4 July 2012

Right first time - a fine theory

Look out for the launch of the customer care standards

Monday, 02 July 2012 15:23 Schroder, Johnathan

Over the past few months you will have seen posters and desktop messages about how all staff are expected to ‘think customer’ in their day to day jobs, and today sees the launch of the refreshed customer care standards which will provide the next level of detail. This morning, every work station had a booklet and business card placed on it setting out the council’s expectations related to customer service. This should provide a model for the work every member of staff does – whether liaising with our customers by email, post, phone, face to face and increasingly, we hope, via the new website. There are new guidelines for home visits and 'out and about' which will provide new guidance for some of our staff and contracted partners. (That would be "workstation" then.)

Throughout the council, the customer is continuing to be placed at the centre of everything we do. Work continues in every service to make them more customer-centric prior to the introduction of the ‘New Customer Service Organisation’ in 2013 through a partnership with either BT or Capita. Placed at the centre of everything we do which is why 99% of them have never heard of "One Barnet".

The literature also sets out new expectations when handling member enquiries and complaints.
Monika Singh, Head of Customer Service Transformation, said:
“Step by step, we are introducing changes that will make a real difference to our customers, and demonstrate that the council is ‘thinking customer’ in everything it does from the start of a customer transaction, all the way through to the end when the service has been provided. Its not just about how quickly we pick up the phone or see someone any more (although of course that still matters), but also how we speak to customers and how well we actually deliver on any promises we make. It's "it's" not "its" you illiterate. ("close quotes were missing from this section)

“The customer care standards are there to provide a framework and clear guidance for all our staff about what is expected when they serve Barnet Council's residents and other customers. We want our customers to get a consistently excellent service every time they contact us, and from whoever they choose to contact. I hope everyone finds the time to read them and consider how they can be put into practice in their day-to-day jobs.” 

Mr Mustard knows a lot of staff at Barnet Council. They feel insulted by this booklet full of baloney. They already know how to give good customer service and how to speak to customers. Surely it would have been better to take the small percentage of staff whose skills could be improved upon and give one-to-one training to them. Isn't that the job of their line managers?

Stand by in FOI. There is an incoming question about the cost of this rubbish. The answer was £876

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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