Customer Care Standards

Customer Service Excellence logo

Delivering customer service we are proud of…

Public sector organisations are facing unprecedented financial constraints; we have to make difficult choices with limited resources. We know that at times this will have an effect on the service levels we are able to deliver.
Even if we cannot always answer customer enquiries as quickly as we would like to, the way we deal with them, and how we explain our decisions can still be something we are proud of, which is why we have developed customer standards which are closely aligned to the government Customer Service Excellence standard.

Our customer service standards

When Customers contact us, by whatever method, we will:

  • be polite, friendly and helpful
  • treat you fairly and respectfully
  • greet you promptly and deal efficiently with your enquiries 
  • tell you how we can help you, how long it will take and how we will keep you informed
  • try to get things right first time, and put them right if they go wrong
  • respect your privacy
  • listen to your ideas, and use your feedback to improve our services

Our premises are:

  • easy to find
  • clean, comfortable and well presented
  • open at the published times

Our services are: 

  • easy for everyone to use
  • well promoted
  • relevant and up to date

Taking a corporate approach to customer care

Although we have a corporate set of customer service standards for the Council, there are instances where specific standards will apply for particular services.

Our Corporate customer standards

We are committed to developing ways of involving our customers in helping to establish standards and continually improve them through consultation, customer feedback, including both compliments and complaints, and surveys.

When you write to us

By letter

We aim to respond to your letter within 10 working days, if your query requires more detailed research we will acknowledge your letter and respond fully to you within 20 working days.

By email, SMS text, YourWinchester smart phone app or our website

We will acknowledge that we have received your messages sent to our published addresses or numbers within 24 hours and aim to reply fully within 10 working days.

If we are experiencing high workloads, or your enquiry requires more detailed research before it can be fully answered the acknowledgement will give an indication of when you can expect to hear from us and will include a contact telephone number if your enquiry is urgent.
We will use language that is easy to read and understand, avoid the use of jargon and explain any complex or technical terms.

Social media

When you contact us using social media like Twitter, Facebook or Google+

Our responses to replies, comments and direct messages depend on the individual service.

Even if we do not reply, we are listening and will act on or pass on your comments as appropriate. In most cases, it will be better to contact the service directly

When you telephone us

Calls to published numbers

We aim to answer calls to our published numbers within 45 seconds.
At busy times your call may be placed in a queue. If the waiting time exceeds 45 seconds we will offer to call you back so you don’t have to wait in the queue.

We will give a name if asked and if we need to transfer the call we will tell you who we are transferring you to and check that they are available before putting the call through.

Calls to individuals

We aim to answer calls to individual officer extensions within 20 seconds.

If the line is engaged, or the officer not available, you will be able to leave a voicemail message. We will check our messages daily and messages will be updated regularly advising when we will be available. We will respond to your voicemail messages within 24 hours, or if we are out of the office, within 24 hours of our return.

Reception facilities

Customers without appointments should wait no longer than 10 minutes to see an officer; if this is not possible our reception team will inform customers of the approximate waiting time and arrange, if it is more convenient, an appointment with an appropriate officer wherever possible.

Reception areas will be well sign posted, clean, tidy and comfortable with provision made for children.

Private interview facilities are available on request. Reception staff will be given specialist training; they will be welcoming and approachable and will deal with our visitors' enquiries as soon as possible.

Visits to customer's home or property

We will make an appointment and keep to it or contact the customer if we are delayed. However, there are some cases when this is not practical or appropriate. We will clearly explain our reasons for visiting. On arrival, we will show an identification card. Wherever possible, we will let the customer know what follow-up action they can expect.


We are looking at ways of making our services easily available to everyone who needs them, improving access to buildings and providing information about our services in a variety of ways.

We offer 24-hour online access; our telephone lines and Customer Service Centre reception are open between 8.30am -5.00pm Monday-Thursday and 8.30am - 4.30pm on Fridays.

Opening times of some of our departments, museums, leisure centres, Tourist information centre, local offices and Guildhall will vary and specific opening times will be displayed and available on our website.

Freedom of information requests

We aim to respond to all formal written requests within 20 working days. Some requests can be complex and will take us this long to provide a response. Straightforward information, or information contained in the Publication Scheme will be provided much more quickly, usually within 10 working days.

Customer satisfaction, feedback, compliments and complaints

We are keen to improve all of our services and welcome customer feedback on how we are doing both when we do things well and on those occasions when we don’t do so well.
To help us to measure customer satisfaction we will carry out regular customer surveys asking customers who have used our services how they found the experience, the results will be used to help us to make improvements to services.

We recognise that things can go wrong and we have procedures to deal with complaints. We will try to deal with complaints on the spot. Otherwise, we will provide a response within 10 working days. We will find an acceptable remedy if at all possible and seek to implement positive suggestions.

Link to requests form

Link to complaints form

Link to compliments form