see great customer service as an area where we always strive to achieve excellent results, it is a real boost to have a training partner that shares the same ethos and helps us instil this approach at the heart of our culture.’
‘We were delighted that our team has been recognised with an England for Excellence Award for Outstanding Customer Service and we believe Welcome to Excellence has played a crucial role in helping us achieve this level of service'.