Historic Royal Palaces

Increasing team capabilities and resilience to meet rising customer service expectations

Increasing team capabilities and resilience to meet rising customer service expectations

The brief

The Magic Garden, a family attraction, opened at Hampton Court Palace in March 2016. It proved very popular with nearly 300,000 people visiting it in its first season.

“We were delighted with the success of the Magic Garden.” explains Julie Dent, admissions and contact centre manager for Historic Royal Palaces. “But increased visitor numbers brought new processes and pressures for our team. We had to impose time limits for visitors and suspend entry when we reached capacity – things we had never had to do before at Hampton Court Palace.

When we reviewed how the season had gone, it was clear that our team had varying levels of experience, tolerance and resilience when dealing with challenging conversations with visitors. We wanted to provide them with a programme of development so they could deliver effective customer service and create the best experience for visitors.”

Why Connor?

“Connor took the trouble to meet with our team as we wanted to deliver training jointly with our chosen partner. They got to know us, understood our concerns and then developed a personal programme of development that absolutely focused on addressing these.” continues Julie.

The approach

“Connor developed a half day workshop for all of our Magic Garden team, including me.” explains Julie.

Two Connor consultants worked with 14 people including team leaders and admissions staff to help them overcome their concerns over a second season at the Magic Garden. Following this, the Connor team worked with the team leaders at Hampton Court Palace to deliver the same programme as part of an induction for 16 seasonal members of staff, who were recruited to deal with increased visitor numbers during peak times.

“Right from the start, the engagement was valuable. Connor enabled us all to reflect on our experiences from 2016. It was an emotional, cathartic session. The team committed to the development and improving our individual and collective capabilities.”

What we did for Historic Royal Palaces

  • Met with team leaders to understand what customer service scenarios were challenging and develop a personal development programme aimed at solving them
  • Delivered two half day workshops to 30 people from team leaders to seasonal admissions staff
  • In the workshops delegates agreed what a great season would look like so they had a shared vision of success
  • Delegates tackled eight common scenarios faced by the team
  • The workshop introduced delegates to the theory of ‘maps of the world’. This helped them understand that every visitor is different because their position is influenced by their unique experiences and beliefs and gave them the ability to practice meeting various customer needs across the different scenarios in order to influence them
  • Connor consultants helped delegates to use this understanding to build trust and rapport with customers. In practice, this is about leading them to the best outcome to deliver effective, consistent customer service for visitors.

Business outcomes

“This is the best money I’ve spent. The whole team now act in a controlled, confident manner with visitors.” explains Julie.

“Other people in the business have commented about how well the team deals with situations. Positive, visible behavioural change has been delivered by Connor. We’ve also made a presentation to our executive board who wanted to learn more about the programme and I have recommended that we include it for all Historic Royal Palaces staff inductions.”

What the client said

“This is the best money I’ve spent. The whole team now act in a controlled, confident manner with visitors to the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace.”
Julie Dent, admissions and contact centre manager, Historic Royal Palaces


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