Customer Care - A new corporate priority

Winchester City Council's Cabinet is being asked to approve the principle of a Customer Service Centre to help the authority deliver one its key priorities: improving the quality and responsiveness of its customer care.

Plans are being proposed to create a dedicated Customer Service Centre to offer a single point of contact for all city council enquiries, to not only improve the service we give to customers but also the reduce the time and the cost of the process.

If approved the Centre would result in some significant changes to the way the council handles customer communication. The Centre would be responsible for dealing with telephone, email and personal enquiries from customers. It is expected that about 80 percent of all enquiries to the Council will be handled through the Centre.

The Centre will consist of three parts: reception counters, to meet, greet and direct people, a telephone contact centre to take most incoming calls and certain emails, and service desks for personal callers to be seen by staff.

The proposed Customer Service Centre would be the first part of a programme of improvement, designed to make the Council and its services more readily accessible to all of our communities.

The overall aims of the project are to provide:

  • a better service to the public
  • a service at the first point of call wherever possible
  • a service delivered from one level without the need for customers to find reception points in different parts of the buildings
  • a service where the member of staff comes to the customer in most cases
  • a more efficient service that will generate savings in the long term

The development of the Centre would mean that the nature of some council jobs would change as the new roles are created.

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources, said, "the idea of a dedicated Customer Service Centre is vital in improving the level of customer service that we deliver. It will also help to give greater access for the public to on-line information and facilities.

The implementation would take place over a period of time, with the services most used by the public being the first to be transferred to the Centre, to help see the biggest difference in service levels for the customer", she added.