The Museum of London Group…
“The Museum of London carried out a fundamental review of its visitor experience function covering all aspects of customer interaction across the organisation. This review resulted in a major restructuring of this aspect of the business and an introduction of a wholly new approach to dealing with our customers. BJA Associates were the consultants who worked with us to achieve these changes.”
“BJA took a very pragmatic approach to assisting us with this based on the sound principles of ensuring we could provide the best possible quality of service to our customers, together with maximising revenue from all aspects of the front-of-house.”
“I was particularly impressed by the speed with which they came to terms with the task, their in-depth knowledge of the needs and pressures of running a visitor services function, and their focus on solutions and results rather than simply identifying the problems.”
“Too many consultants these days focus on trying to baffle their customers with the latest “management speak” combined with glib phrases and a hard-sell approach which lacks real substance and when considered in the round adds little to a review process other than the name of the consultancy. BJA were different when we used them. They took time to assess our needs, were knowledgeable and practical, examined the problems from the point of view of our customers, and applied a proper commercial approach to the examination of our potential for increasing revenue whilst acknowledging and taking into account the cultural issues within an organisation such as this. They gave the impression of being truly interested in this project succeeding and appeared to see its success as being of personal importance to them. This personal approach and their close engagement with the change process was of vital importance to keeping the project on track.”
“In my experience it is extremely hard for an internal review team to apply objectivity to reviewing a complex function such as this, and to gain a true understanding of where you are and where you need to be it is always sensible to get an external health check done by experts in that area of work. Only then will you have a chance to come up with truly creative solutions for either fine-tuning the function or for radical change where necessary.”
“BJA have been particularly useful for:
- Benchmarking the quality of service being provided
- Identifying areas that require change and recommending actions on workforce structure, standard operating procedures quality standards, revenue generation, physical layout, training and development and ongoing improvement
- Providing interim cover to facilitate the changes
- Giving personal advice and coaching to review team members
- Drawing up the quality standards framework
- Advising on the change process and keeping the function operational while change was being implemented
I would have no hesitation in recommending BJA to anyone who is considering a review of their front-of-house function”
Director of Human Resources Museum of London Group
Brighton Museums and the Royal Pavilion…
“BJA have been working with the Royal Pavilion and Museums for fifteen months. The firm initially undertook a very detailed mystery shopper exercise as part of a review that was being undertaken into our retail service. The findings of the mystery shopper exercise were in part the catalyst for undertaking a major front of house review. Currently they are working with us on drawing up customer service standards and also supporting the front of house management team in improving staff management and communication. The scope of the Front of House Review included:
- An examination of how customer service was reflected in the roles of all staff
- An analysis of posts and duties carried out by different sections of staff delivering customer services and the inter-relationship between the teams
- Looking at standards of front of house customer care delivery and how they are maintained at all times when the sites are open to the public
- Booking and telephone services for a range of different services including: education, corporate hire and group sales / guided tours. This is resulting in a contact centre which will open seven days a week rather than our current service which is not in keeping with running a nationally significant historic site
- Consideration of the different needs of the sites (there are five in all and quite different in their visitor offer and location)
- Setting customer care standards which we hope will be used to inform recruitment, induction programmes and performance management
“BJA are a delight to work with, they carry out all their tasks in a highly professional manner. The experience that they bring from the museums and leisure sector has had an important bearing on how they conduct the review and the respect that The Royal Pavilion and Museums Management team had for their findings and recommendations. Reports produced have been of a high calibre and are well written and presented. Deadlines are always met and excellent communication with the commissioners of the work has been maintained throughout the review. As part of the work they undertook they conducted interviews with staff undertook site visits and also workshops. In all of this thorough preparation was very evident. We would be happy to recommend BJA for carrying out any similar work with museums, leisure and visitor attractions.”
Head of Brighton Museums and Director of The Royal Pavilion
Scarborough Borough Council…
Scarbrough Borough Council decided to review its operation of leisure facilities with the view to looking at a Trust and in order to assist with capacity BJA were appointed to provide the necessary background information…
Bryn Jones the lead consultant quickly outlined the view of the market and organised necessary contacts and visits to speak to people who had gone through the Trust process. A very pragmatic report was produced outlining the advantages and disadvantages of a Trust compared to retaining services in house or engaging with the private sector.
This work helped inform a Cabinet report to discuss the issues and to provide Members with the necessary information in order to decide on future delivery options.
Following the successful outcome of the Leisure Trust work, BJA were appointed to carry out a piece of work at the Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion. The brief was to increase income and improve the ‘bottom line’.
“BJA clearly had extensive experience on operational management of facilities and reviewed staff structures, service performance and policy to produce a very pragmatic report on how to move forward. This report was then turned into an Action Plan which has now largely been implemented and created considerable reduction in the subsidy of the Spa. BJA also helped implement the Action Plan by setting up working groups on customer service standards which revitalised staff’s attitude to service and their commitment to the Spa.”
“BJA clearly have extensive experience in management and service standards throughout the cultural sector and I would therefore have no hesitation in recommending them to other colleagues or using them on future work for Scarborough Borough Council.”
Former Head of Tourism and Leisure Scarborough Borough Council
Bolton Castle is one of the country’s best preserved medieval castles, situated in the heart of Wensleydale with stunning views over the Yorkshire Dales National Park. However for several years the Castle had suffered falling visitor numbers, income and lack of investment.
