Page 9: Creating the benefits for members
The Yorkshire approach therefore has been to crystallise the focus on meeting the needs of the members of the mutual organisation. The opposite of this would have been to sell out to shareholders, and a completely new way of operating. The Yorkshire Building Society has been able to benefit from the environment of change in which it operates by responding to this change, identifying the needs and requirements of its members, and then focusing on meeting these requirements.
As a result, it has been possible to create a new mutuality package which places greater emphasis on customer service levels. The Society has backed this gear-change in customer service provision by investing in a completely new Member Relations Department, headed by a Members Relations Manager, a senior management role.
The emphasis is that 'The level of service the Society provides to its customers must be consistent with their status of 'member' rather than of 'consumer" The Society must aim to deliver superior levels of service to its customers than those which they would receive from non-mutual competitors." A number of criteria have, therefore, been established for delivering and maintaining superior levels of service. These are:
- Demanding service standards are put in place.
- Communicating the service standards to staff and customers.
- Regular measurement of performance against the service standards.
- Staff reward mechanisms that recognise attainment of the service standards.
The Society has therefore set in motion a series of plans which will enable it to meet its central value of - 'bringing the benefits of membership to an increasing number of people.'