Monday April 18, 2011
With there now less than 500 days until London 2012, it is unsurprising the media coverage is ramping up and excitement in London building. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to visit in the capital during this once in a lifetime event and so all eyes are on our ability as a nation to deliver high levels of customer service.
It is this that which made me think about how our front-line tourist services are preparing for the London Olympics and whether they are putting any plans in place so customer ‘touchpoints’ will be memorable and continue to deliver a return well after the Olympic flame has gone out.
People will be travelling from all over the world to watch the games; paying hundreds and thousands of pounds. Expectations of the experiences they will receive will no doubt be high. There certainly will not be any time for excuses when the going gets tough – below par service simply cannot happen.
And it’s obvious that organisations really do recognise this. All around London, I’ve started to notice the big Olympic recruitment drive. Posters, tube adverts and newspaper articles, all promoting the roles which are available as a direct result of the Olympics. Organisations are strengthening their workforces to prepare for the influx of visitors and the high levels of pressure which will be experienced. Having the right people in the right roles will be the only way you can deliver the gold standard experience.
With new recruits entering the workforce, and existing people preparing for the future, making sure they are performing at the top of their game and hold the necessary skills for the role will be essential. Learning and development will play a key role in ensuring this happens and now couldn’t be a better time to start thinking about your plans for the next 12 – 16 months. By creating highly skilled and effective teams across your organisation you can easily deliver the five star levels of service and be confident that they can be the face of not just your organisation, but also the UK.
Saying that, this is not an easy task. They will represent the brand, the quality and the image of the company and UK. They also have the power to create a lasting impression, make people want to come back for more, and most importantly, talk about you and your service to their friends and family. It will be down to their individual performance which will earn your company gold, silver, bronze or no medal from your customers.
Lots to think about before and during the games, but what about afterwards? You’ve hired the right talent, invested in the development programmes and created that ‘wow’ factor for each customer whilst they visited your establishment. You then need to make sure these service levels remain at the top of your game, putting yourself on the map time and time again, and seeing repeat business as a result. You wouldn’t want the Princess of Arabia eating in your restaurant in the Olympic period and receiving fantastic service, only for the King of Arabia to visit a few months later and receive a completely different experience!
Have you thought about the impact of the Olympics on your business? Have you put any special people development plans in place?