BJA conducted a business transformation exercise and developed a business plan which re-focused the Castle on how to become more appealing to a broader audience and what should be the key focus of the attraction both in terms of the visitor experience and in terms of income generation, including identifying new revenue streams and how to make the most from the existing opportunities.
The business plan included identifying the management structure that needed to be put in place. The Castle followed the strategy and with 18 months had increased visitor number by 40%, increased revenue significantly and was able re-invest in making significant further improvements to the Castle and the visitor experience. The Castle has gone onto feature heavily in a prime ITV television series.
“It has been a great pleasure to work with and get to know you and your input has been invaluable. The wealth of experience you have along with your passion for tourism and heritage and meticulous attention to detail is remarkable and has given us a very clear direction for the future.”
Hon Tom Orde-Powlett
Owner, Bolton Castle
Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery…
Pitzhanger Manor & Art Gallery Trust had been formed to take over responsibility from Ealing Council for the £10m HLF funded re-development of the Manor & Art Gallery. This included the three-year transition period before re-opening.
BJA reviewed the original business plan which had successfully attracted the HLF grant, by:
- Conducting a comparator and benchmarking exercise and understanding the local market and competition
- Reviewing the original documentation, financial and supporting information
- Involving all the key stakeholders
Following the presentation of BJA’s findings to the Board of Trustees, BJA were appointed to prepare a new business plan. BJA provided a new business plan with very clear visitor numbers over the life of the project, and very transparent profit and loss accounts, the main assumptions behind them, what needed to be done to achieve them, cash flow, sensitivity analysis and reassessment of the main risks. The plan was realistic, robust, practical, identified the real commercial potential, how this could best be achieved and provided a sustainable management and operating model for the three-year transition period and five years post opening.
“Bryn Jones and his team helped the Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust develop a robust and credible business plan, sorting the important from the unimportant, and providing us with exactly what we needed to persuade key stake-holders to support the project. They delivered high quality work to time, in a collaborative and constructive fashion. We were very grateful.”
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles
Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery Trust, Ealing, West London
Oxford University Collections…
“Following our visitor services review with the Cambridge University for The Fitzwilliam, we were pleased to get the opportunity to work with another world class brand, collections and artefacts to help identify the commercial potential of their museums, gardens and arboretums”
Oxford University Collections (OUC) have some of the most pre-eminent collections and museums in the world including the Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers and Natural History Museum, The History of Science Museum, the University Botanic Gardens and the Harcourt Arboretum. Between them they attract 2m visitors per annum.
BJA conducted a commercial review of the OUC, which also included liaison and co-ordination with the Bodleian Libraries. We benchmarked across the sector looking at commercial performance across a range of indicators. From this information, the operations, management and budget review we were able to identify a significant amount of potential incremental income that could be achieved. Some of which was site specific and some were very easy and quick wins which could make a significant difference.
Other opportunities were based on finding ways to make it possible for the museums and attractions to work collectively more effectively and collaboratively to realise the the potential by being able to pool expertise and share best practice more effectively. BJA also provided a detailed market research report looking at the local market, customer profile, research and current marketing plans and from this developed a new overall marketing strategy for the group.
Cogges Manor Farm…
The new Heritage Trust had been set up to run and manage the heritage farm attraction which had been closed 2 years previously by Oxfordshire County Council. Coming close to the opening the Heritage Trust needed some hands on management expertise to help set up and manage the attraction.
The Trust was so pleased with the support provided by BJA that BJA were retained to provide the interim director, who was in place throughout the first very successful visitor season with their focus on creating a great visitor experience for all the family…
“BJA played a key role in re-opening Cogges Manor Farm to the public in 2011… BJA helped us to prepare the site, establish volunteer and site management procedures, organise events and manage the customer experience throughout the summer season. Their experience and dedication to creating a positive visitor experience were invaluable and set the Trust up for a successful first season.”
Chair, Cogges Heritage Trust
Chetham’s School of Music and Library…
Chetham’s encompasses the oldest public Library in the English speaking world and the world-renowned Chetham’s School of Music. The Chetham’s Foundation is engaged in a multi phased programme of capital developments which will lead to the opening of a major new visitor attraction in 2014.
BJA developed a business plan for the potential medieval attraction, identifying the focus of the attraction, the management options, a robust business strategy to create a great visitor experience, practical recommendations and showing clearly whether it was commercially sustainable. The business plan also formed part of the justification for a multi (£) million grant from the Regional Development Agency.
“Bryn was a pleasure to work with, and his practical advice, based on many years of experience of creating first-rate visitor experiences was invaluable. Bryn has a knack for cutting through to the heart of an issue, and his direct approach was refreshing and helped us to make great progress, I would certainly recommend BJA to others looking for honest expert advice about how to maximise the potential of a visitor attraction.”
Director of Marketing and Development
Chetham’s School of Music and Chetham’ Library
The National Football Museum…
The National Football Museum, in the country which is the home of football, was moving into a city centre modern iconic building which was formerly the home of the visitor attraction URBIS, in one of the world’s great footballing city’s Manchester.
It was essential that the visitor experience delivered was going to live up to and exceed expectations. As a result BJA were retained to provide an external perspective, looking at the front of house roles, staffing and management as well as providing advice on the commercial aspects of the museum and providing input into the planning of the visitor management relating to ticketing and the commercial interactives.
BJA were then also retained to provide management and staff straining programmes for the front of house service delivery.