We are delighted to have been awarded the Customer Services Excellence (CSE) award for a further three years following a full re-assessment in April 2018, this time gaining the additional honour of achieving Compliance Plus accreditation in two areas - one for outreach and one for accessibility.
The Library were first accredited with the CSE in 2011, as part of Infomation Services, with a full re-assessment in 2015 when we gained another three years accreditation.
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
In preparation for the assessment we collated evidence from across all teams in the Library. There was a lot of information we were able to supply. 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 since our last 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
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 Library 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 from the Library.
The assessor was particularly impressed by the comments he received from students and academic staff who recognise and appreciate the range and benefits of the services being provided, and expressed high levels of satisfaction with the quality of customer service.
We were delighted that the full results showed that we have full compliance with the standard, and particularly the two Compliance Plus areas. Compliance Plus means that we have surpassed the level that must be achieved in all areas to get the award and reached a higher standard in the areas of outreach and accessibility.
There were just three areas of Partial Compliance, and these were mainly where we have some new procedures, and so the evidence does not fully cover performance against all the standards.
The Assessor identified four particular strengths:
"The Library engages effectively with students and academic staff and through this process has developed an in-depth understanding of their needs."
"The Library management team ... positively advocate the customer focused approach and encourage staff to be actively involved in the shaping of service delivery."
"Library staff are clearly committed to providing high levels of customer service. They are very positive in their approach and respond to high levels of empowerment and trust to deliver good customer care in all circumstances"
A Partnership approach to service delivery
"The service works well with the University’s Academic Schools, Health Trusts and local schools to offer coordinated services that bring demonstrable benefits to their customers."
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.