Livingsta shares her positive experience in business administration, customer service and education.
I am hoping that by now you would have gained some understanding of what is more important for you as an individual, for your team, for the organisation and for the customer in order to deliver good and quality service. This is the second part to the unit, F3 – Mandatory unit from Group A – Demonstrate understanding of customer service.
To have a look at Part 1 of this unit, please follow the link below:
This part of the unit deals with even more sensitive and at times difficult scenarios that some customer service candidates find difficulty in dealing with. Yes, customer service is dealing constantly with the public and it means people from different backgrounds and culture. You cannot afford to be in customer service and choose who you will and will not serve. That is not feasible in this role.
In order to perform your job well, you need to ensure that your communication with the diverse group of customers is effective and efficient. Also, there is never an end to making improvements in service, and hence this needs to be on track. Employees need to make sure that they keep themselves up to date with the policies and procedures of the organisation.
Customer service is highly competitive and hence the organisation needs to make sure that it is keeping up with the competitive pace in the market. By the end of this unit, candidates would be highly skilled in dealing with the important tasks related to customer service thereby showing a high standard in understanding of customer service.
3.11 Give two examples of how you ensure your communication with diverse groups of customers is effective and efficient.
Cultural intelligence is knowledge about culture, awareness about yourself and other and behaviours of yourself and others put together.
- I ensure that I look at people from their point of view rather than mine, so that I know exactly how they feel and what they want. I do not assume things, because everyone thinks differently and so they need to be listened to and understood. What I think of as something normal can be serious for other people. Similar behaviours can mean different for different people. People come from different cultural backgrounds and hence their behaviour can be different. You need to be patient enough to listen and understand what they feel and what they want
- Another important factor is body language. By looking at the behaviour or body language of a person, you can figure out so many things like hesitation, shyness, confrontation etc. So in order to deliver the best customer service, you need to be able to understand the body language of customers and act appropriately.
By these you can ensure effective and efficient customer service, because communication is the vital part of customer service.
Cultural Diversity - Tips for communicating with cultural awareness
3.12 What is the importance of continuous improvement within customer service?
Customers are the vital part of any business, because without them, the business will fail. So in order to keep your customers and attract more customers, you need to keep making improvements, as technologies and other facilities increase. You also need to make sure that you are ahead of your competitors so that customers prefer you above the others. An organisation needs to do all improvements to keep the customers happy.
For example, if we were still dependant on letter as a means of communication, all processes will slow down and not much will be done or completed, but instead to keep up in pace with the modern and fast world, we have to make use of advanced technologies like email and telephone calls to make communications quicker and easier, so that deliveries are made quicker and easier without compromising quality.
Also not all customers would want to walk into the organisation to speak to people regarding their problems, and as a department that deals with older and physically disabled people, they would always want to sit at the comfort of their home and have their problems resolved as quickly as possible. The only way this can be achieved is through modernised technologies and ways of working.
Also when it comes to providing care, there are many technologies called assistive technologies and various other OT equipments that make the life of people easier. So our organisation has to be well aware of that, research through to find out the latest and best for the customers and provide them with the best. That way we constantly keep improving and keep the customers happy and satisfied and they stay with us.
Training on this field is also very important. Customer service staff should be given frequent training and kept updated about all the new features and technologies or provisions in place, so that they can provide the needy customers with appropriate information.
3.13 Describe the key policies and procedures in your organisation for the delivery of services or products. Why is it important you follow these?
According to business directory.com, “Policies are rules, principles and guidelines an organization’s management adopts to reach its long-term goals. Procedures are the steps that employees conduct in day-to-day operations to ensure that, what they do reflects and supports existing policies.”
The policies for an organisation help make important decisions and the procedures when followed will help the employees work effectively and efficiently.
The department I work for is Social care health and housing. We have various policies and procedures that are as follows that come under our directorate
- Aids and adaptations policy
- Carers Policy
- Private sector housing renewal policy
- Housing allocations policy
- Case file audit procedure
- Cooperation between teams protocol
- Supervision policy
- Supervision practise guidance
- Carers guidance
- Charging for Non-residential services
- Eligibility criteria for adult social care policy
- Safeguarding Adults – Multi agency policy and procedures
- Assessment and case management policy
3.14 Describe the differences in how your organisation differs from other organisations in the approach to customer services.
Our organisation wants to ensure that all residents have all opportunities to discover what they wish to do and achieve it with full potential. Our organisation wants its people to live a meaningful life with a purpose for which it introduced a personalisation scheme that would transform people’s lives.
Every client is assessed and reviewed and a support plan is drawn for them, which will have a personalised explanation of their life, their situation, what they have, and what they need to improve their quality of life. It also leans more towards supporting independent living. This support plan is then reviewed to see if this client is eligible for all the requests they have made and depending on the decision of a panel of higher management the service is provided. This applies to both cared for people and carers. This is a kind of self-directed support where personalised budgets are allocated to clients or their carers. These are all achieved by working closely with the partnership organisations like health, housing, leisure etc. This way our organisation aims to maintain a confident, competent and powerful workforce which can provide quality life to people who genuinely require social care.
