Assessors are recruited from industry and must demonstrate a clear understanding of the scheme and the industry it serves. From stately home managers and zoo directors right through to visitor service managers, the team consistently work together to ensure the advice they give is best practice, proven and, most importantly, current thinking.
Standards are high and assessment failure can be difficult, but the team is more than qualified to smooth the process. No attraction is rejected without complete support and guidance on how to improve quality in the most cost effective way for them. This is quality in context.
The VAQAS team are in agreement that taking an attraction on that journey of improving the quality of the customer experience is both rewarding and challenging. 'We have had many brilliant success stories – we just can’t shout about the difference we make. Our aim in providing support is also to ensure complete confidentially, that way no-one need fear the process.'
So just how does VAQAS make that difference? By following the entire customer journey which includes:
Telephone contact both in and out of hours; website; leaflet/promotional material. An appointment is made with one named contact, with strict guidelines that the visit should not be announced to the rest of the onsite team. Receipt of the VAQAS Core Criteria Guide and Self Assessment Toolkit to enable a site led appraisal prior to the assessor visit.
From the initial welcome through to every aspect including guided tours and walks. Key areas such as toilets, catering and retail, plus enticement to return via event promotion.
One to one de-brief on the day with the named contact. This enables swift action should any area be highlighted during the visit such as incorrect opening hours on website or out of date signage.
A detailed report follows no later than two weeks after the visit. The report will contain key observations and recommendations and highlight positives as well as any negatives. It is important that this report is made available to the onsite team. This engagement into the process is proven to aid motivation and improve staff interaction with visitors.