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How I Became A Retail Manager

30th June 2022

The Post: Retail Outlets Officer, Titanic Belfast

The Post Holder: Chris Orr

Organisation and good people skills are central to Chris Orr’s role as a manager with Titanic Belfast.

Give a brief outline of your career to date.

I worked a variety of part-time roles during school, including a job at a hotel. I’ve always really enjoyed the customer service element as I like dealing with and helping the public. I have been with Titanic Belfast for six years now and have worked a number of different roles. I am currently the Retail Outlets Officer and I’m responsible for the Titanic Store, The Gallery Café and The Pantry.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Maths and History were my favourite subjects. They were my strongest and history was the one that interested me most – I think my love of history was part of the reason why I wanted to work at Titanic Belfast.

Did you go on to further/higher education, if so what did you study and where?

I started a computer science programme which was a foundation degree with SERC and Ulster University. I was working part-time at Titanic Belfast during this time and loved the work I was doing. I then realised this wasn’t really the course for me and when I secured a full-time job at Titanic Belfast I left.

How did you get into your area of work?

I started Titanic Belfast when I was 19 and really enjoyed it. I have progressed through the business and organically found my career path this way.

Is this what you always wanted to do?

Growing up, there wasn’t a particular job that I wanted to do – however, I feel very lucky to have found a great career.

Were there any particular essential qualifications or experience needed?

No essential qualifications are required. I had previous customer service experience from my previous jobs – you definitely have to be a people person in this role. The great thing about working in Titanic Belfast is the on the job training you receive. This has been really beneficial in supporting my career progression.

Are there alternative routes into the job?

Yes definitely, we offer a number of customer-facing roles with basic entry requirements.

What are the main personal skills your job requires?

Definitely being able to offer a 5-star customer service. It’s so important to be polite and courteous. We welcome visitors from around the globe and it’s vital that we give them the experience that is expected of a world-class tourist attraction.

What does a typical day entail?

I start the day by sorting the tills, ensuring that the store and café are perfectly presented and get the coffee machine ready. I spend a lot of my day greeting guests and making sure they have an enjoyable visit, answering any queries they might have and helping them select their purchases.

As my role is managerial, I help my colleagues with whatever they need with – for example, any issues they might have, stock requirements, staff rota and meetings. And then It’s a case of getting ready for the next day and making sure everything is clean and tidy.

What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?

The best is definitely making people’s experience of Belfast as good as it can be – especially if they are from outside of Northern Ireland. I pride myself on making sure all of our guests have a great time.

The most challenging is also making sure that everyone gets the 5-star service we are known for. We are a busy tourist attraction, having welcomed over 6.5 million guests through our doors from over 145 countries, so it can therefore be a challenge each day to make sure you get to speak to as many guests as you can and make sure they have the perfect visit!.We are a very hardworking team and always try our very best to make sure everyone has a great experience and I’m pleased to say that I think we do a good job of this.

Why is what you do important?

We’re ambassadors, not just for Titanic Belfast, but for Northern Ireland. Our customer service reflects the opinion our guests go away with, so it’s important that we ensure it is a positive experience.

How has Covid-19 impacted your business/role?

My role changed to include the The Gallery Café and The Pantry so I had to become more multi-skilled and learn how to make coffee, pull pints etc – which I really enjoy as it reinforces the hospitality side of my job.

What adjustments have you had to make?

I’ve had to learn about the health and safety side of food service, how cafés and restaurants run and be able to put it into action.

What advice would you give anyone looking to follow a similar career path?

Work hard and prove yourself. Make sure you’re giving 100% every day. Keep looking to learn new skills every day as it will stand by you as your career develops.

If you weren’t doing this what would you like to do?

I love my job and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself on your first day?

Smile and have fun.

Describe your ideal day off.

Going on road trip and enjoying some nice food. We are so lucky in Northern Ireland as we are spoilt for choice of stunning places to visit. 

And finally, what’s the key to any successful job search?

Keep your options open.

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