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People 1st unveils new customer service qualifications

As the biggest UK ‘staycation’ hots up, People 1st has unveiled two new customer service qualifications to galvanise frontline hospitality and travel staff into delivering the ultimate customer experience.

The qualifications were developed following extensive research led by the sector skills council for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, among international industry experts and 2000 UK businesses.

This revealed that employers recognise that a shortage of skilled and knowledgeable staff with the right attitude was impacting on their ability to deliver excellent customer service.

It also highlighted that employers ranked the ability to anticipate customer needs, exceed service expectations and resolve conflicts and complaints, as critical skills needed by their teams. The level 2 qualification for frontline staff focuses on excellent customer service procedures and behaviours, while the level 3 qualification for managerial and supervisory staff includes modules on coaching and facilitating skills, return on coaching investment and the challenges of managing teams.

The qualifications are currently being accredited onto the qualifications framework in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by a number of major awarding organisations.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st said that the UK needs to raise the bar further in delivering a world-class customer service if it is to successfully compete with other tourist destinations.

“We have ambitious targets to meet before the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games which will provide the UK with a fantastic opportunity to shine on the world stage. The customer service skills of front line and supervisory staff are critical to the hospitality and travel industry’s success as their behaviour and actions impact on whether visitors have had an excellent or bad experience and are likely to return.’

The National Skills Academy for Hospitality is developing a customer-service programme to deliver the new qualifications.

“When delivered at its best, the customer service experience in the UK is as good as or better than anywhere in the world,’ said David McHattie, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Hospitality.

“We found numerous examples of best practice in our ‘Mystery Shoppers’ and ‘Smiles of Britain’ campaigns which both seek to recognise excellent customer service and encourage others to do the same.

He added: “We look forward to introducing our customer service programmes to support the drive for excellent customer service as we all work to banish old perceptions of customer service in UK hospitality.”


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