Abstracts: August 25th, 2005

This Guide from the Improvement and Development Agency looks at the fundamentals of customer service. It explores the options for customers to contact a council from enquiries being dealt with by someone responsible for a service, to the use of a single point of access to all services, through to joint enquiry centres dealing with calls about district and county council issues. It also deals with the various methods of measuring customer satisfaction. There is a warning that sample surveys and questionnaires can be unrepresentative because they will include some people who do not use services.The Guide concludes with a look local government culture. It stresses that thinking of the people councils serve as residents or council tax payers is not helpful in raising standards of service. Council officers working on the front-line need to think of the people they deal with as customers. Although people who use council services cannot walk away and take their business elsewhere, they need to be treated as if they can do so.

The Guide is available at: http://www.idea-knowledge.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=959275