Operational delivery professionals are the front line of government, dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis. Whether it is helping people understand services, checking whether people are genuine, tackling criminal activity or protecting the public, you are interacting with people.
In my current role as a Universal Credit Work Coach at Department of work and pension I need to deal with many different customers on daily basis. Following are the main two External and Internal customer I have contact with on day to day basis.
Internal Customers – Employment Adviser is one of the customers within our department with whom I have regular interactions. I liaise with them on a daily basis to find out suitable vacancies or right sort of provisions for my claimant. I will keep in touch with them by using various communication channels like Emails, One to one discussion and participating in Local Labor market events Like Job Fair, Job screening. recruitment events. It also helps me to increase my knowledge of Labour market Intelligent and bring my claimant closer to labour Market.
I also received the regular constructive feedback from the referral via Oracle from the EA’S. That enables me to review the Commitment and provide the suitable support to the Claimant. Also, discussing my claimant’s needs helps them to build relationships with specific employers to influence and create opportunities that meet employers’ recruitment needs and increase the chances of claimants gaining, or moving closer to, work.
External Customers – Claimants are external customers with whom I have daily interactions.
No matter how I interact with customers, in order to offer the very best service, I need to understand them. Understanding what claimant’s need, not what they say they want, improves customer experience and results in a more efficient service. When dealing with claimants the most important factor is to listen to them and find out what their expectations, needs and requirements are which in turn gives me a chance to come up with a claimant commitment tailor made to suit their needs and then work according to it. This will help claimants to prepare for work, find work, and retain work and progress in work.
In order for us to develop and maintain positive customer relationships we should try following a few simple steps.
· Communication – Listening to customers to identify their expectations, needs and requirements help us to offer timely, efficient and suitable solutions. As a work coach, I always use different communication channel to support my vulnerable claimant such as: Big word, Audio, Braille, Emails, Telephone, Face to face, Home visit, Provides Written appointments or referral information if needed.In a Civil Service setting, an example of good customer service could be promising to phone a customer back within a stated time, and keeping that promise.
· Engage with customers – and make them feel valued and comfortable. As a work coach I use every contact with the claimant to focus on work and ensure that they understand their commitment and responsibilities.
· Provide correct information – helps in building trust. In the Civil Service, improving our customer services not only increases customer satisfaction but also saves us time and money. That’s because customers will be supported to get things right and do what they need to do, on time.
· Ask for customer feedback – shows that you value their opinions. It also helps us to improve our performance. Customer feedback helps you hone your customers’ specific needs so you can find the best solutions to their problems. The better your offering meets their needs, the more your business will grow. Example We have introduce Upfront Childcare cost to support people in work and sustain their work and Flexible support fund for Travel expenses and clothing for the interview to remove barrier to secure employment.
2) Information, advice and guidance, support, technical information or signposting
Include two advantages and disadvantages for any three of the above methods in the chapter, using examples where appropriate.
1 Information (1)By providing correct information Work coach can manage claimant expectations, for example by giving timescales to take an action.
(2)It also helps to avoid unnecessary repeat contact.
2 Advice and Guidance Advice, e.g. providing an immediate response to the needs of claimant, claimant who have an enquiry that requires more than a straightforward information response and can include signposting.
· Guidance, e.g. an in-depth interview or other activity carried out by a Work coach that helps claimants to explore a range of options, in order to make decisions about their career and move them closer to work.
3 signposting In order to meet the needs of a client, an organisation may have to signpost or refer them, this benefits the client by:
· Giving them access to the expert knowledge and skills from an adviser trained specifically to deal with their particular issue or problem. Example : Work and Health Programme
· Some clients might not have the skills or facilities to make their own appointments or find the right information, due to learning or language difficulties, disability or illness or lack of finances, housing, a telephone or computer, or transport. (1)Disadvantage could also be that anyone you signpost will simply have to ‘slot in’ with whatever training is available. For individuals or groups with more complex needs, it may be better to develop a more tailored training package, either through building partnerships and consortia, through subcontracting, or even delivering provision yourself.
(2) The downside is that, as an organisation, you won’t be able to keep track of anyone’s progress independently. It will be an informal arrangement to undertake training. If you refer, you make the referral on an individual’s behalf, and they may be more likely to agree to have any training outcome monitored, should this be necessary.
