Page 5: Values
A survey of the views of all employees was also undertaken to collect their thoughts on customer service. It also sought views on how staff felt about working for Yorkshire Electricity. This helped the Directors develop a series of ‘Values and Behaviours’ statements, which would be used to describe how everyone should work to help improve customer service in the future. In particular, it set out the six key success factors critical to achieving Yorkshire Electricity’s mission. These are:
Training and developing people to provide customer service. Yorkshire Electricity then organised a series of Customer Awareness Events to explain its mission and objectives to all staff and to seek their views as to how it could help improve customer service. These were organised as cross-functional events to discuss the overall objectives for the company, but smaller events involving work teams will help to focus more directly on the ways in which individuals and their workgroups can help to improve performance.
Yorkshire Electricity recognised that to ask staff to deliver better customer services without offering help to staff dealing with customers would not produce results. Training courses were arranged across a range of areas focusing upon the skills that really make a difference to delivering the best service for customers. This training covers not only people skills in the management of teams, but also includes core skills such as letter-writing and telephone answering, designed to ensure a very consistent approach when dealing with customers.
Phase 3 - Acheiving the benefits
Having asked customers what they want, measured current standards and set targets for new standards of customer service, Yorkshire Electricity then started to look at key areas that customers identified as needing improvement and set in motion plans for improvement. These so called 'workstreams' included the development of customer skills training courses for over 300 managers and designing and implementing more customer focused business processes.
Implementation - this is a crucial phase which has a long time yet to run. It will bring together all the months of careful planning, research and development needed to deliver the improved levels of service. However, 'quick wins' do occur, such as a greater awareness of all staff of the need to handle customers positively and listen carefully to what they say and want. In the area of customer service some improvements do not happen overnight and it may be some time before Yorkshire Electricity sees the results of some of the background work that has taken place.