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Joanne Williamson Customer Experience Manager talks about her experience
Stena ferries our latest customer and project, are passionate about giving their customer’s the best experience and recognise it’s an emotional journey where little things make a massive difference.
They have introduced 5 key service promises:
These 5 service promises are at the core of everything they do, on and off board. They are simple, practical and real and all the staff and crew can relate to them. They are also passionate about developing their people and wanted to create a dynamic and different training programme to refresh these service promises and keep them alive, not because their staff are not doing well but because they are doing well. Sometimes it is harder to maintain excellent service standards than it is to make improvements.
We were delighted to be asked to work with them on this project and the key requirements were:
Inspire staff to keep up the good work and help them to share best practice.
Bring the service promises to life in a dynamic and fun way that means the learning sticks.
Deliver a motivational and enjoyable experience with an important message.
After spending time with key stake holders, travelling on the ferries and talking to staff we created a ½ day workshop using 3 actors showing the journey of passenger’s “Carol” and “John” (played by our actors Gregg and Sheila) new to travelling on ferries. Carol and John met Stena representatives at each stage of the journey from security to eating in the Taste Restaurant and all of this with just 3 actors! The audience were able to help coach and give feedback to the Stena character at various different stages, it was great to see them empathising with him as well as being critical of his attitude and delivery of the service promises. This gave them a safe way to try different approaches and see their advice being played out – powerful stuff!
These ½ day sessions were delivered in Belfast, Scotland and Liverpool over a three-week period, participants found the sessions “hilarious”, “thought provoking” and “challenging”. Stena staff and crew were a pleasure to work with, even though some of them attended straight off a 7/14 day stint on the ferries, or gave up their rest day. It’s clear why the company has weathered the storms (excuse the pun) of increased competition, economic downturns and increased fuel costs, it is because they put the customer and their own people at the heart of the business and it’s plain to see in the smiles on the faces when you take a Stena ferry, we are proud to be a partner to such a trusted brand.
Profile on MAKE Architects – Respect and values in the work place
I love what I do and every now and again a really special job comes along that is the icing on the cake and the project for Make Architects called “The Make Way is one of those jobs. Before I tell you more about the workshop you need to know how special and different Make are as a practice.
Make’s founder, Ken Shuttleworth, set up the practice in 2004 with a vision for a workplace that had a studio atmosphere with a flat hierarchy. Key to his vision was a sustainable business model that is 100 per cent employee-owned, where the profits are shared each year.
He wanted to create a fair and stimulating working environment where an individual’s work is acknowledged and appreciation is vocalised; a studio that recognises the value of its employees and attracts and keeps the most talented people.
Ken is the principal guardian of this unique culture and he interviews everyone that comes through the door and leads by example to maintain a united, open and communication-rich atmosphere. As guardian he keeps Make Make!
And of course they also design buildings that enhance the world around them and the lives of their users. They approach every project with fresh vitality and a spirit of relentless curiosity.
So it is no surprise that they wanted to invest into their peoples personal development and create a totally bespoke workshop that reminded everyone of the companies guiding principles as well as giving them a voice on what the Make was in terms of real behaviour.
They also wanted it to be dynamic, different and creative just like them. So we looked to Tarantino for inspiration and I don’t mean as in blood and thunder but using consequential theatre to show the end result of something going wrong. Participants were able to look at the touch points along the way, and change the behaviours towards a happier outcome. Added to this they took part in discussions, around respect, trust and empathy to build on an already positive working environment making it even better. The course ended with a challenging and extremely satisfying team game, which relies on every single member of the team communicating, collaborating and challenging each other. It goes without saying that so far 2 workshops in they smashed it!
Why do I love this project so much? Because its about people working with each other to create an open, transparent and respectful community where everyone has an equal voice and is valued no matter what their role, this has got to be one of the best ways to retain talent and grow business in a very competitive market place.
Partnered training for over 17 years and in 37 countries
Walking up the cobbled streets of Covent Garden I had butterflies in my stomach, it was an important meeting with an amazing company that I really wanted to work with. When I arrived at their office the oldie worldly interior with old beams and uneven floors surprised me it wasn’t the normal corporate business. That was 17 years ago and the meeting proved to be one of the most important ever for me and my business because the company was Pearson Education and after all these years I am proud to say we are still an important partner to them. We have worked in 37 different countries all over the world including beautiful Cape Town, Sidney by the ocean, Hong Kong, Ho chi min City and Bali. I have trained their people from many different cultures and it's been an amazing journey where I have learnt as much from them as the learners have from us.
It all started by working with them to create a brand new sales process for the sales team in their Higher Education business and it was refreshing to work with a group of sales managers and directors that wanted to break the mould with their sales training. It had to be totally bespoke and it had to be centered on their customer – the learners and also the educators themselves. They cared so much about the customers experience and despite all of their challenges still do and this was at the core of the sales program. They loved the idea of using business actors to allow their people to practice and learn in a safe environment and our creative approach matched their need to do something different. After running the first ever workshop we knew it was a winner! Sales people were challenged, they had fun and the left the training brimming with confidence and enthusiasm to put it into practice.
The program was so successful with the Higher Education team it was soon adopted by, the English language Teaching business, Schools, and assessments and the rest is history.
Of course of the years the program has evolved to incorporate their more complex digital solutions and the changes in the educational market and we have had to re pitch numerous times over the years but the relationship has endured because of our ability to understand their needs and adapt and this lead to us introducing a new program for the more strategic sales people and launched us into the US business as well.
Pearson have always been cutting edge with their solutions and the way they work which is why we work for them. Despite all their challenges in recent years they are emerging stronger, leaner and ahead of the game.
These are the types of companies that we have a perfect fit with and I know we have made a significant difference to their sales results. In fact only 2 weeks ago their recent survey suggested it takes just sales person on day to pay for the 2 day workshop that is a ROI worth shouting about.