Our Customer Service Standards

We are delighted to launch our customer service standards, which are aimed to ensure all staff across the organisation are customer focused and ‘putting customers first in everything we do’.

We collaborated with customers and colleagues at Look Ahead and agreed four standards incorporated into customer standards assurance framework.

Our standards are detailed below.

Department has clear objective and purpose: Business Plan in context of bigger picture – aligned with other part of the business and not work in isolation/silos

Clarity of roles, expectations and service offer – what impact do we have on Customers/Stakeholders?

Clear understanding of customer’s needs – Who are our customers and what are their specific needs? Staff, Managers, Directors, Board, Commissioners, Suppliers

Communication plan [Bespoke for stakeholder/customer group, right tone and mode, are we calling people rather than just emailing]

Adapting in a crisis – clear escalation routes if things don’t go to plan, are we flexible in meeting critical needs when one member of staff is off delegate who can pick up/be point of contact

Development of departmental SLA/KPIs and published performance against them: Clear objectives

Responsive: we will respond to your queries promptly and efficiently, being polite and professional

First time response: Right first time/first point of contact/not passing the buck.

Helpful & responsive to needs: Fix/solve/implement creative/innovative solutions

Timely actions: Answering the phone within xx Rings/answering emails within 3 days/resolving within xx days/follow up/appropriate redirection or finding information

Developing a learning and continuous improvement culture: Induction and customer engagement plan and reflective practice and ongoing learning opportunities

Optimising best use of resources: staff sharing, staff redeployment, collaborative working with operations.

Develop quality management framework for central departments

Collaborative working across organisation: Service visits for bespoke support/training sessions, open managers surgeries online/HQ, managers day at head office; around processes, discussing and implement changes/ideas; together setting and reviewing quality of customer standards i.e. 360 reviews workshop

Meeting jointly agreed deadlines

Diversity & Inclusion: We will ensure our services are accessible and easy to use, all/customers know what they can do and how

Evidence have clear/concise information packs/guides accurate, accessible, user-friendly, jargon free – flexible to staff irrespective of disciplines, location, learning styles or personal limitations

Meet individual customer needs: person-centred approach with a solution focused approach. We will listen to your ideas, struggles and understand the best way to support or collaborate with you

Evidence engagement/involvement with improvements, better able to complete process/actions, 360 reviews

Empowering: customers to make informed and the appropriate decisions

Creating a seamless and joined up process i.e. cross teams working to avoid/reduce duplication of effort/requests resulting in a better customer experience; joint cross departmental recruitment panels e.g. mass recruitment days to recruit similar roles across different locations.

Shared business plans: Cross departmental business plans where there are common goals and objectives…Move Forward Strategy.

Joint training: shared lunch and learn sessions with common themes e.g., HR and Pensions; IT and Performance.

Policy aligned to processes to ensure they are not onerous and are user friendly: i.e. Involvement of end user to develop policy; pilot policy in development stage in designated locations before wider rollout.

Named staff leads: (where possible) i.e. in HR, Finance and Safeguarding enabling individuals to have a familiar name and consistent response to queries.

Transparent: focused on outcomes

Evidence: Publish Performance against action plans i.e. You said we Did

provide clear & transparent communication (when available/not available i.e. outlook up to date, if we can’t meet customer service standard or if there is a delay, changes in teams, roles & responsibilities)

putting things right apologise when we get things wrong, how/when we intend to put right

Be held accountable: Continuous improvement plans and shared KPIs/outcomes with Operations.

Courtesy: Professionalism, relationship building – model organisational behaviours and value.

Innovation and creativity: solutions to problem rather than rigidly sticking to processes

Respond to feedback: i.e. Complaints and Feedback, resolution and lessons learnt.

Accessibility and Inclusion: Person-centred approach. Recognising that our customers are not experts in our field and therefore require having an “adjusted approach” to facilitate inclusiveness.

Relationship building: provide learning opportunities/collaborative ways of working I.e., going out to services to directly support and add value.

Approachable and Flexible: Be aware, acknowledge and understand obstacles and priorities that are impacting your customers and ensure we are adaptable, and solution focused. No question is a silly question.

Confidentiality: Only sharing sensitive information on a need-to-know basis where appropriate.

Creating opportunities and culture for colleague and customers to develop achieve their potential by creating shadow opportunities across departments/within services. E.g., to work on processes, support/ training, support localised recruitment, On the road bespoke training.

Grow own talent – succession planning i.e., developing customer volunteering placements, taster days/job shadow opportunities, project-based involvement, secondment opportunities for staff creating learning opportunities

Set high standards and expectations ensuring high levels of performance are maintained or addressed accordingly ie stretched targets in PDR’s.

High Performing aspirational team culture: i.e. weekly and monthly team meetings where performance is evaluated, and achievement of key milestones are monitored.

Aspire – i.e. blowing the trumpet of a good service; joint working solution-based case studies which has reduced workload but increased efficiencies/cost-savings, sharing collaborative working, sharing best practice. 

For any queries about our Customer Service Standards, email OlaTaiwo@lookahead.org.uk.