Service Standards

In developing these standards we have sought to:

  • Set standards which are user friendly, customer focused and measurable.
  • Clearly state how staff should behave in dealing with customers.
  • Set performance targets which can be reviewed regularly.
  • Give consideration to legislation, good practice and national standards.

Ensure staff are equipped to deliver services taking into account equality and diversity so that:

  • ​Translation / interpretation can be arranged when languages other than English are used.
  • Customers with sensory impairments can be assisted through their chosen medium, such as Braille or British Sign Language.
  • Customers with a learning disability will be offered clear and simple advice and instructions, sensitively provided.

We will:
  • Regularly ask our customers for feedback about our customer service.
  • We will use this feedback to help shape the services we deliver.
  • Ensure our staff are trained and competent to deliver our services.
  • Ensure all staff and members are trained in Customer Care.

General Principles When Dealing With An Enquiry

When dealing with an enquiry from a customer, whether face to face or by telephone:
  • Identify and address any special needs with sensitivity, tact and diplomacy.
  • Record customer contact details accurately.
  • Ensure that the nature of the customer’s enquiry is understood clearly.
  • Aim to resolve enquiries (80%) at the first point of contact.

Telephone Callers

  • Where a customer has a hearing impairment offer access to an alternative system.
  • Take ownership of the call, resolving the customer’s enquiry wherever possible.
  • When taking a call for a colleague, use an effective message taking system and make sure the customer is called back.
  • End the call with confirmation of the outcome.

Use Of Voicemail

  • Only in exceptional circumstances will a customer be expected to leave a message on a voicemail.
  • Use voicemail only for short periods or specific purposes.
  • Ensure recorded messages are personalised, audible, accurate, and appropriate and where possible, provide alternative contact details.
  • Give the caller an option to leave a message.
  • Respond to all messages within 24 hours or the next working day if the message is left over a weekend or Bank Holiday.
  • Regularly update your voicemail message.

Face To Face Contact

This covers personal callers with or without appointments, contact with customers at events, meetings out and about and site visits.
  • Aim to greet customers and introduce ourselves within 5 minutes of their arrival at a council building / event.
  • Be welcoming, courteous and helpful at all times.
  • Keep the customer informed of the length of time they are likely to wait to see the person they need.
  • Offer an appointment where this may be more appropriate, responsive or efficient.
  • When a customer has special needs, find out what they need and aim to provide it.
  • When a customer needs to communicate in a language other than English, make arrangements to provide an interpretation service.
  • When discussing personal information, always arrange to do so in a confidential environment e.g. interview room.
  • Ensure staff wear identification badges.

Personal Calls To Customers

This covers visits to customers’ homes / properties
  • Wherever possible or appropriate makes visits by arrangements with the customer, clearly stating the purpose of the visit.
  • Keep customers informed of any changes to the visit arrangements.
  • Establish the customer’s language, communication and other special needs prior to the visit and make arrangements to meet these.
  • Carry your identity card at all times and show it to each customer before entering the property.
  • Encourage customers to check your identify with the Council, for example by telephoning.
  • Follow policies and guidelines on Lone Working for your safety.
  • Use tact and courtesy as a visitor in another person’s home treating their property with respect.
  • Close the visit by explaining the next steps, and leave written information where possible.
  • Follow up your commitment to the customer with action.

Written Communication

This covers letters, faxes and e-mails
  • Reply to letters requiring a response within 10 working days, if this is not possible we advise you why and give you a response date.
  • Respond to emails within 5 working days.
  • Respond to the correspondence in the language of the original communication.
  • Ensure the presentation of all written correspondence is easy to understand, professional and accurate.
  • Include a contact name and direct dial telephone number, together with any other information needed (e.g. reference number) to assist the customer.
  • Meet the needs of people with visual impairment, through the use of Braille, large print or other specialist services.

Internet Access

  • Internet access will be provided 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
  • Wherever possible customers should be offered self service access to all council service’s.
  • Services provided on the Internet will be clear and easily accessible.
  • Directorates are responsible for ensuring their service is properly represented on the Internet and that self service facilities provide the same high standard of response as other access methods.

Comments, Compliments and Complaints

  • Be open to receiving feedback from customers.
  • Pass comments and suggestions on to your manager, if they may improve the service.
  • Ensure compliments are recorded and shared with colleagues
  • Be aware of the council’s complaints procedure.
  • Aim to resolve all concerns (except serious complaints) raised by customers immediately and informally wherever possible.
  • If informal resolution is not successful, tell the customer they can make a formal complaint, and help them to do so.
  • In the case of a serious complaint, tell your manager.

Customer Care Charter

As part of our commitment to you, these standards will apply to all our services:

We will be:

  • Courteous, helpful, open and honest in delivering high quality services.
  • Professional and positive in our approach.
  • Well-informed, so that we are able to help you.
  • Effective in listening and responding to you when you are dissatisfied or complain.
  • Treat everyone fairly and equally, with respect and dignity.

When you have contact with us, we will:

  • Aim to answer the query at the first point of contact whenever possible.
  • Aim to answer your telephone call within five rings.
  • Arrange for someone to call you back promptly if we cannot answer your query immediately.
  • Provide a simple and effective self service via the internet
  • Aim to respond to your letters, faxes and emails in a prompt and timely manner.
  • Arrange an appointment if necessary for you to speak to someone who can help you.
  • Show you an identity badge when we visit your home or business.
  • Use plain English that is clear and easy to understand.

We would like you to:

  • Treat our staff with courtesy, respect and dignity.
  • Keep any appointments that you have with us, and notify us if you are unable to attend.
  • Give us the information we need to help you.
  • Give us your views and suggestions to help us improve our services.

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