3 How organisational change can affect delivery of customer service.
· Give one example of a strategic change and one example of an operational change in your area of work. If there are no examples from your area of work, state changes that may happen in the future.
· Example of a strategic change in our area of work: Launch of Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a benefit, which combines in and out of work benefits whilst supporting employed claimants with childcare and housing costs. Universal Credit has replaced Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. Universal Credit will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. Universal Credit is completely digital system by which Customers can contact their work coach or case manager 24/7- 365 days a year through the online journaling. Customers can report changes online as opposed to form filling and delays in processing. The service it’s self is available 24/7 and 365 days within the year.
· Example of an operational change in our area of work: Introduction of Employee Deal. It incorporates new terms of employment into the contracts of employment for all employees of DWP in grades Admin Assistant (AA) to Higher Executive Officer (HEO), inclusive. This is to have colleagues available to serve customers and meet changing customer demand.
· Analyze the effect this change may have on customer service.
Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) is an interactive service, which claimants (customers) and staff (employees) use to build and maintain accounts for Universal Credit. The effect this change as on customer service is it allows a better communication medium between the work coach, customer and case managers. Messaging is instant and actions can be completed immediately or the most applicable time in the date. The customer’s journey back to work is first getting a job, applying for a better job and then working towards their careers. UCFS will work on mobile devices as well as on a desktop computer, making it easier for claimants to access the service in a way that suits them. The service is available to all claimant types, for example: singles, couples, families, and people out of work, people in work, self-employed, people who are sick and carers. Claimants apply directly on line to register and create an account and are able to maintain their account themselves, including any changes in circumstances. UCFS has the added benefit where Claimants can use GOV.UK to verify their identity.
As Universal Credit caters for not employed, employed and self-employed claimants, it is imperative that they have the facility to contact job Centre staff out of the regular working hours. Hence, the employee deal was introduced to improve customer service where there will be a bigger operating window from the traditional 9am to 5pm start and finish times to where employees will be starting work on a shift basis at 7:45am and finish at 6:30pm. This will allow the organisation to service a wider range of claimants that we now cater for with our service.
Briefly evaluate ways to maintain customer service during organisational change.
How the district have maintained customer services during oganisational change is having a team of experienced staff, backfilling offices whilst teams have attended training in preparation for universal credit roll-out. As the new benefit (Universal Credit) began to be rolled out gradually to Job center plus staffs were sent on training courses to up skill themselves with the new benefit. As a result the “legacy” benefits (Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance) were short staffed. A legacy “Back Fill Team” was created comprising of a group of existing staff to provide direct support to the legacy team. A team of Work Coaches will visit a particular site where the regular staff has gone for UC training. The Back Fill team fills in the gap in order to reduce inconveniencing the claimant and also to relieve workload from the remaining staff.
4 Customer service champions
Customer service champions in our area of the business is usually the front of house manager.They are the voice of the customer and one of their main duties is to deal with repeated customer service issues. Being the voice of the customer they are duty bound to ensure repeated complaints are discussed and effective solutions are sought to reduce these on sight. They take these issues and complaints to leadership meetings for discussion and finding ways of reducing them. They are eliciting customer insight, through focus groups and customer surveys. The most important aspect of their role is diffusing difficult situations at the front of house operations.
· Briefly describe the importance of demonstrating outstanding customer service.
Outstanding customer service is about understanding the needs of different customers, keeping promises and delivering consistently high standards.
Improves public image / Good Press: A good customer service can generate excellent word of mouth. When you give outstanding customer service, your customers talk about you to others. They tend to do so even more when they have been receiving good quality service over a period of time. These references enhance the department’s reputation. This in turn improves public image and leads o Good press.
Provides value – Great customer service programs should focus on treating customers well, answering questions, and exceeding their expectations. This approach helps the Department to engage claimant and build strong relationships.
Better Work Environment: A department that provides consistently exceptional customer service doesn’t just benefit claimants it also has a positive effect on the employees. For instance, having happy customers makes for happy employees. No one wants to deal with hostile customers because their attitude will rub off on the people around them. In addition, employees empowered to go out of their way to deliver and actually do deliver above-and-beyond experiences for their customers feel better about themselves and the job they do. This can have a transformative effect on one’s job satisfaction.
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