Staff attitudes to customer service must change or 2012 London Olympics will be a failure

UK employers must start changing staff attitudes to customer service to ensure the 2012 London Olympics is a success, training experts have warned.

Sue Gill, head of skills and training at the Tourism South East body, said HR professionals need to “galvanise” staff now so they buy in to the customer care ethos.

“HR managers from all service industries including travel, tourism, retail, hospitality and transport need to ensure staff are committed to learning new customer service skills,” she told Personnel Today.

She suggested that employers outline quality standards, provide programmes on cultural diversity and offer training in another international language. Sharing best practice at employer forums and encouraging employees to take part in customer service qualifications could also help boost new skills, according to Gill.

The UK recently ranked a lowly 16th place in a worldwide league of best tourism practice by the Visit Britain website.

Gill said the UK was not renowned for having a good customer service ethic. “We’re all ambassadors for our country and we’re really going to be in the spotlight in the run-up to the Olympics.”

In May, the government appointed Sandra Scott as ‘skills champion’ to focus on the training requirements for the Games.

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