Celebrating the skills of men in the customer services industry 

Stephen RitchieFront of house and events are generally seen as being female dominated but it’s an industry just as suited to men if they have a passion for exceptional customer service.

Stephen Ritchie, Learning and Development Advisor shares his experiences…

What is your role and what does a typical day at work look like for you?

As a Learning and Development Advisor for Mitie Client Services, I personally feel responsible for the development of all of the team in my region and often get involved in delivering training for the rest of the country too.

No two days are ever the same. I travel a lot within my role visiting sites from Derby to Scotland and all sites in-between often travelling by train, so I can tell you which stations have the best bacon butties!

When on-site I’m usually conducting training and the courses can be for as little as four team members to larger groups of 12. I’m passionate about the service we deliver from first impressions of the guest, to maintaining standards of the uniforms our team all wear.

How did you get into this profession?

I started my career in the hotel and catering industry working in restaurants and bars. I worked my way up to being an Assistant Hotel Manager and worked in Ripon, Harrogate, Skipton, Chester and Switzerland.

After this I moved from hotels into Airlines, where my skills increased massively. Monarch, who I worked for, had an amazing reputation in the business for high standards and strict policies and procedures and this is what kept me there for 20 years, until my role became redundant in 2014.

I saw this role advertised, which for me was the perfect transition. Still within a customer facing business with high standards; but on the ground and within normal hours! I’ve been with Mitie Client Services now for over two years and I’ve never looked back. Front of house is my favourite place to be within any business, I love the interaction with the guests and I love a challenge that needs to be resolved.

What skills do you think are needed to succeed in a customer service led role?

Here is a list of qualities I feel anyone needs to succeed in this industry:

  • An eye for detail (uniform and upholding standards)
  • Approachability (customers need to feel you are there to listen)
  • Personal high standards
  • Fun in and out of work
  • Passion for the purpose of the business and the customer’s needs
  • A proactive approach to the guest, ensuring you exceed their expectations
  • Making an effort to know your teams
  • Leading by example (treating everyone the same)
  • The belief that there is no such thing as a VIP (every guest should be treated as a VIP)

Do you feel there are opportunities for you to progress in the industry?

I currently work within a small team and I’m still learning and developing my skills every day. So I am very happy where I am!

However I would like to expand my scope to deliver more courses and continue learning new skills.

Would you encourage other men to join your profession and why?

I most certainly would, but to be honest I feel that about every role that deals with customers and peoples’ needs. Facilities Management is a prime example of an industry where clients’ trust us to look after the customer journey of each of their visitors, while they get on with what they do best.  We get to really demonstrate our expertise and deliver exactly what we’re passionate about.

Stephen Ritchie is a Learning and Development Advisor for Mitie Client Services

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