Public service?

October 27, 2009

Hidden in the depths of the Warwick Business School’s web site is an interesting 59 page publication produced in the last month or two, entitled “It’s a culture thing“.  It’s a  joint production by the Institute of Customer Service and the Local Government Centre within Warwick Business School and contains ten short case studies around local authorities including Bradford,  Blackpool and Torfaen.

Some key statements include one on p.48 that “customer feedback should inform service planning and delivery as well as communications strategies.” Folowed closely by the fact that “public satisfaction can also be a driver for service planning.”

The report concludes (p.54) that:

“The customer and citizen focused council is therefore likely to be one that:

  • is driven by a thorough understanding of local needs and preferences
  • puts users and citizens at the heart of its thinking on service development and delivery
  • has a clear view of what it is able to deliver and communicates it well
  • is capable of embracing new techniques and ways of working
  • and finally, is open to change.”

The conclusions are thoughts gathered from the case studies and perhaps  some detailed reference is needed back to practices at the authorities into practice but the actual fact that they have put greater focus upon what their citizens think may be part of the key?


Complaints advice

May 25, 2009

I’ve mentioned Professor Bob Johnston before but it appears he’s also a favourite of the Institute of Customer Service.  Based upon his research they’ve published some brief guidance upon how to best manage them. They’ve also published various reports commissioned by them from researchers such as Bob.

There are some words of wisdom such as:

“A complaint is a gift and you should consider yourself lucky that a customer is prepared to give up valuable time to help you improve your organisation.”

“One can learn so much about problems with internal processes, training, specific employees/managers, and product – free”

“Do you have a continuous culture? Do you check customer (and employee) satisfaction regularly?”

There’s also a comment here from Vicky Sargent who does much work on the web metrics side of Socitm – she’s seen councils where monitoring feedback makes a difference to their services!