National College for School Leadership rated top training venue in ‘mystery shopper’ poll

The National College for School Leadership (NCSL) topped a ‘mystery shopper’ survey of UK training venues.

The telephone based research, carried out recently by BRDC (Business Development Research Consultants), rated 15 UK venues against 40 criteria designed to test the quality of service offered to callers pretending to be bookers. These included time taken to answer calls, the manner and approach of the call handler, and the actions – if any – taken in following up the call.

Nottingham based NCSL came top, with Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire second, followed by Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire, Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire’s Ashridge Management College.

BRDC refused to say which venues were at the bottom of the list, but said management centres “performed poorly overall scoring an average of just 46.1 points. Regular participants in the mystery shopper programme from all businesses score an average of 77.8 points on the same measures.”

Businesses use the mystery shopper programme to identify competencies that they should improve and then address them.

The management centres covered included: Cranfield Management Development Centre, Henley Conferences, Missenden Abbey and the Royal College of Surgeons.

Although NCSL topped the rankings, Whittlebury Hall contact staff scored highest for their manner and approach to enquiries. Marc Webster, group sales manager at Whittlebury Hall said: “We pride ourselves on training our staff to deal with enquiries efficiently and proactively.”

NCSL scored 62.5 points while Whittlebury Hall got 56.5.




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