The two galleries were working together to explore how they could best support their front of house teams to improve their visitor experience. Camden Arts Centre and South London Gallery were both keen to ensure that their FoH teams could give a strong and consistent standard of care to their customers, that their customer service policies were up to date and active, and that FoH could understand and support the overall aims and ambitions of different departments.
We delivered a workshop to each site, making small changes to ensure each workshop fitted slightly different outcomes. The participants worked in groups to consider the experience of their visitors; how they host them and represent or embody the centre/gallery. They explored who their visitors are and how they can perceive and go on to experience the centre and gallery differently and therefore need to be approached differently to meet different needs or expectations. Working in small groups they worked out how, through interaction and conversations, they could each change the route a visitor takes and in doing so extend and enlarge their experience.
Drawing on the experience and knowledge of the group they created a resource of content and interaction; what they could say and how they could say it, what they can do and how they can do it. This included information a visitor might need to know, and also what could be said to encourage a visitor to do or see more, to buy something, join the mailing list or to donate.
Pulling together the day’s work the groups started to capture what they believed to be important about how they can take responsibility for the experience visitors have. These points and practical actions and behaviours started to encapsulate what would become a Visitor Service Guide.
The FoH teams continued to develop their Visitor Service Guide based on what they had done in the day. The Guide would allow the staff to have an agreed level of quality that they could all take responsibility for realising, in a practical way. The workshop allowed the staff to see how they all needed to be more aware of how they could all welcome visitors at any location in the gallery or centre. The workshop resulted in the participants seeing less of a division or difference between how someone in the bookshop or how a gallery assistant speaks to a visitor.