Assessing quality and effectiveness. The National Maritime Museum has a range of informal and formal quality assurance systems to support meeting the needs of customers and to evaluate the effectiveness of our customer services.
Assessing the quality and effectiveness of customer service
The National Maritime Museum has a range of informal and formal quality assurance systems to support meeting the needs of customers and to evaluate the effectiveness of our customer service:
- Customer feedback and monitoring
- Staffing levels, training and monitoring performance
- Operational systems
The following examples will help you gain an understanding of the systems in place.
Customer feedback and monitoring
It is important that the Museum understands and monitors customers' needs and experiences. The Museum does this in a number of ways:
- Customer research
- Customer response mechanism
- Visitor flow
Exit surveys are conducted by a market research company (Morris Hargreaves McIntyre). Visitors are asked a series of questions to assess satisfaction levels for their overall visit and key aspects of customer service, including toilets, cafe, cloakroom, signage, displays and staff.
This data is sent to the Government department that funds the Museum and is published in our annual Corporate Review.
In 2010, 100% of customers were 'at least' satisfied with the quality of their experience at the Museum.
Customer response mechanism
The Museum actively seeks customer feedback via:
- Customer comment cards, situated around the Museum site
- Feedback facility on our website
- Evaluation forms given out after specific programmes and events
- Responding to assessments by external bodies such as disability groups and tourist organizations
This feeds through to the Museum's Quality Assurance Group – a small team of Museum staff who ensure standards are met and action is taken to sort out problems across the whole Museum.
For more information on our feedback and complaints procedures, and how these are dealt with, go to the 'Handling complaints' section.
The Museum monitors visitor numbers and patterns through data recorded by our computerized admissions tills. By recording the type of customer when tickets are issued, the Visitor Services team can monitor busy parts of the day and year.
The Education Department can then make sure that events like family workshops and guided talks are organized for the best times and places, and there are enough staff to manage the extra visitors.
Staffing – staff levels, training and monitoring performance
Good customer service is impossible without investment in the right staff levels, staff training and an effective system of performance appraisal (assessment) of each member of staff. This is done in a number of ways:
- Monitoring staff performance
- Investors in People
- Rewarding good performance
- Staff policies and codes of conduct
The Museum's Human Resources team ensures that excellent customer service is balanced with other responsibilities in appropriate job adverts and job descriptions.
Monitoring staff performance
The Museum's performance appraisal system is designed to support staff by:
- Describing how customer service fits into the Museum’s objectives, responsibilities and values
- Showing how the work of each member of staff work contributes to the successful organizational performance of the Museum
- Identifying SMART targets for their work (SMART = Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timebound)
- Listing the criteria for assessing staff 'knowledge, skills, performance and contribution' in different areas of work. Customer service is only one area that is measured. Line managers have to assess how their staff are 'considerate of customer needs, seeks feedback [and are] aware of the importance of customer relationships'
- Identifying staff training and development needs
- Identifying risks that may affect whether members of staff achieve their targets
All staff are given a full two-day induction into the Museum. For front-of-house staff, a new 'buddy' system has recently been implemented. This ensures new members of staff are teamed up with an experienced colleague, who will offer support and guidance and ensure that basic job competencies are achieved.
An on-going training programme is offered to staff. For example, further training allows staff to gain 'added competencies' – e.g. deaf awareness, welcome host, admissions cashiers, giving gallery talks, and meeting and greeting.
Investors in People
The Museum has also been awarded the national Investors in People (IIP) standard for good practice in training and developing staff. A team from IIP first assessed the Museum during September to November 2001. Since then, the Museum has been re-accredited with the standard in 2003, 2006 and, most recently, in October 2009.
Rewarding good performance
Museum staff pay is related to the appraisal system described above. However, overall budget limits are set by the level of Government funding.
A merit-award scheme encourages all members of staff to acknowledge and reward colleagues who have given exceptional service to visitors or co-workers (internal customers). Rewards include vouchers, meals for two and weekend breaks.
Staff policies and codes of conduct
The Museum has a range of policies and codes of conduct for staff. They form part of their contract of employment and are given to them during their induction. These codes set the standard for staff behaviour and are important for maintaining high levels of customer service.
The Museum has many operational monitoring systems to detect any problems or defects. Once spotted, they are reported to the appropriate member of staff to take action.
These monitoring systems include:
- Daily inspections of galleries and facilities by front-of-house (Gallery Assistants) and cleaning staff
- Health and safety inspections
Download a gallery inspection sheet - this example is for the All Hands gallery. There are different checklists for different areas of the Museum.
The Museum's Health and Safety Officer advises on health and safety issues. He or she raises awareness of issues, promotes good practice and completes reports when an accident occurs, including details of any action taken.
Even though the Museum has a Health and Safety Officer, health and safety is the responsibility of all members of staff.
- An evaluation sheet for a leisure and tourism curriculum support event (Word, 35KB)
- Health and Safety guidelines for visitors taking part in our adult-learning programmes in the lecture theatre (Word, 45KB)
Below you can also download some past examples of job adverts for Museum posts related to customer service (all Word files):
- Gallery Assistant (45KB)
- Events Sales Co-Ordinator (35KB)
- Sales Associate (33KB) Security Officer (37KB)