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The Client: Bettys has an enviable reputation for warm Yorkshire hospitality, traditional service and high quality teas, coffees and cakes delivered from their five outlets across North Yorkshire.

The Challenge: Bettys is part of Taylors of Harrogate, a food group with a forward thinking executive team who recognise that to stay ahead and continue to grow their business they will need to focus all of their teams on providing outstanding and spectacular customer service in all of their branches.

The Work We Did: To help understand what it takes to provide outstanding and spectacular service levels, Bettys executive team asked sensei to design and deliver a highly innovative customer service workshop. This workshop was designed and deployed across all the retail teams throughout the company.

The workshop catered for participants of all ages and experience, from the senior managers at each branch through the departmental and team leader hierarchy to the part time students who worked at weekends only. We designed the workshop to be highly engaging and participative with lots of dialogue, problem solving and external service benchmarking through shopping experiences.


Sarah Graham-Harrison, Front of House Manager, Bettys Harrogate

Q: Were your expectations met?

SGH:  I felt that what we did today was really worthwhile and valuable. So, yes, I thought it was a good workshop and definitely good value for time. It’s about taking what you have done during the day and using it and not just boxing it off and forgetting what you have done.

Stuart Morris, Catering Manager, Bettys Harlow Carr

Q: What did you want to get out of today, what were your expectations as you entered the workshop?

SM: What I wanted to achieve was to improve my level of customer service and discover what I could do as a back of house department to improve the service we provide to the customer and to each of the individual departments we serve. I expected a well motivated and energised day with some activities and some tasks designed to get us out of the chair and just do some things we don’t normally do.

Q: Were your expectations met?

SM: They were met. As expected it was revitalising. It made me think about things I wouldn’t normally do. It is nice to get out of the branch environment, it makes you appreciate the things we do a bit more.

Q: What was your personal highlight from today?

SM: One of the highlights of today was the things that other companies do with their mission statement, our service vision has been changed and it was great to see what we intend to provide.

Q: What will you do differently tomorrow?

SM: Tomorrow I will be planning my day better. I will give more time to my junior managers so they can convey back to me from the floor the peace of mind that everything is running smoothly and correct.

Carol Hanson, Front of House Manager, Bettys York

Q: What did you want to get out of this workshop and what were your expectations?

CH: Today I came with an open mind. We’ve got to open our minds up to different ideas and different concepts. It’s good to get a bit more re-energised, a couple of different ideas and a bit of a re-focus on what we’re are doing well and what we can improve.

Q: Were your expectations met?

CH: I’ve come away with some really valid pointers on what we can do differently. I always find that the simplest ideas are the most effective so just some tiny little points could have a big impact on my management team, because what I really want to do is to empower them to do their job to take the pressure off me so I can take us to the next step. So that’s really where I see myself and what I wanted to achieve from this workshop.

Q: What was your personal highlight from today?

CH: I think one of the points that I found most useful was actually going out and experiencing customer service and realising the different customer perceptions that exist and you realising you can’t ever afford to get service wrong.

Q: Was it a good day for you and was it good value for time?

CH: It was. It’s always very difficult leaving the branch, especially on a Monday! There is always a list of jobs to do and you always think ‘Oh God, we have a big target to hit today and I really should be in the branch making sure all that happens.’ However when I took time out to really get myself a little bit more organised, committing ideas to paper, looking at my team from afar and just spending a little bit more time thinking I realise I can do these days quite easily with not actually having to worry so much about the branch. I think that these days make our managers’ lives a little bit more interesting. It’s what I have the power to do. I just need to do it.

I need to do the planning and not the work as such. I need to be less ‘hands on’ because my managers are more than capable. I realise that I just need to step back from day to day activity a little more…