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Enhancing the Customer Experience at one of England’s Busiest Attractions
Home to England’s royalty, lords and ladies since the eleventh century, Leeds Castle is set on two islands on the River Len in 500 acres of rural Kent. Visited in Tudor times by Henry VIII, the castle later passed into private ownership and was used as a garrison,
a prison and a convalescence home as well as being home to a number of wealthy families. Today Leeds Castle is one of nine Treasure Houses of England and hosts conferences, weddings, banquets and concerts. Its many attractions, including works of art, a maze, an aviary, falconry displays and a nine-hole golf course, brought it a record 575,000 visitors in 2007. Seasonal attractions,
such as ice skating at Christmas and jousting, flower festivals, hot air balloon flights and Shakespearean plays in the summer have helped to make Leeds Castle one of south east England’s leading tourist destinations. Real-time communications are essential to the smooth running of the castle and to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
Leveraging Digital Two-Way Radio to Eliminate Communication Black Spots, Guarantee Secure Transmission and Maximize Visitor Enjoyment
As long standing users of Motorola analogue two-way radio, Leeds Castle’s managers were already benefiting from instant communications between castle staff and catering crews to maximize staff productivity and provide the highest levels of customer service. The castle’s increasing popularity had seen visitor numbers grow to 20,000 over Bank Holiday weekends with 3,500 cars each day in the main car park and four smaller overflow areas. As a result, Leeds Castle was looking to increase its stock of Motorola radios to enable the 150 full time employees and 60 additional staff recruited in the high season to coordinate their activities.
In addition, managers also wanted to boost radio coverage in outlying areas of the grounds where gardeners, green keepers and event coordinators often worked alone, particularly outside opening hours. Visitor rooms located deep inside the castle often suffered from poor transmission as the analogue signal was often unable to penetrate the one-metre-thick walls.Leeds Castle also wanted to enjoy clear communications in high-noise environments.
Leeds Castle wanted to benefit from the advances in two-way radio technology to improve communications security by eliminating the possibility of eavesdropping by amateur scanners, a potential risk during high-profile concerts. In addition, the ability to communicate critical messages via text instead of voice would ensure discretion in a customer-facing environment.
MOTOTRBO Digital Improves Range, Clarity, Flexibility, Functionality and Health and Safely while Providing Compatibility with Analogue
Leeds Castle’s communications partner and local Motorola Authorised Dealer recommended MOTOTRBO for its breadth of coverage, unrivalled audio clarity and uncompromising transmission security. The stronger digital signal would enable employees to communicate in remote parts of the grounds and in all areas of the castle. In addition, MOTOTRBO’s support for TDMA technology would allow a single channel solution to be split into two virtual channels to provide twice the capacity of analogue. This would reduce both licensing and hardware costs by halving the number of base stations and repeaters needed.
The castle commissioned a single channel system, which was pre-configured to its specific requirements and installed in less than 24 hours. Eighty-eight MOTOTRBO DP3600 hand portables were purchased for use by managerial staff, event managers, security teams, first-aiders, gardeners and customer assistance staff. Two desk-mounted MOTOTRBO DM3600s keep customer service managers and senior administrators in touch with mobile workers. Both hand portable and fixed models benefit from an alphanumeric display, easy-to-use menu keys, textured push-to-Talk button and large volume control knob.
A single DR3400 repeater base station ensures strong signal coverage across the entire site. MOTOTRBO’s intuitive functionality meant that all staff, even those new to two-way radio, became competent users of the core functions after just twenty minutes training. MOTOTRBO’s greater range has enabled Leeds Castle to eliminate the problem of black spots in remote parts of the grounds and deep within the castle. Clear voice communications over the entire 500-acre site mean that calls get through first time, which has improved response times and customer service.
Ten user groups have been set up to enable staff in each area to communicate instantly with colleagues on a one-to-one basis by selecting names using the alphanumeric display function. Group communications are also possible to everyone within the same user group. In an emergency situation, where a staff member or visitor requires first aid, pressing the emergency button broadcasts to all live radios in all user groups simultaneously. Using the previous analogue system, users were only able to communicate within their group and calls for medical assistance had to be routed via the switchboard.
MOTOTRBO has further improved the efficiency of Leeds Castle’s health and safety procedures by cutting emergency response times to just a few minutes.
MOTOTRBO’s text messaging functionality allows staff to communicate discreetly, without the risk of being overheard by visitors, when discussing potentially sensitive issues or reporting a security alert. Pre-defined text messages have been set up to provide rapid caller responses such as “what is your location?” “in meeting – is it urgent?” and “please see me ASAP”. The ability to send text messages has helped improve staff efficiency and streamline routine operations.
MOTOTRBO’s backward-and-forward compatible platform allows Leeds Castle staff to communicate with the analogue radios often used by production companies who manage its on-site events. The radios can quickly be switched to analogue mode to provide seamless communication between the castle’s security operatives, customer service staff and catering crews and the back-stage teams of the event organisers.
Optimising Efficiency with Cost-Effective, Future–Proofed Communications Within three months of going live with MOTOTRBO, Leeds Castle is benefiting from improvements in staff productivity and even higher standards of customer service. The single-channel system, which was adopted rapidly by staff and continues to be extremely popular, is busy for 60% of the time during opening hours, leading managers to consider adding a second channel. Good radio etiquette has cut the average call time to 20 seconds, with the increasing use of text messaging cutting transmission times still further.
MOTOTRBO’s ease of configuration enables Leeds Castle’s operations engineers to modify functionality themselves, without the need for external expertise. The castle also plans to enhance the radios with some of the new, innovative features continuously being developed by Motorola and its partners. Integrated telemetry would enable remote monitoring of many castle installations, such as intruder alarms, automated watering facilities and lighting systems, from the MOTOTRBO handsets. This would further increase the return on Leeds Castle’s investment in Motorola two-way radio.