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Focus on Customer Service Excellence

Peter Dennison9 June 2016

In my new role as Head of Customer Service I am responsible for the strategic development and delivery of excellent customer service across UCL Library Services. I lead the Customer Service Teams for the Main and Science Libraries and Evening & Weekend Services and I also work closely with the Head of Site Library Services, the Head of Liaison and Support Services plus the Librarians at IOE and SSEES. My remit also includes Welcome Services, Enquiry Services, ILDS and Store Delivery and Service Operations.

The User Experience KPA of the Library Strategy has a section entitled ‘Partnership with students and other users’. Its goal is to: Deliver public services with consistent excellence and, increasingly, at the point and time of need; raise the satisfaction of BME users with the Library, so that it equals or exceeds overall user satisfaction.

Obtaining the Customer Service Excellence Standard is an objective of the current Library Strategy.

Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is designed to operate on three distinct levels: Picture1
1. As a driver of continuous improvement.
2. As a skills development tool.
3. As an independent validation of achievement.
CSE Standard: Cabinet Office, 2010

We have been fortunate to have a Graduate Trainee (Fiona Whelan) work with us from January to May this year. Fiona’s work culminated in a comprehensive report covering Customer Service Excellence and User Experience in UCL Library Services.

The report details the Customer Service Audit which Fiona carried out at all of our 18 Libraries and during her travels Fiona was able to inform staff about the CSE Standard and ensured that they were involved with this project from the start. She was also able to audit the Library Service against the CSE criteria in order to identify any gaps or problem areas.

A further piece of work which Fiona took forward was the development of a draft Service Charter. This has been shared with Library colleagues across all Library Services sites and feedback has been welcomed and incorporated into subsequent drafts. Focus Groups were run with students to establish perceptions of customer service within UCL Library Services and to obtain feedback on the draft Service Charter. You can find the draft Charter on LibNet and we are still happy to receive feedback on the Service Charter until 1 July after which it will be taken to the next meeting of Library Committee for ratification.

Finally, a small but innovative User Experience (UX) Project has been run utilising ‘speaking boards’ as an alternative method to obtain user feedback. Boards were placed in the Main and Science Libraries and Cruciform Hub asking users what they thought of 24/7 opening in the library. A3 posters were also used at LaSS, IOE, Bartlett and Royal Free for the same purpose. This project had an immediate impact and elicited much feedback – not all related to 24/7 opening! Lessons have been learned from this Project such as the importance of linking the physical boards with social media (eg Twitter polls) and of responding to user feedback via ‘You said….We say’ notice boards.

Fiona’s work has been invaluable in kick-starting our focus on CSE. We are now initiating the project and will seek accreditation in 18 months’ time. In order to maintain momentum the Service Development Group, chaired by Ben Meunier as Assistant Director (Public Services), will become the CSE Steering Group from August with a revamped membership. It is currently proposed that five Task and Finish Groups will be established covering:

• Standards and Policies
• Service Improvement
• Staff
• Performance
• Communication

I would like to thank Fiona Whelan for her inspiring report and also Breege Whiten for supporting Fiona and for her ongoing commitment to Customer Service Excellence.

This is an exciting initiative for the whole of UCL Library Services to be involved in, and it will require input from all parts of the service. I look forward to working with you and to channel the enthusiasm which we have seen from all parts of Library Services around Customer Service Excellence. I will be in touch in the near future with regular updates on our progress.