Page 5: Performance standards
The Strategic Distribution Review showed that customer service and sales must work hand-in-hand. Therefore as emphasis within the organisation changes towards a more pro-active approach to doing business, with greater emphasis upon sales, it was important for Northern Rock to ensure that changes followed their Quality Every Day standards. After all, branch staff at Northern Rock are the Society’s ambassadors and it is only through the way they work that Northern Rock retains and attracts new customers.
Performance standards were designed by branch staff with the aim of meeting the expectations of customers. Each standard has an objective which is customer driven, with performance criteria for staff to achieve in order to satisfy customer needs. They are divided into four main categories:
- Environment - branch cleanliness, tidiness, comfort, etc.
- Relationships - attitude, appearance, enthusiasm, etc.
- Knowledge/Skill - communication, procedures, products, etc.
- Telephone Issues – telephone manner, response to queries, holding, call back, etc.
In 1993 Northern Rock introduced the shopping surveys initiative, whereby customers would visit or phone branches at random to assess the level of service they received. During each telephone call or visit each branch was marked according to a list of strict quality criteria. Following each of the visits, staff were given the results and could identify areas for improvement as the year progressed.
The results were dramatic. By providing better ways of improving service quality through its departments and branches, using training and development, Northern Rock has established a better platform from which sales can develop.