I have attended countless number of workshops, briefings, seminars, masterclasses and conferences over the last 19 years. During that time I have had the pleasure (most of the time) of attending these events at locations all over the world – from St Louis to Singapore – from Munich to Manchester. More often than not I have experienced the delights of a windowless hotel meeting room with only lukewarm watery coffee to look forward to during a break. For a long time hotels have been seen as the best option for organisations needing to hold a meeting that is either too large or inappropriate to have in their own offices. Specialist conference centres exist, but I am yet to visit one where the experience has felt any different to the blandness of a hotel…..that is until yesterday. On the 8th July 2014, I ran a Customer Experience seminar at Wallacespace in Covent Garden, London – and it is the experience that I had that is the subject of this review.
|Date Review Conducted||8th July 2014|
|Hotel Visited||Wallacespace Covent Garden, 2 Dryden St, London WC2E 9NA|
|CX Review Total Score||45/50|
Rather than me attempt to describe who Wallacespace are and what they do, I thought I would just download their own description – it goes like this:
Offsite meeting space is what we do and it’s all we do. Our spaces in Covent Garden, St Pancras and Clerkenwell Green are designed for meetings, training, research, events, conferences, workshops… our rooms are a blank canvas for you to use as creatively as you like. We won’t hide you away in a dingy basement while we focus on something or someone else. Originally coming from a training background ourselves, we aim to think of everything to ensure that you will get more from your day at wallacespace than you would anywhere else. Flooded with natural daylight and with all the little touches that make for a great day (from super-fast free wifi to all-you-can-eat wagon wheels), our buildings are designed to help facilitate creative thinking and minimise distractions, while our people aim to think of absolutely everything with a refreshing, ‘can-do, will-do’ attitude to ensure you can focus on delivering success.
In the world of Customer Experience, where an organisation makes statements like those above, they constitute a promise or series of promises. When you read something like this, you immediately have the expectation that the words are a direct representation of the experience you will have. The question is…..does the experience match the promise? Read on to find out. Accessibility – CX Review Score 9/10 In my review process, the definition of accessibility is ‘how easy was it for me to do what I wanted to do’ with the organisation I have chosen to transact with. I have awarded Wallacespace 9 out of 10 for this category – almost perfection! From the minute you start to engage with this organisation, you get the sense that your experience is going to be a good one. With three locations in London (Covent Garden, St Pancras and Clerkenwell Green), all of their ‘spaces’ are easily accessible in our capital city. I have to admit that I cannot take the credit for selecting Wallacespace in Covent Garden to be the location for a Custerian Customer Experience Seminar this week – that must go to my esteemed colleague Jerry Angrave. Jerry was supremely confident that I would be impressed – and confident he was right to be. The booking process was easy and hassle free. Wallacespace were happy to accommodate our every whim. Our delegate numbers went up and down. Our room requirements changed more than a few times – but nothing was a problem. We were even given the option to ‘choose our room’ on the day if we felt the space that had been selected for us was not to our liking. Within easy reach of a multitude of tube stations, Wallacespace Covent Garden is a stones throw from shops, cafes and theatres. I usually arrive VERY early at the location where I am going to be delivering training – yesterday was no different. Usually I am either refused entry, met with a locked door, or greeted by a space with no staff, no lights and sometimes no tables and chairs!! As Jerry and I approached the front door of the building 20 minutes before it was due to open, I suspected that we would be out of luck. How wrong my cynicism turned out to be. A lovely, smiling lady came to the door and let us in – she did not even bat an eyelid that we were too early. It drives me nuts when companies will not open the door until the millisecond stipulated by their opening hours. This made for such a refreshing change. As she led us through the reception area, I could not help noticing some pictures on a shelf. The pictures were of the Wallacespace staff – a lovely touch: Walking over the bright green floor, you can immediately tell that you are in a space designed to deliver a memorable experience. Brightly coloured furniture, high ceilings, light airy rooms – I was smiling already. The Plum Room that had been selected for us was lovely. Although the room was ready for us, it was not quite as we had asked for. Despite this, the Wallacespace staff were completely