The strategic partnership between Capita and Sheffield City Council has been awarded a government-endorsed Customer Service Excellence certification for its achievements in serving the citizens of Sheffield. This acknowledgement comes only a year after the revenues and benefits team began operating, with a firm commitment to providing a higher and more effective level of customer service to local citizens.
Since its inception, the revenues and benefits team has focused on enhancing the customer experience by improving specific areas of service such as raising the awareness of the availability of housing and council tax benefits. As a result customers have claimed an extra £1.1m to which they were entitled. Aspects such as response times for answering calls in 20 seconds has improved dramatically from 68 per cent to 84 per cent and the number of abandoned calls have reduced from five per cent to two per cent.
Terry Boynes, partnership director for Capita, said: “This certification is a great accolade for the team and proof that our investment in service innovations and training is already paying off. More importantly, it is acknowledgment that all our effort over the past year is working for local citizens who are able to reap the benefits. We are extremely proud of this achievement and over the course of our partnership with Sheffield City Council we will continue to look at ways to ensure we exceed citizens’ expectations.”
Andy Dolling, Assistant Director of Finance (Shared Services) from Sheffield City Council said: “We would like to congratulate Capita in achieving this award as this shows its commitment to putting customers at the heart of delivering a service. Over the past 15 months Capita has shared and actively participated in delivering the Council's vision for a customer-focused revenues and benefits service. This certification means that this service has now joined the rest of the Council in obtaining Customer Service Excellence.
The certification is a government initiative that aims to improve customer service for the public by encouraging organisations to focus on the individual needs and preferences of citizens. The successful assessment took place in January 2010 when customer service operations were measured against five criteria – customer insight, timeliness and quality of service, information and access, culture of the organisation and delivery.*
The Customer Service Excellence Assessor, Catherine Botting, commented: “We were so impressed by the quality and range of service innovations that we would like to recommend a best practice case study is developed on the operation’s transformational activity. This will serve as an example to other organisations also striving to deliver the best possible service for their customers.”
Service innovations at Capita and Sheffield City Council include:
- increasing the size of the visiting team that is tasked with visiting customers at home who have trouble getting to First Point, the Council’s one-stop-shop, or a local area office
- floor walkers with mobile phones put in place at First Point to enable simple enquiries to be dealt with on the spot and save customers from waiting for an advisor
- additional investment in training which resulted in many members of staff successfully completed their NVQ in Customer Service in 2009.