Recently, Louise and I visited our colleagues at Tameside College to discuss some ideas for engaging students on their Travel & Tourism course at The Manchester Museum. We focused on the Customer Service module, and came up with some great ideas to complement the course, designing different activities to tease out the necessary skill set required for each level of study.
One of these will be a ‘staff treasure hunt’ where students will be encouraged to determine a response for a set scenario within the Museum – such as what to do if a child is reported lost – by tracking down the appropriate member of staff in order to clarify the situation. Each participating staff member will be ‘hidden’ at a specific location within the museum, and student teams will have to ensure that they know who would be responsible for certain areas in order to discover how best to respond to their allocated scenarios!
Not only will this encourage students to understand the organisational structure of the Museum, but it will also challenge their understanding of communication within an institution – as for some of the provided scenarios more than one individual staff member could be considered a key contributor to solving the problem. By the end of the workshop they should all have a clear understanding of how the Museum responds to certain situations and how good customer service can contribute to ensuring these scenarios do not turn into potential disasters!
My favourite activity, however, is probably the one we have devised for the Level 3 students: who will have to internally ‘assess’ our Customer Service provision and then determine how it could be improved. This is a brave move for the Museum, as it puts us out there to be criticised – but, it will allow the students to develop the necessary skills to objectively analyse the venue, and then puts the onus on them to suggest potential, and practical, solutions. They will then have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to members of museum staff, much like the ‘Dragon’s Den’ type programme.
Hopefully, this will increase the student’s ability to recognise gaps in customer service provisions (which occur in every organisation), but it will also encourage them to look for solutions and have confidence that their ideas could make a difference. The team who is seen to have the most impressive, and practical, idea will not only get the ‘Dragon’s – sorry, I mean staff members – vote, but there is a possibility that it could even spark off the process which would see their idea put into practice within the Museum itself – now how’s that for students making a difference?