Thomas Cook leads the travel industry when it comes to customer service, but as part of the introduction of a new strategy to all 17,000 staff in the UK and Ireland, it intended to differentiate itself even more through outstanding customer service and service innovation to drive operational cost savings and efficiencies.

Engage for Change designed an engagement programme, launched at a series of two management conferences in Turkey, each to a group of 1,000 managers and supported by a group of 50 internal facilitators that we had trained. At the conference each group of 1,000 participated in a three-hour activity where, using a set of prepared materials including a workbook, instructions, exercises and discussion guides, in small groups managers created their own world beating customer service plans.

Following this initial launch all 17,000 Thomas Cook employees participated in exactly the same experience, using a similar pack of materials, delivered by their own manager who was sometimes supported by an internal facilitator.

Prior to the launch event, design of the programme included contribution from a series of project teams representing each of the business areas and guidance from a steering group representing the Board and key operational managers. Following the launch event, the project continued continued to plan and manage delivery of the programme in their own area.

The result – an organisation truly switched on to customer service excellence, where everyone recognises the difference great customer service can make, why it is important and how it can support the sustained growth of Thomas Cook and their personal opportunity as employees.