Excellent customer experience is increasingly seen as the top priority for businesses, and many local authorities are making it an integral part of their day to day work.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and Amey have just published a toolkit to make this job much easier.
The Customer Experience Toolkit for Place Leaders has been developed through ADEPT’s Excellence in Place Leadership (EiPL) programme, run in partnership with Amey.
Customer Centric Place Services was one of four key sessions in the EiPL programme, and was designed to both challenge and assess the view that public sector customer services lag behind the private sector. It asked how place leaders could ‘emulate the very best in customer centric engagement, service design and delivery?’
The latest Local Government Association survey into public satisfaction with local authority services found a general improvement during 2020, but the rates were lower for some key place services, particularly highways.1 The toolkit has been created to address that challenge, highlighting best practice and examples of customer service across the public and private sector.
Designed specifically for place services, the toolkit provides a roadmap to improve the customer experience. It includes planning tools, templates, case studies and checklists alongside discussion on the values behind transformation.
The toolkit takes place leaders through the essentials of providing a better customer experience, including customer journey mapping, bringing values to life, empowering employees, using data to drive transformation and enabling cultural change.
ADEPT’s thought leadership programme brings together thought leaders and influencers from local authorities, corporate partners and the wider ADEPT membership to examine key issues and opportunities affecting the place sector.
Nigel Riglar, President of ADEPT, said: “Place directors work incredibly hard to support their local communities through the delivery of day to day services. I think, particularly in 2020, this has been increasingly recognised by the public. However, we all need to constantly review and improve our services and looking from the perspective of our customers gives us a different outlook on how to do that.
“The EiPL programme has sparked debate and importantly, practical outcomes for place directors to use when shaping and delivering services. It has provided the space to consider new ideas, innovate and think differently about the real life challenges we face daily.
“The experience has been so positive overall, that ADEPT and Amey have recently restarted the programme with a new group of thought leaders. I look forward to the new directions for place that will emerge from these sessions.”
David Ogden, Business Director at Amey, said: “The EiPL cohort select each theme covered on the programme, so topics stay fresh and tackle current issues. They highlighted the difficulty in balancing managing customer expectations and offering leading customer experience, especially when there are many other conflicting priorities to address at the same time.
“The challenge can be daunting. Other industries react at different paces, setting a new level of customer expectation for place leaders to respond to, as well as get ahead of. The customer experience toolkit was created to break down the challenge into manageable segments and support step-by-step changes.
“We’ve enjoyed building the EiPL programme with place leaders and ADEPT, and look forward to working with the second cohort to prompt new thinking and produce outputs which support all place leaders.”
1 Polling on resident satisfaction with councils: Round 26 (June 2020): https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/FINAL%20Resident%20Satisfaction%20Polling%20Round%2026.pdf