When Edinburgh’s Virgin Money Lounge opened in November 2011 along with one in Norwich, Amy, 25, admits that while excited, she was intrigued as to how people would receive the concept.
She was one of a handful of Lounge hosts who had been hand-picked for their exceptional customer service skills to help begin Virgin Money’s journey into making banking better. And Amy, who lives on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, feels that Virgin Money’s customer Lounges have been a great start.
She explained: “We have lots of regular customers now and the Lounge is part of people’s regular weekly routine. We’ve even had people who bring their friends and family with them just to show it off.
"We have a lovely couple who train guide dogs and bring their puppies into the Lounge. It is a great place for this type of training as the puppies can get experience of being in a quieter environment with furniture to navigate, members of the public and no other dogs to distract them. The puppies have become our unofficial Lounge mascots.
“We also have a gentleman who comes in and occasionally, when it is quiet, plays on our Lounge piano. It really is beautiful that someone feels comfortable doing that and of course we really enjoy listening to him play.”
Virgin Money now has three very different Lounges in its portfolio with more to be added in the future.
Amy continued: “Virgin Money’s Lounges are our way of giving something back to our customers; and of doing things differently. The concept of making everyone better off is always front of mind. There is a really lovely atmosphere in the Lounge and we are always open to new ideas for events and improvements from our members.”
They are all part of our ambition to be a very different kind of bank - one that makes everyone better off.
Lounge membership is completely free, and so are the refreshments, Wi-Fi and use of our iPads. You are welcome to bring a friend or family member in with you, and there is a children’s corner to keep the kids entertained.
Lounges are open seven days a week and Edinburgh’s team of eight dedicated staff work together to ensure a great customer service is provided at all times. From 8am when some of the hosts begin to set up for opening to members at 8.30am, every day is different for Amy.
She went on: “There is always something to do, from cleaning the coffee machine to welcoming guests, restocking shelves, budgeting and administration. As brand ambassadors, not just for Virgin Money but also the broader Virgin Group, it is also important we keep abreast of the latest Group and product news.”
Although Virgin Money Lounges have no products for sale, guides to Virgin Money accounts are available along with iPads and iMacs with which customers can service their accounts.
Amy explained: “We also have a fantastic relationship with our local Virgin Money Store. If a member needs some help with a product, we will help them get the assistance they need. The feedback we have received from members about the Lounge being based on service rather than sales is excellent.”
A large portion of Amy’s day is often spent helping to plan the Lounge’s events programme or reaching out to local businesses, charity and community groups to see how they may be able to work together.
She continued: “Our events are really popular. We ensure members who are interested in attending all get a fair chance to do so.”
- The Edinburgh Lounge has an average of 136 visitors each week day
- The highest number of members using the Edinburgh Lounge in one day has been 222
- Virgin Money’s Norwich Lounge experienced its busiest day ever recently with more than 500 visitors
- The average Edinburgh Lounge member visits the Lounge at least once a month
- Through supporting charities and community groups, Virgin Money Lounges last year helped to raise thousands of pounds for charity
Although recent events have included art exhibitions, a cocktail making masterclass, beer tasting with a local brewery and quizzes, the Edinburgh Lounge also links up with charities.
Amy said: “Many local charities know they can come and use the Lounge whenever they want, free of charge. We have had occasions where charities have been let down at the last moment for a venue for an important meeting so they have phoned us.”
Amy said the most rewarding part of her job is the variety it offers and she loves being part of the team: “It is crucial that we are all flexible and that can be a challenge but is equally really rewarding.
“For example, in cases like that when an event comes up at the last minute, we may need to close five or 10 minutes early to set up. Or we may need to call upon a member of the team on their day off to come in and offer support.
As well as supporting charities and community groups, Edinburgh’s Lounge also works with the local branches of major chains like Harvey Nichols and Jo Malone to host events in the space.
Amy added: “I love being part of the Lounges, not only because the team works so well together but also because of the opportunity we have to really get to know our customers and the local community.”
Anyone with a Virgin Money account is able to become a member at one of Virgin Money’s Lounges. Virgin Money Edinburgh Lounge, in St Andrew Square, is open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm, 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and 10am till 4pm on Sundays.
To sign up for Lounge membership or for more information about Virgin Money’s Lounges, visit the ‘about lounges’ section of our website.
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Links to external websites are for information only. Virgin Money receives no income from them and accepts no responsibility for the website content. The information in this article is correct as at 18 March 2013.