Bolton Castle planning customer service for all.

It’s 10.30 on a misty Thursday morning, after the horrors of the Satnav taking Matt and I through a field full of sheep.. we finally arrive at the beautiful Bolton Castle in North Leyburn, North Yorkshire. The beautiful fields of green surrounding the picture perfect castle and its ground made the traumatic trip of getting there totally worth it.

As we enter the castle itself the feeling is unreal, hardly any of the castle has been modified with the luxuries of a five star hotel and it actually feels like being there back in the day! With its candle lit walls of stone and tapestries and the slightly uneven staircase leading up to the main area, you practically feel like the Baron of Bolton himself!

After we got ourselves together we made our way to the gift shop where we were greeted by a lovely young lady called Katie, the exact person we came here to see, she offered us a drink and a slice a cake (which Matt was delighted about) and then we made our way to the office to begin.

First, Katie took me and Matt on a tour of the castle and showed us all the facilities, telling us a bit about the castle being built and what happened there and finally taking us up the spiral staircases to the roof to look at the beautiful countryside. After that we made our way back to the office where we were introduced to Tom the owner, we settled down and began the consultancy. We took a look at their access statement and discussed what needed to be improved, for example, making it easier to find the specific bit of information you are looking for rather than trawling through the whole thing. We then started a Marketing Accessibility Action Plan to write down everything that needed to be done and which things needed to be made a priority, for example, making changes to access statement in time for holiday seasons. We discussed budget, catering facilities, accessibility around the site, their website content etc. Our work came up with solutions that Katie could apply to complications that may arise with customers, ways to improve online and offline marketing, improvements to be made to their site and best use of the resources they already have.

We know that good customer service is all about the three pillars, information, good customer service and facilities which is why we think it’s great that they have designed an app on android. The app is a virtual tour of the castle with information about each area and the people who lived there. It is for visitors who are unable to access the castle due to mobility limitations. The app was great at illustrating how the castle would have appeared in it’s medieval heyday.

We discussed what could happen if a school trip was to come to the castle for a tour and one of the children had a disability and what the best way was to assist that child to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

By the end of the day we had designed a strategy to be put into place over the next 12 months.