This transformation was brought into place by redesigning and restructuring the organisation, which meant moving staff to different locations. Job descriptions and person specifications were changed. The numbers of staff working from each location were changed. New trainings were provided where necessary, for staff to have appropriate knowledge and skills to deliver the new service. This meant service changes from the first point of contact which is Customer Services, right down to delivery and reviews. All changes were communicated through documents for staff to go back and refer when necessary. Also changes in services were communicated to all existing customers and carers and other important partners who work with the organisation.
3.15 What other organisations offer similar services or products? What is the service offer of these competitors?
The other organisations that offer similar services and products are (______________) etc. (Please write down your own list; this information has been hidden for confidential reasons)
Some service offers like, cost of care homes are cheaper than what our organisation offers, as a result of which some customers, who are self funding, get their care placement with another local authority or council or organisation. Other services like health services are better when compared to our organisation, in the fact; discharge planning and care after discharge are looked after better than our partnership organisation. The reason might be that we use a shared partnership with our neighbouring boroughs and hence might be the reason for a little bit of inferior service when compared to neighbouring organisations, but they are working on improving all the little defects, in order to provide the best service possible.
3.16 What are the features and benefits of your organisation's services or products? How might these influence customer service delivery / customer satisfaction
The benefits of our organisation are,
- Customers are valued and respected and we have received so many appreciation letters thanking us for the excellent service provided.
- All staff are well trained and they have the knowledge and skills necessary to do their job at their best
- We try our best to provide qualitative services at affordable prices (self funding clients)
- We put the customer first and talk to them, listen to their problems and needs, and provide the best service possible.
- We also provide customers with all the necessary information related to their care, so that they know what they are receiving, and if they have to pay, they will know why they pay, and how much they pay, and how long they will have to pay.
We also constantly take feedback from customers, so that we get to know what more they expect from this organisation and it thus helps us improve and we always thrive to be the best and provide the best services.
3.17 How does your organisation balance its needs with customer expectations and needs?
In order for our organisation to maintain its customers and keep them from moving away to different organisations and in order to attract more customers, we develop and deliver information and advice to customers in such a way that they have all the information available to make the right decisions about what they want, and contact our partnership companies or providers so that they get the best service at the right time at the right price. All details are available on the website of the organisation, and this website is constantly developed and updated with new information, features, easy navigation and user interface. People who do not have access to internet can call customer services, and we post them the relevant information, and if they need to speak to a member of staff in person, there are always workers available in times of emergency to visit them, or through appointments if the visit is not so urgent.
So the social work pathway for the customer, where they receive care, has all the information and advice the customer needs at each stage of their care intake. The organisation also constantly keeps updating the services so that clients benefit from it, and the quality of care keeps improving. The first point of contact is the customer services team where they figure out the needs of the clients by assessing them over the phone and then signposting them to the right department. For example, taking on responsibilities for arranging appointments for Reablement / Occupational Therapy/ reviews, facilitation of self assessment if required by the customer or carer. Also if it is just information and advice, they provide them to customers with the best of their knowledge and contact other departments if they have any queries.
3.18 Justify the ethical and value base of your organisation's approach to customer service.
As all other organisations, our organisation has its policies and procedures to deliver social care for customers. These are available on the internet, still on a draft version for the customers to read.
(Information is hidden for confidential reasons)
- Improving Outcomes for Older People in (________________)
- Joint commissioning strategy for adults with learning disability
- Joint commissioning strategy for mental health services for adults and older people in (___________________)
- Fulfilling and rewarding lives in (_____________), autism strategy for (________________).
These documents will exactly tell the customer, what they are eligible for, what they can expect of us, and how these services will be provided and what will be provided.
The customer will know what to expect of us. We always put customers first, take their arguments and requests as right and deal with it accordingly, we put ourselves into the customer's shoes so that we know exactly what the client needs, and we are always polite and treat everyone equally. We tell customers honestly what we can provide and what they can expect from us. We do not discriminate people on any grounds, and we follow ethical standards and work with high responsibility to achieve excellence.
Identifying Customer Needs
3.19 When improving customer service delivery, how does your behaviour affect the success of any changes to customer expectations and needs?
Improvement of customer service delivery will demand for more hard work and dedication. I do the best I can to help my team.
A few months before, while we were running short of staff, and referrals were piling up on the area trays, I stepped in to help the social workers with their work relating to financial paperwork which I thought I was knowledgeable, skilled enough to do, also side by side maintaining safe practice. That way the workers could concentrate on the social work part of the customers’ queries. Working together as a team, this helped the team and the department come out of emergency / crisis situations. The result is that customers were looked after within the given timeframe and not left without being dealt with.
Another incident I can quote here is the “Operation Saga”, where we had serious concerns with one of our care providers and every client had to be reviewed to check the quality of care they received. To make work simpler, I designed a few spreadsheets with clients who needed review, sorted them by area to be given to each reviewer, then designed another template, with all the important questions that the worker will need to ask the client about the care ( so that way time is saved from not putting much pressure on the social worker thinking where to start and what to ask), and a final spreadsheet where all the data will be collated to compare and decide on the quality of care they were providing. This made the operation easily achievable, saved time, and gave me a great sense of satisfaction of accomplishing something and helping the team and organisation and most importantly the well-being of the clients in time of need. This in turn helped us provide quality care for customers and made them realise that we really care about their well-being and quality of life in the council.
In order to have a look at the first part of this unit, please follow the link below:
I am hoping that this hub has been of some help. Please do not hesitate to share your ideas or experiences through the comments section below.
All the best!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.