Thursday, 9 October 2014

Did you know it's National Customer Service Week?

The Information Directorate are providers of award winning customer service. This week, as Jackie Knowles reports, we used the occasion of National Customer Service Week to promote and share our story with a showcase event.

In March 2014 the Information Directorate were awarded the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation. CSE offers organisations an external, and independent, accreditation which looks in detail at those areas that matter to customers when it comes to services - aspects such as delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism and staff attitude.

Our showcase invited staff from across the University to come along to find out more about what we do across Library, IT and Archives and what makes us tick when it comes to providing our award winning customer service. It was also an opportunity for leaders and managers from other departments in York to find out more about the CSE framework -  both the work involved in preparing for assessment and the ongoing commitment that is required. Holding CSE within Information helps us promote the University as a whole and a selection of other HE organisations have begun to gain CSE accreditation across the whole of their institutions, with many others waiting in the wings and considering following suit.

The afternoon was an informal drop-in based around having conversations with people and it was a great opportunity for us to chat to colleagues about our approach and our services. The CSE standard places an emphasis on developing customer insight and understanding the user experience - and for us, talking to people underpins this understanding. Providing cake along the way helps too!

Customer Service Excellence is a significant undertaking, especially for a department of our size, and although there was a lot of hard work involved in preparing for our initial assessment we have seen a range of benefits come out of the process. Our staff culture has changed and we now are certain that we put the customer right at the heart of everything we do. Our staff have been challenged via working on CSE to become more self reflective and always look to make continual improvements to the services we provide. But perhaps one of the biggest success stories coming out of CSE is how we've come together as a big team to make it all work. For a department made up of three distinct areas this was a particular challenge and CSE has given us a common language and framework to drive forward our work. This was evidenced throughout our work on CSE from senior level managers working together to put robust service standards in place, to a range of practical measures on the ground around sharing of good practice.

The achievement of the standard gives us formal recognition and a badge of quality - but the badge is simply the icing on the cake.

To find out more about our CSE accreditation please visit our Customer Service Excellence webpage or contact Jackie Knowles, Head of Customer Services for further information.

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