Historic Visitor Destination Ensures Its Customer Service Isn’t A Thing Of The Past

6 July 2015

Visitors to an ancient manor house and country estate near Preston are to benefit from excellence in customer service after staff recently undertook world class training.

Staff from Hoghton Tower participated in the respected Welcome to Excellence training programme to bring them up to date with the latest customer service techniques and best practice.

Management, administration, housekeeping and catering staff, guides and volunteers at the historical visitor destination took advantage of free ‘Welcome Host Gold’ customer service course which was funded by the Lancashire Skills Support for the Workforce (LSS) programme. 

Leyland-based specialists in workforce training, The Via Partnership (Via), hold the North West licence to deliver Welcome to Excellence, one of the most successful customer service training initiatives in the UK.  Last year Via also became an approved delivery partner for the LSS programme offering qualifying businesses the opportunity to upskill their workforce with free training alongside an accredited qualification.

James Dean, Hoghton Tower General Manager, said: “It was a great course and the team all really enjoyed it – it got them all thinking outside the box and motivated about customer service so I’m very happy with it.”

Helen Aldous, Via’s Training Manager said: "The Welcome Host Gold course provides delegates with an insight into customer expectations and assists them to deliver the highest levels of customer service on a consistent basis. Staff benefit from attending an enjoyable, interactive day which leads to a nationally recognised Welcome to Excellence certificate. The training also ensures that the business gains the competitive edge through building repeat business and customer loyalty."

The customer service training involved staff attending a Welcome Host Gold one-day course which gave them the knowledge to then complete the City & Guilds Level 2 Award in Customer Service Delivery in the Workplace. Participants were asked to complete a variety of tasks including written questions and workplace observations.

Businesses who train 50% of their staff on any Welcome to Excellence programme are given a Charter certificate and use of the national Welcome to Excellence logo on any marketing materials, thereby highlighting their commitment to excellence in customer service.


The Via Partnership Chief Executive, Karen O’Donoghue (far left), presents Hoghton Tower staff and volunteers with their Welcome To Excellence certificates.

The Via Partnership is a social business whose core purpose is to improve skills and increase employability.  Via works to build bridges between education and business communities and provide high quality careers support and training to adults and young people to help them move forward in work and life.
Via Training, Via’s workforce development arm, regards itself as a specialist apprenticeship training provider.  It also provides individuals and employers across the North West with a variety of courses, qualifications, training programmes, and traineeships to help move forward in work.  It is the North West licence holder for the delivery of Welcome To Excellence customer service training, one of the most successful customer service training initiatives in the UK.
Via is a company under the control of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council.

Lancashire Skills Support for the Workforce (LSS) is a £5.6m programme delivered by some of the county's leading training providers and managed by Lancashire County Council. LSS gives businesses in the Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen local authority areas the opportunity to access free accredited workplace training.
The £5.6m funding has been awarded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and was commissioned on behalf of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). LSS will support 3,817 employees aged 19 and over who are working in small or medium sized businesses with a workforce of up to 250 employees. It will run until July 2015 – with places allocated to businesses on a first-come first-served basis.
The Via Partnership is an approved delivery partner for LSS.

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