The customer is king - that was the key message for 100 operators, businesses and stakeholders in the tourism industry who took an NITB Masterclass in WorldHost customer service training recently.
The ‘At Your Service – WorldHost One Year On’ masterclass held at the Roe Park Resort in Limavady, which explored best practice through the eyes of local and global customer service champions, was designed to celebrate and maintain Northern Ireland’s growing commitment to world-class customer service standards.
Organised in partnership with the Department of Learning (DEL) and People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism, the NITB event featured a range of speakers including popular TV mentalist David Meade and the Olympic and Paralympic Games branding and marketing director, Greg Nugent.
Special pre-recorded video messages from Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and DEL Minister Stephen Farry emphasised the significance of the WorldHost programme to the Northern Ireland economy and welcomed the new momentum that has been created in customer care.
Since the introduction of the WorldHost a year ago over 5,000 local people have been trained in the WorldHost customer service programmes all over Northern Ireland and more than 100 businesses have received a WorldHost Recognition Award, which is awarded after 50% of an organisation’s front-line staff are trained.
In addition, as UK City of Culture, Londonderry is bidding to become Northern Ireland’s first WorldHost Recognised Destination, which will ensure that at least 25 per cent of local businesses will have 50 per cent of their staff trained in customer service.
Commenting on the event David Meade said: “Customer service is that intangible force that affects the way we view any form of product or service. Fundamentally it is about people and people matter in tourism.
“The success of the World Host programme has raised the bar across the tourism and hospitality sector in Northern Ireland. Now is the time to share our future and build a lasting legacy with incalculable benefits.”
Also speaking at the event, NITB Board Member Sally Montgomery said: “Local businesses must be congratulated for their efforts because one year on from the introduction of WorldHost the uptake has clearly been a tremendous success.
“However, if we are to impress, build repeat visits and ultimately improve the economy through tourism we must not let up in our customer care focus, especially this year when the eyes of the world will be on Northern Ireland once again. From the moment our visitors arrive and through every experience they have while they are here, it is vital that everyone in the industry maintains the momentum in customer care standards.”