Transforming visitor services to increase satisfaction
Marie Brøndgaard, 16.07.2018
Case study from the Workers Museum, Copenhagen
The Workers Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, was originally built in 1879 as an assembly building, but became a museum in 1984.
We have about 20 front-of-house (FoH) members of staff, eight of whom are full-time and permanent, including a manager. We are responsible for ticket sales and taking group bookings; working in the cafe and shop; security; exhibition and building maintenance; administration and invoicing; hosting internal and external events; and looking after school and private visits.
Our main priority is ensuring that visitors have a memorable experience. In the past couple of years, the museum’s visitor service department has undergone a transformation.
The aim has been to strengthen the professional pride and work satisfaction. The director of the museum and colleagues in other departments support this work, as they see the value of FoH.
We have changed job titles from “museum guards” to “museum hosts”, and staff are trained to be solution-orientated and team-spirited.
Full-time members of staff have their own area of expertise and responsibility, which gives them a sense of ownership and has increased the level of professional pride. But they are trained in most positions, to ensure we have cover when colleagues take annual leave or if someone is off sick.
Part-time staff are also given in-depth training and are trusted with the same tasks as permanent staff. This responsibility also allows all front-of-house staff to make decisions and deal with situations, such as a visitor complaint.
The visitor services manager works alongside the team and gets hands-on during events and other preparations. Staff are not told off if mistakes are made, with evaluation used as a learning tool.
Visitor service is often an undervalued line of work in museums, unlike more service-orientated organisations, so at the Workers Museum we promote the fact that good service often leads to revisits, good visitor feedback and satisfaction, and work satisfaction.
We also know that we must work to continually evaluate and improve knowledge sharing and communication across the team and the museum.
Marie Brøndgaard is an administrative museum host at the Workers Museum