Setting customer service standards

Article image - Setting customer  service standards Training has ensured Council staff members have the skills to uphold outstanding customer service standards.

Barossa Council, South Australia, has implemented an ambitious Change Program, which aims to break down service delivery silos within the organisation and deliver leading customer service.

The Change Program aims to bring the whole organisation together to ensure Council is a 24/7 digitally connected, efficient and integrated system with a customer-centric focus.

Barossa Council CEO Martin McCarthy said: “Our Change Program is integral to addressing and positioning Council for the next two decades. Just like all businesses we have to change and offer new ways of doing things.”

From within the Change Program, the Customer Service Reboot Project was born, which aims to set universal customer service standards that can be understood by both officers and customers and delivered consistently across the organisation.

One of the first deliverables of the Project was the development of a Customer Service Charter, which details the customer service standards the organisation is committed to achieving. These standards were translated into core non-negotiable customer service behaviours, which were explored through organisation-wide 90-minute training sessions.

Throughout training, staff members were guided by a facilitator to understand the Charter and how it fits within the wider view of Council, to identify what successful customer services looks likes within various roles and teams, and to review where there may be potential roadblocks, resources or skill gaps in achieving desired outcomes. Staff members were also provided with a workstation poster which outlines expectations and examples of what the behaviours look like in practice.

To promote a shared understanding between Council officers regarding the diversity of their customers, the importance of consistency of approach between officers delivering their component of the service supply chain, and the many variables that impact a customer’s experience with Council, the Customer Service Reboot team created a series of (fictional) customer personas and stories which are being rolled out over a 12-month period.

Jo Moen, Manager Executive Services and Customer Service Reboot Project lead, said: “We really want to break down service delivery silos across Council and to ensure that our staff understand what is expected of them in providing quality customer service, and feel confident that the systems and processes that they work within allow them to put the customer at the centre of the interaction – after all, our ultimate aim is to provide the best possible service and outcomes for the community.”