Cardiff University – Continuing Professional Development Unit

Why did you wish to achieve the Customer Service Excellence Standard?

We were initially made aware of the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Standard by Simon Wright, Academic Registrar and the head of Cardiff University’s Academic and Student Support Services (AcSSS). Another department within the service (Libraries) was already taking part and we were encouraged to get involved to interrogate all aspects of our customer service and explore ways to continuously improve standards. We are now in our fifth year of work with the CSE Standard and have experienced benefits both within the team and with our external customers.  Excellent customer service is now at the core of every piece of work we do.   We hold many team meetings throughout the year to discuss customer experiences and expectations and ensure we have opportunities to constantly monitor and reflect on the services we provide.

The Approach to achieving the Standard

We work throughout the year to gather evidence towards the assessment, and we are also regular attendees at the CSE network and chat events.

We produce a detailed quarterly report with input from each team member, which we then use as a starting point for preparing the annual assessment. The whole team meets on a quarterly basis to discuss the content of these reports and to share insights, experiences, and good practice. This process is incredibly valuable to make sure that all colleagues feel empowered to make changes or improvements to maintain an excellent level of customer service. 

As the assessment period draws nearer, we use the quarterly reports as a catalyst to complete the self-assessment tool and fill in the submission. We also hold further team meetings to review each standard and ensure that we include examples from every area of our service.

In 2021, we were very ambitious in our approach, aiming for 8 additional Compliance Plus standards and we were delighted to achieve 6 of these, bringing our total to 21.

The Impact / Benefits of working with the Customer Service Excellence Standard

As a team, the fact that we work to a framework that examines every aspect of our service in such detail means that we are confident we’re providing an excellent standard of customer service. We have achieved great results in our annual assessments, and in 2021 we also won the CSE award for Maintaining a Customer Focused Organisation. This is empowering and promotes confidence and pride within the team.

Because we look so closely at each of our customer groups and how to improve our service in each case, we believe our customers receive a very high standard of care. Customers may be our internal colleagues, delegates booking onto a training course, or a business/organisation looking for a professional development activity. They have different requirements and expectations and working towards the CSE framework helps us to see each distinct group and how we can best work with them.

We have also found benchmarking to be a very interesting experience – we have been approached by several Universities looking to expand or develop their CPD offering. We have discussed what we do and how CPD sits within the university structure, as well as more specific aspects of our service. This process is not only valuable in terms of ensuring our standards are high, but it also reminds us as a team that we have worked hard to establish our department and our standards of customer care, and the department is a leader in this field.

The Assessment Feedback

In a recent customer service assessment, feedback collection was identified as an area for continuous improvement. In response, we are exploring ways to better evidence the current monitoring and feedback collection processes within the team as well as next steps for feedback collection. This will include how the customer journey is impacted by feedback collection/monitoring and being able to evidence the impact of our professional development service more effectively.

Another suggested area for improvement was to communicate with customers on our successes and improvements. We now regularly create social media posts such as ‘You said, we did’ graphics to show how we’re listening to our customers. We also publish an annual report, providing a detailed update on every aspect of our service, and we also publish infographics to share results following large-scale programmes such as our free online CPD programmes.

Why did you choose Assessment Services as your assessment body?

There was an existing relationship within Cardiff University, and we were encouraged to join the scheme on this basis.

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