Strode News

24/03/11 - New and Old Apprentices put Customers First
Strode News

Putting the customer first is something we hear a lot about these days and customer services apprenticeships are increasingly popular as employers realise the benefits of this approach to their business.

In the recent `Secret Shopper` programmes on Channel 4, retail marketing guru Mary Portas highlighted the need to improve customer services among many of our high street shops, including those selling telephones.

Steve Leahy, Owner and Director of Somerset based telephone communications company, Bridgwater Communications, agrees with her. When his new customer services apprentice joins the team this Spring they will be trained to build good relationships with customers by listening, asking questions and making sure the client is happy.

Steve Leahy said: "I set up the business 23 years ago when there was a real need for a local telecommunications service and supplier. I'm sure that our success is partly down to how we communicate with our customers, as well as our expert knowledge and quality of service. We're not focused simply on selling, but rather giving the customer something that will meet their needs. I've chosen Strode College to help train our apprentice because I know their business team is committed to this approach."

"Our new apprentice will be trained in all aspects of the business, including dealing with customers and product knowledge. We're looking for someone with an outgoing personality who enjoys talking to people, is keen to learn, and has a positive attitude and polite and helpful manner.

"I discovered that apprenticeships can work well for business 12 years ago when I employed 16 year old John Penwell as an apprentice to do office admin and stock control. He went to college one day a week and his College tutor also came to our office. Today John is 28 and works in the front showroom and the office. He is an invaluable member of the team and his success has played a major part in my decision to take on a new apprentice. He is also proof that if you treat staff well you will get rewarded with loyalty.

"The initial financial cost of an apprentice is low for the business and young trainees come without baggage which makes training easier. Apprentices gain a good understanding of the job and the industry and dealing with real customers is a great way to build confidence. The structured training schedule with the apprentice at Strode College one day a week suits us and compliments the job well."

John Penwell who will help train the new apprentice said: "The two parts of my apprenticeship - work and college - definitely made me a better employee. As my confidence grew, along with my knowledge and experience, I really started to enjoy the role and feel part of the team. I'm looking forward to helping our new apprentice as colleagues helped me in the past."

The vacancy with Bridgwater Communications is advertised on the national apprenticeship website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

To find out more about apprenticeships call Strode College on 01458 844476, or visit our appernticeships page.