Case Study: Barbican

Contact Centres | Front of House | Customer Service


The Barbican is a world class arts and learning centre that pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts.  

Like many organisations the barbican wanted to place visitors and their experience at the heart of everything they do, while at the same time recognising that their people would need to develop new thinking and behaviours if they were to transform customer service and the experience people have when visiting the Barbican. To develop a training solution that would enhance organisation wide customer service and also increase the sale of additional products and services through the barbican contact centre and core front of house teams.  

The concern was that this was a predominantly reactive operation. The team were good at handling basic customer requests, and taking bookings for shows and events, showing people around and providing key information, but were less interested, confident and able , to provide a proactive relational customer experience, as well as attempt to introduce additional products that they in some way saw as being of limited benefit to the customer.   

Barbican recognised they would need to work with a specialist in customer service, who could help them not only develop the right training, but could also support them with specialist advice on both customer experience, contact centre and people development. It is for this reason that future vision were engaged.  


We began by conducting an onsite discovery, spending approximately a week in the box office and with various front of house teams and their respective managers and the SLT, observing and talking with the customer service advisors, their team mangers, box office manager and head of customer experience and training.  This involved depth interviews, focus groups and mystery shopping activities (calls and face to face observations) enabling us to understand the customers agenda, how the teams were currently interacting and engaging with visitors (quality of interaction) and what would need to change or happen to improve their performance and transform customer service across the organisation as well as becoming more comfortable and skilled in introducing the wider Barbican offer, increasing both service and sales performance.  

Together we came up with the ‘Barbican Way’ to create a strong narrative and why behind the programme, and then communicated this out prior to the programme launch. We then designed a two-day Barbican Way workshop that focused on developing a new proactive mindset, using new powerful language, and using questions to explore their customers’ needs, wants and expectations, enabling them to improve how they interacted with visitors, opening the door to a different type of conversation, where they could where appropriate introduce new products and services in a friendly and relevant manner. This was delivered to all box office and select front of house teams and their supervisors and managers.  

Key results

  • Sales of tickets, memberships, car parking and pre-paid meal packages increased across the board (25% - 200%).
  • Pre-paid restaurant sales rose nearly threefold from 2.2% to 6.4%.  
  • Increased customer satisfaction: 82% of customers were ‘highly satisfied’ according to mystery shopping reports. 
  • Product knowledge increased from 76% to 85%.
  • Improved customer mood and experience: staff friendliness and helpfulness rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by 90% of customers.

Client feedback

They deliver compelling ideas...

I’ve worked with Tony and Glenn on a couple of projects and they deliver compelling ideas that result in real change for the customer experience.  Staff understanding of the impact of their behaviour on the customer experience is key and they are able to create the environment to not only foster this understanding but make real change to staff development. 

deputy head of audience experience & operations, barbican/guildhall school

Fantastic training...

The training delivered by Future Vision has been fantastic. It has provided our teams with the understandings, skills and behaviours to deliver consistently great experiences across the box office and front of house teams. This has seen our customer satisfaction ratings increase as well as assisting in the cross selling of additional barbican services.  

head of customer experience, barbican