The first councils have now signed up to the new national customer service standard launched earlier this year by the Institute of Customer Service. The Institute’s ServiceMark helps to put people at the heart of town hall, education and health strategies.
A key feature of the standard is that the ‘voice of the customer’ plays a significant role in the accreditation process. The Institute provides an online diagnostic tool to allow organisations to make a self assessment. Customer feedback is obtained through the Institute’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index or the organisations’ own customer satisfaction measurement. Finally there is an independent assessment by a third-party assessor.
Many organisations have applied for ServiceMark accreditation, because it helps councils and other public sector bodies to identify where improvements are needed, develop action plans for customer service and raise performance and delivery standards. Organisations that achieve accreditation can display the distinguishing mark of service from the Institute – the professional body for customer service.
The first councils to achieve accreditation were East Riding of Yorkshire and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough. Tom Davies, citizen engagement manager at Sandwell said: “The ServiceMark process has been hugely beneficial in highlighting not only areas for improvement, but also telling us where we are doing well. The real benefit is the holistic view it takes of the organisation”.