NEC Group: Experiential Customer Service Training

“Once again I have to say that I have been so impressed by the RightTrack approach and of course the content of the material, which seems to be just what we were after!!…. Your team have been a real credit to you. In particular Phil Clarkson, who saw this all the way through to the end. He played a major part in really getting the champions engaged and raising their self-belief and confidence. They all raved about him….

You also mentioned that a great deal of your work comes from referral and I can assure you that I will be doing just that.”

Lynn Fox, Visitor Experience Manager (former), NEC Group


The Story

Customer satisfaction research highlighted that although customers were content, they rarely gave top marks. As an organisation striving for world-class performance, the NEC Group sought to give customers a truly exceptional experience that would keep them coming back time and time again.

With 4.5 million visitors annually, it was important to design an inspiring learning event that captured the imagination of their customer-facing employees resulting in a charismatic but real approach to visitor experience. We already knew NEC Group well following the design and delivery of a large leadership development project so we immediately set up a workshop with the client project team to get a better idea of what was needed:

  • A new experience for those attendees who might be training weary
  • Something suitable for a broad age range and different levels of experience
  • An event that created enthusiasm and high-energy
  • Something that brought out the personalities of individuals and didn’t make them clones

Once we hit on ‘Venice, on the eve of Carnival’ the idea started to take shape and within 20 minutes we had mapped out a draft scenario.

The draft was presented to 30 Customer Service Champions. Elements of their feedback was built into the initial proposal and hey presto, we had a plan!

Embedding The Learning

The facilitators debriefed delegates and helped them to draw their own conclusions from the event, so although there wasn’t any formal input as such from the Training Team (and almost no paperwork), each learning point was anchored to structured visitor experience training.We put a big focus on encouraging individuals to identify and hone their own personal approach to enhancing visitor experience. The last thing we wanted was 2000 clones! Through a carefully crafted questionnaire, delegates were able to identify and understand how to play to their own individual strengths.The next step was to train 70 internal ‘Champions’ who would stand at the helm of this new initiative and roll the programme out to 2000+ staff across the organisation.

The Event

The solution was named Service Unmasked; a unique and unparalleled experiential development event designed to mirror specific, real-life client concerns.

Based on a mock-up of St Mark’s Square, Venice and complete with music, café, street performers and even a gondola, this incredible and imaginative event swallowed delegates into the lives of tourists who had travelled to Venice for a holiday. As the plot thickened around them, delegates ‘lived’ within the scenario and felt the visitor experience for themselves. This was experiential learning at its best!

The Impact

NEC Group secured new business in excess of £2 million and won several awards with industry prestige, including;

  • ‘Best UK Conference Centre’
  • ‘Best UK Conference and Banqueting Staff’
  • ‘Best Place to Work’ by ‘Caterer and Hotel Keeper’

“We’d created a culture of self-belief and enthusiasm. Many still say that this was the most memorable training experience they’d ever been a part of.” Kasmin Cooney OBE, Managing Director, RightTrack