unfazed by our demands for unnecessary tables and chairs to be replaced by some comfy furniture. Sofas, armchairs and even a nice green rug were brought into the room without any bother or fuss. Every detail has been considered. Facilities in the meetings rooms are excellent – paper, pads, post its, marker pens and more flip charts than you can physically use. It is obvious that the people who created these spaces have used the spaces themselves. Everywhere you looked there was something else to see. Directly outside the plum room was a fridge – stocked to the brim full of drinks – from green tea cocktails to sparkling water to energy drinks. Once you walk through the front door of the building, all of this is included in the price. I did not think it could get any better than this….but it did. On the top floor is the Wallacespace café – as I climbed the stairs, the waft of breakfast odours started to fill my nostrils. With a breakfast selection to rival any hotel, the conservatory like café is wonderful. Everywhere you look there is something else to see – from huge jars of sweets on one table to a wonderful range of tea and coffee on another. At Wallacespace, whatever you want, they are likely to have. I regularly bemoan organisations of not paying enough attention to the little details – Wallacespace cannot be accused of this. Even the toilet facilities impress. Forgotten to apply your deodorant this morning? At Wallacespace they can solve that problem!! So why only 9 out of 10? It may sound like nitpicking, but to have achieved perfection, Wallacespace would have got the room layout right the first time. I would also love to see Wallacespace with more spaces accessible outside of London. However, a score of 9 out of 10 for accessibility is VERY VERY good – this is a very impressive company. Range/Choice – CX Review Score 9/10 Rooms of all shapes and sizes at Wallacespace locations. All of them are decorated beautifully and can be filled with the furniture of your choice. The spaces are not quite big enough for conferences – the largest on offer can accommodate 120 people (theatre style) in St Pancras. However, if you require a space to hold a meeting; run a training course or deliver a workshop, it is very likely that Wallacespace will have exactly what you are looking for. People – CX Review Score 9/10 Wallacespaces people are lovely. Nice, polite, friendly with a no nonsense attitude. They are as their promise states. They will do anything you want them to do without any fuss. Sadly I cannot remember the names of the people who served and supported us throughout the day. It would have been nice for there to be a little more of the personal touch in the way they tended to us. I suspect that their intention is to provide service that is not intrusive. However, I would have liked to know which member of staff corresponded to the baby pictures in reception! Value – CX Review Score 8/10 You will not have failed to notice that I have already become a fan of Wallacespace. However, the delights I have depicted do come at a price. Wallacespace is not cheap – we paid £88 a head for our event. There is absolutely no doubt that we could have found a cheaper location. This category is not specifically about price though – it is about value. We wanted our delegates to have an experience – not just in the delivery of the seminar, but with the whole experience. For a company running a seminar, the location they are running it from is a key touchpoint. We thought very carefully about that. Our delegates were VERY impressed. They loved Wallacespace as much as we did. We are delighted that they will remember a number of things about their experience with us – one of those will most definitely be Wallacespace. So I think we did get great value for money – but if you are on a budget, Wallacespace may be out of your reach. How did it make me feel? CX Review Score 10/10 In a word – fantastic. Let me remind you of the fact that this is the best location I have ever had the pleasure of attending or delivering a workshop from in 19 years. If you are a trainer yourself, you will LOVE it. If you are a delegate you will LOVE it. This business has nailed all three elements that make customer experiences. It does exactly what you want it to do (FUNCTIONAL); they make it very easy and hassle free to do what you want to do (ACCESSIBLE); and you will feel as though you have flown business class to New York at the end of it (EMOTIONAL). They brilliantly meet their promises and deliver an experience that does not just meet your expectation, it exceeds it. Would I use them again? Yes YES, YES, YES, YES, YES. Wallacespace will be seeing a lot more of me and Custerian. I would not be surprised if they see more our the delegates who attended our seminar yesterday. I will also be telling a lot of people about them. This is the effect of a customer having a great experience. Wallacespace are doing what they doing brilliantly. All I ask is that they think about creating more spaces outside London and soon. If they could stretch to creating one in Chester, that would be the icing on the cake!!