Why did Oxford City Council choose Customer Service Excellence?

Why did you wish to continue with the Customer Service Excellence Standard?

To use an external organisation to benchmark our services against a recognised framework
of criteria so we can understand those areas where we excel and those areas where we
need to make some improvements

  • Links in to our Citizen Experience Strategy which includes Thriving Communities, EDI,
    Economic Strategy and Digital Inclusion
  • To be recognised by our customers and partners as a Council which has customer service at
    the heart of all it does
  • To ensure that customer service excellence is part of our culture across the whole of the

What was your approach to assessment?

We used the self-assessment portal to upload evidence in the form of comments and documents against all the criteria

We worked with our allocated “champions” in all of our service areas responsible for collating and uploading evidence to the portal running sessions to train them on use of the portal

Our Customer Services Team acted as the gatekeepers, checking evidence uploaded was sufficient to meet the standard and suggesting areas that could be classed as “compliance plus”

We asked for a pre-assessment meeting where we could review progress and discuss specific requirements for the 3 day assessment.

We had a combination of remote chats and a day of visits as part of our 3 day assessment which seemed to work well. It was good that the assessor could talk to staff in our community teams, some of our partners and our face to face service at their location of work

What have you experienced as the impact/benefit of the CSE Standard?

When collating evidence and talking to the assessor about customer service initiatives it naturally, focuses staff on the importance of putting the customer at the heart of all we do.

It allows us to showcase some of the great work that is being undertaken across the Council.

It gives us a sense of pride that we are meeting and exceeding the standards set by an externally recognised body.

Able to have a holistic overview of evidence against the criteria before the assessment so were able to follow up on areas that required more evidence.

Helps us identify areas of good practice that could be replicated in other service areas Builds trust with our customers that we are an organisation that provides high standards of customer service.

How did the assessment feedback support you in your continuous improvement?

We will be holding a series of meetings to review the development areas and putting together an action plan to address them. This will link into our Citizens Experience Strategy.

We will be aiming to have made some progress against all of the development areas before the next assessment in November.

Very important to receive feedback on our areas of strength so we can recognise where we do well and can continue to maintain standards in those areas.

We have publicised the results internally and externally via a press release and social media.

How do Assessment Services Ltd compare to other assessment bodies?

The assessment was more comprehensive than our previous supplier’s as the assessors talked to all levels of staff, partners, the chief executive and our customers to get an over-arching view of how the Council operates.

The feedback in particular on development areas has been more specific which will allow us to focus better on making improvements in those areas.

There was no portal to upload evidence with our previous supplier so we had to use our own system to capture the evidence against the criteria. Using the portal was a much more efficient and easier approach.

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