Virgin Holidays & MGI Win National Training Award
Virgin Holidays and Mary Gober International have been awarded the prestigious National Training Award in the ‘Partnership and Collaboration’ category on 6th October 2009.
Virgin Holidays Train Staff to Deliver Exceptional Experiences
Virgin Holidays has seen an increased satisfaction among customers, key partners and other important trade and consumer-facing clients since a company-wide bespoke values 2-day course. Refreshing the company values, all 3 based on ensuring the customer is at the heart of every area of the business, has seen tangible results in customer satisfaction, internal and external relationships.
Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, says: “I have always believed passionately in the basic truth that staff in a customer-facing business who live and breathe a common purpose can drive sustained success whatever the commercial backdrop. As the travel industry enters its toughest trading conditions yet, we have been consistent in increasing investment in staff training and engagement. There was never consideration of scaling back or compromising in our focus on our principle success drive – our people. Consequently, we are in rude health against market benchmarks, and share a common purpose and belief in our values.”
Virgin Holidays offers holidays to the Caribbean, USA, Far and Middle East and the Indian Ocean. Its self-declared vision is to provide “the best holidays in the whole wide world.” Managers felt that while there were pockets of brilliant service, there was also an opportunity to build more consistency and focus, and cement ownership of the customer journey among all staff.
Through training, the company wanted to build further on a good CSQ rating among customers, and protect its healthy level of repeat customers. Mary Gober International designed the “Living Our Values” 2-day course to meet the company’s needs, developing the optimum mindset for giving enthusiastic and genuine customer service, while also improving communication skills that trainees could use to find positive solutions. Above all, the training aimed to remind delegates what exceptional service looks and feels like, and how to deliver that consistently. It made the link between the company’s vision and values and how staff work with each other and with customers.
Over the course of six weeks, trainers working in groups of three or more held interactive round table seminars for 50 to 100 people at a time. A total of 580 people took part. Success was measured through customer surveys, call monitoring, statistical information gathering and staff survey results. Following the training, customer satisfaction has reached record levels. Furthermore, 97% of staff say they understand the Company’s values.
Terri Bailey, General Manager of People and Performance at Virgin Holidays, explains: “The seminars have resulted in a real shift in behaviour, particularly in the psychology of how we approach customer service. Our staff now really understands the importance of responding positively to customers, every time, explaining what we can do for someone, whether an internal or external customer. This provided a boost to our ongoing investment as a company in innovative skills and culture training to always ensure the customer journey, in whatever format, is the priority.”
Travel company Virgin Holidays employs 701 people and has made the Skills Pledge.