Agenda item

Customer Experience Strategy update

Report of the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources introduced the report which examined the relationship the council had with the public and its pledge to “encourage and listen to the community, partners and business, working together to improve our county”.

 

The Council aimed to achieve the Institute of Customer Services ‘ServiceMark’ accreditation which was a national standard, recognising an organisation’s commitment to customer service and its aim to achieve high standards as part of a long-term embedded customer strategy.

 

The ServiceMark accreditation was awarded based on both customer satisfaction and employee engagement, helping organisation understand the effectiveness of its customer service strategy from multiple touchpoints and identify areas for improvement.

 

The report detailed the work undertaken so far and the challenges involved.  The three pillars within the strategy were; Strategy and Leadership; Culture and engaged people; and Operational delivery.  Each service would have their own report but when combined, the whole organisation would be able identify specific issues/themes.

 

A short presentation was provided for the members, followed by a discussion.  In addition to the information in the report, the following was provided and issues raised:

·   Information from the Institute of Customer Services and learnings from others had been used to develop the strategy but was tailored towards Staffordshire.

·   The council was a complex organisation with differing customer needs.

·   It was acknowledged that it was difficult to measure the customers experience when everyone wants a different thing.

·   Earning customer trust and ensuring residents, councillors and employees were advocates for the council in the widest sense was important.

·   Many elements had fed into the development of the strategy.

·   The way the council gather information and fill some of the gaps in collecting information was challenging particularly from certain groups of customers, e.g. rural communities.

·   ServiceMark was an opportunity for organisations of all sizes to demonstrate the high quality of their customer service both internally and externally.

·   The initial survey which would provide a starting point, had been distributed to customers in March and employees in April 2024.  The same dates would be used again in 2025 which should show the direction we are traveling in.  If the assessment showed progress, official assessment could be in July 2025 with possible ‘ServiceMark’ by the end of 2025.

·   Culture would form part of the questioning/assessment.  It was felt that this should include partners or contractors who carryout work on the councils behalf.

·   It was suggested that Overview and Scrutiny should be added to the governance structure.  It was noted that this would be considered when more detail was available.

·   If any specific areas of concern were raised, experts would be consulted to provide advice.

·   It was acknowledged that as a multi service organisation, satisfaction could not be guaranteed on every occasion.

·   The term ‘resident’ was felt to be more appropriate than customer as sometimes there is little choice over service provider.

·   National benchmarking and collaborative working were worthwhile but sometimes a specific issue needed to be addressed separately.  When the assessment had been completed, there would be more knowledge of whether collaborations would be useful.  Data was already being shared with other authorities where there was a shared customer.

·   Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) if used on a digital platform could show trends which could be used for further and continuous improvement.

·   Sub-contractors such as Amey had used the survey tool and the feedback had been fed into the transformation programme.

 

Resolved:

a)   That the update on the development of the Customer Experience Strategy be noted.

b)  That the Strategy be added to the work programme for further scrutiny at a time most beneficial.

Supporting documents: