Developing World-Class Customer Service

Across London the proportion of homes sold to international buyers was around 30% last year. The number of homes in the capital’s “prime central” spots bought by foreign investors hit the highest level in five years, with a significant jump in Middle Eastern and Chinese buyers boosting the figures.

Alternative Description
Alternative Description

The Challenge:  Our client is the UK's leading residential property developer and they are committed to providing extensive training for their Sales and Customer Service teams.

Once new hires have completed their initial training at their academy, they will be expected to provide a world-class level of service, support and guidance to customers from the point of purchasing their home right through to occupation and beyond.

Keen to improve the interaction between their customer-facing teams and overseas investors, they investigated cultural awareness and business etiquette training.

Our Solution:  In 2014, Babel was commissioned to design a one-day workshop that could be rolled out to staff in their autonomous companies and at various developments throughout London and the South-East.

The workshop focuses on improving interaction principally with buyers from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East, Russia and India, and occasionally Nigeria and Turkey. For each culture, core cultural values, preferences and approaches are discussed.

Practical business etiquette is understood and practised such as the correct naming conventions and titles, meeting and greetings, recognising hierarchy, status, gender and family issues, different approaches to timeliness and deadlines, the importance of relationships and trust and symbolism, taboos and acceptable topics for conversation.

Service expectations are also discussed, especially the importance of formality, courtesy, respect, physical appearance and dress code.

The Result:

Following the success of our first one-day workshop in 2014, we now run short Masterclasses (advanced three hour workshops) for hosting buyers from the Middle East and China. These recap on the important core cultural values and how these are shown in investor behaviour; the aspirations, motivations and demands of investors; and delegates are introduced to tailored case-studies concerning a buying/purchasing scenario.

More recently, we have also introduced a one-day International Negotiations Skills course which is designed for the Sales Teams. The course identifies the key skills of negotiating, looks at how to identify key targets, work out tactics, deal with difficult customers, and achieve the results required. Delegates learn how to adapt their style when negotiating with people from different cultures and also use the most appropriate language to influence and persuade their buyers.

“Improved my level and confidence to deal with situations and I now feel I have a better understanding of the Chinese and Russian cultures. It was presented very well and got the whole group involved. Trainer was great and really enthusiastic.”


"I have been having very intensive French lessons over the last 5 weeks in preparation for my expat move. Our tutor did a fantastic job of developing a lesson plan, prepping me for the essentials and covering the basics, giving me a strong French foundation on which I can build over the coming years. She was very flexible with lesson times, working around my schedule and always brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm, no matter how early in the morning or late in the evening it was!"

Intensive French Programme

EDF Energy

"I know quite a few people were sceptical about the value of spending a full day doing the training but from the feedback I have had it really fulfilled our needs."

Country Briefing: Qatar

University of Sussex

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