As part of its ongoing focus on customer service Argyll and Bute Council has had a Customer Service Charter since 2010 and checks performance against the Charter’s pledges using a number of automated customer surveys and internal monitoring exercises. The Charter tells customers the standards of response they can expect from council employees depending on how they contact us.
In November 2014 the council reviewed its customer service strategy, which is essentially a plan of how it should deliver excellent customer service in the years ahead. Over 500 customers responded to a survey on all sorts of topics, from customer contact channels to customer service standards and this input was used to inform the strategy, whose key points are:
Customer Service Development and Governance
- To have a Customer Service Board (CSB), as the strategic board for customer service related development management, performance management and employee development management
- Have a dedicated annual Customer Service Development Plan whose delivery is managed by the CSB
Standards and Performance Management
- Introduce a revised Customer Service Charter that has additional elements requested by customers including pledges regarding the council website, customer complaints and being kept informed of the progress of service requests.
- Monitor performance against charter pledges on the corporate Customer Service Scorecard, reviewing the target levels annually to ensure that they remain challenging
- Buy a new automated customer satisfaction monitoring tool to continually report on front and back office achievement of response standards
Customer Contact and Channel Access
- Maintain a range of customer access channels to ensure channel choice, but implement the “Digital First” approach to customer contact
- Recruitment of a new Digital Development Officer post to systematically implement and promote the re-engineering of service delivery to maximise digital self-service opportunities for customers
- Buy a next generation customer contact and customer relationship management system for the Customer Service Centre that can support new mobile web and social media interactions.
- Retain the Customer Service Professional Qualification for employees
- Develop a new base level e-learning course in customer care as part of the wider overhaul of e-learning being progressed by HR
- Implement the Customer Service Excellence Standard to at least two Services in each Department and gain corporate accreditation by 2018.
The new Strategy also included a review of the Customer Service Charter and the feedback on what customers thought should change from the old one. New measures have been included covering the website and customer service improvements.
Copies of the Customer Service Strategy (undergoing full review in 2019), the Customer Service Charter and the outcomes of satisfaction surveys and most recent independent Customer Service Excellence Assessments are noted below. Currently the council has the national Customer Service Standard for its Corporate evidence, Building Standards team, Governance and Law Service, Customer and Support Service and Planning and Regulatory Service.
Customer Service Development and Support Manager