‘Olympic gold’ for market town customer service

Press Release: 12/03/2014

Workshop attendees

Winchester’s market towns are already known for their friendliness, but five businesses from Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham have decided to take their customer service to the next level by completing a World Host™ training day.

The course, which would normally have cost £95, was offered to participants at just £25 thanks to a subsidy from the Government’s Employer Ownership Fund.

Delivered by Marcus Pescod of the National Skills Academy for Retail, the World Host course comprised many elements of the training given to the Games Makers of London 2012. Participants developed their skills in several key areas such as how to empathise with the customer, the importance of remembering and using customers’ names, and how to go the extra mile. Marcus commented on the positive attitude of the participants.

He said:

Those that attended the workshop had such a hands-on, positive approach - from a trainer’s perspective they were open and receptive to embrace the commercial necessity for not only 'great' customer service but consistency in that service.

Business-owners and staff attended the course, held at the Wickham Centre this week (Monday 10 March), for a variety of reasons such as building confidence and learning how to deal with tricky situations. All participants wanted to learn how to better serve their customers and encourage repeat business. Loreena Maguire from Studio 6 in Wickham said:

I've recently started working for my family business and I want to be sure that I'm keeping up the excellent reputation that has been formed over many years. The course has given me a better understanding of how excellent customer service affects the business. I'm more confident and think that our customers will benefit from a consistently high standard of customer service.

Regarding customer service in the market towns, Loreena commented:

On the whole I think people are very friendly and helpful. It's as much a pleasure to serve customers in this area as it is to be one.

The course was organised by Winchester City Council’s Market Towns Development Officer Heidi Isa, and is part of a programme of projects, courses and events designed to enhance the market towns’ offering, and increase footfall. The course was also supported by Hampshire County Council through a grant made available to help realise the market town development programme.

Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, expressed her delight at these businesses having taken up the opportunity to improve their skills.

She said:

The National Skills Academy for Retail is delighted that so many small businesses in Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham have been able to take advantage of the Government’s Employer Ownership Fund to access the Principles of Customer Service course. The Fund is available throughout England to enable small- and medium-sized retailers to access a range of training courses and business mentoring services. From customer service and selling skills to e-commerce and social media, there is wide-ranging support for SMEs to help grow their businesses. As the Fund is only available until 31 July 2014 we are urging retailers across England to get in touch now to take advantage of the support that is available to them. Retailers interested in finding out more should go to www.nsaforretail.com