Information Services were first accredited with the Customer Services Excellence (CSE) award in 2011. In April 2015 we underwent a full re-assessment and are delighted that the award has been renewed for a further 3 years.
We are the only department at Staffordshire University to be awarded the CSE standard, and one of a small number of converged Library and IT services within UK universities to hold the award.
About the award
Customer Service Excellence is a government backed industry standard that assesses in depth those areas of service which have been identified as being a priority to customers. This includes service delivery, timeliness, information, professionalism and staff attitude. It assesses the services we provide against 57 different elements - looking at whether the services are efficient, effective, excellent and equitable. There is a particular emphasis on developing customer insight, understanding the experience of all users and having robust measures of service satisfaction.
Achieving the standard gives us formal recognition of our commitment to, and delivery of, customer service. This helps confirm to current students and staff the quality of the service they receive, as well as helping re-assure potential students about the support they will receive should they come to Staffordshire University.
For more information see: Customer Service Excellence website
The Service has embraced social media to better engage and communicate with their customers. There were many examples to demonstrate that service provision and methods of delivery have been developed or improved as a result of this customer insight.
In preparation for the assessment we collated evidence from across all teams in the service. There was a lot of information we were able to supply! We provided 70 pieces of evidence and had many more in reserve. We had so many good examples to share that we were in danger of overloading the assessor!
Gathering this evidence provided us with the opportunity to reflect on the improvements we have made over the four years since our first assessment as well as to look at any areas where we felt we could do even better. Some of the major areas we identified as having changed since the last assessment include:
Undertaking a range of activities to engage with our customers and finding innovative ways of doing this
Understanding more about our customers and tailoring services to meet requirements
Telling our customers what we have changed and developed as a result of their feedback
Improving our spaces to meet differing needs of our customers by implementing zones for different types of study
Implementing student rovers and text messaging services to provide support during 24/7 opening hours
Improving our engagement with staff customers
The assessment also involved the assessor visiting to meet with IS staff to discuss the evidence in more detail. The visit also allowed staff and students from across the University to give their opinion on the services they receive.
The assessor was particularly impressed by the comments he received from students as he walked around our buildings – everyone had a good story to tell and were very complimentary about the services provided.
Staff are very positive in their approach and respond to high levels of empowerment and trust to deliver good customer care in all circumstances. Their approach to service delivery is characterised by excellent team work and a high degree of consistency.
The Service has clearly identified and removed many of the potential barriers that could impede a student’s study and qualification outcomes.
We were delighted that the full results showed that we have almost full compliance with the standard and only three areas of partial compliance - this means there are a few more improvements we could make in these areas.
We were particularly commended on:
Our service catalogue and “promises”
Our variety of mechanisms to reach our customers both to market our services and also to provide feedback
Our commitment throughout the service to put the customer at the heart of what we do and to recognise our staff for this by way of Customer Service awards
In 2016 we had a follow-up assessment which we achieved as a joint service. In 2017, IT and Library were split and the Library submitted a portfolio of evidence on their own. This was successful and we have retained the accreditation for a further 12 months. In 2018 the Library will have a full assessment and we are working towards this now.
We will continue to assess and review all of our services to ensure we maintain the current standard of service delivery. We will also continue to liaise with all customers and take on board any comments, complaints or suggestions for new or improved services. So if you have suggestions for ways we could improve our services please let us know!
If you would like to know more about the process of gaining Customer Service Excellence, please get in touch and we will be happy to talk about our experiences.
Contact:Janet Weaver, Head of Library.