Ask any tourist (or local for that matter) what they think of when someone mentions New Zealand – Spectacular scenery? Lord of the Rings? Bungy jumping? Sooner rather than later, someone will say, “sheep.”

Sheep helped build New Zealand’s economy. They helped define our national identity through farming. And they even gave us a rich vein of humour; who can resist a sheep joke?

Ngāi Tahu Tourism took over the Agrodome several years ago, and it has been thriving ever since. For a place that’s all about sheep, the Agrodome business certainly doesn’t follow the mob. In fact, for Ngāi Tahu Tourism, delivering such an enduring iconic attraction for customers requires a constant focus on quality; from the facility itself, to the noble stars of the show, and to every other touch point.

A desire to provide top notch customer service in the retail shop inspired Ngāi Tahu Tourism to upskill a number of staff using ServiceIQ’s on-job training programmes.

It’s a diverse team; ranging from school leavers to experienced staff, and from a wide range of backgrounds including New Zealanders, Singaporeans and Chinese. For some, English is a second language, and for others, participating in tertiary education is a new experience.

Training started in 2015. And now eight of the team, who help customers from all over the world to buy beautiful woollen yarn, among other specialty products, have successfully gained the nationally recognised qualification, New Zealand Certificate in Retail (Level 2). Developing new skills on-job has proved a practical and fast way of learning, with immediate benefits for the Agrodome business, staff and customers.

Agrodome Business Manager Dominik Strobel says: “We’ve seen the team enhance their retail skills and gain confidence which leads to professional behaviour and pride in what they do. With everyone working together on the same learning material, our people gained consistent levels of knowledge, and this elevates our standard of service for customers.”

Of course, a real success test is what customers say. And sheep aside, it is Ngāi Tahu Tourism’s people who make the big impression.

“Our success is driven by our people, and visitors often mention members of the team by name in TripAdvisor reviews,” says Dominik. “We get the sense that our visitors are treated very well and they are enjoying a great experience. Ultimately, it’s about continuing to build and maintain that consistent high level of customer care across the business which is absolutely critical for on-going success.”

A special award ceremony was held at Agrodome for the team of eight where they all received their Service IQ Certificates.

We are now looking at including this training across our other tourism businesses.

Members of the Agrodome team at their special award ceremony.

Members of the Agrodome team at their special award ceremony.