19
Jan
  • James Ellaby

 

Oxford City Council are a service provider who strives to excel in customer satisfaction and are dedicated to providing a first-class customer service experience by putting the customer at the heart of everything they do and ensuring that they don’t waste time, effort and money delivering a service the way they want but doing it the way their customers want it. As such Oxford City council is attempting to achieve the CSE Standard across the whole of the organisation.

 

Oxford City Council is the democratically elected body for Oxford. Working in partnership with others, they aim to provide a range of services for
approximately 152,000 resident; 106,000 people who work in Oxford and around 9.5 million people who visit the city very year.

Responsible for running local planning, housing, Council Tax collection, housing benefits, business rates, environmental health, licensing, electoral registration, refuse and recycling collection, leisure services and parks, economic development, social inclusion, community cohesion, street wardens and park rangers, markets and fairs, tourism and cemeteries.

The Customer Service Excellence Standard

The Government developed the Customer Service Excellence Standard to offer a practical tool for driving customer focused change within an organisation. The Standard tests in great depth those areas that research has indicated are a priority for customers, with particular focus on delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism and staff attitude.

Why Customer Service Excellence?

What was Oxford City Council’s interest and reasons for wanting to improve their Customer Service? What was attractive to Oxford for this specific standard? The Contact Centre was the first to achieve the CSE standard back in 2013 and it was decided to roll out the project across the entire organisation. HMO Licensing; Leisure, Parks & Communities; Tenancy Management and the Welfare Reform Team are some of the most recent departments to have become a certified member of the scheme. 

“We hope that it would help to identify areas of success and areas for improvement”

Working with the Standard

The assessment process offered by Centre for Assessment is flexible, tailored to the needs of an organisation, providing an objective and impartial process.

“We found the assessment & review process very thorough and beneficial to all departments involved. As experienced with the Contact Centre, our assessment process involved us preparing a submission of written evidence which was reviewed by our assessor. This was followed by an onsite visit
to each of the offices where they met with staff and customers”.

Looking to the Future

Customer Service Excellence is a unique tool which was designed to promote and encourage continual improvement and maintaining the standard.

“With Phase one complete, we are now on Phase two and hope to build on the success already achieved and are looking to address the development points identified by the assessor to help Oxford City Council in its commitment to continuous improvement”.

Would you recommend the Framework?

“Most definitely. Customer Service Excellence helps organisations bring professional high level customer service concepts into common practice and builds a picture of your organisation and how customer focused it truly is”.

Working with the framework in the future

“The CSE standard is an on-going process that acts as a reflective lens identifying what you can do, where you do it well and where there is room for improvement”.

Which part of the Framework has been most fulfilling?

“The results! The high level of achievement in phase one has inspired the members of phases two and three to aim high. We are particularly proud of
the number of Compliance Plus elements awarded, especially given the recent challenges facing Local Authorities these days”.

Compliance plus elements are areas which show behaviours and practices that exceed the requirements of the standard.

What would you say to somebody who has pre-conceptions or thinks the standard is not relevant to them?

“They are underestimating the power of the tool. As a reflective lens the project gives an organisation the ability to self- assess and identify areas of strength and weakness. It can show where success is not being acknowledged and where failure is being accepted on a regular basis”.