Residents join up with Council staff to improve customer service

Published: Monday 21 November 2022

A group of residents recently came together to co-design a new set of service standards for the Council in a bid to help us on our journey to improve customer care.
This group have committed to giving up their time over the next few months to work with us on creating standards which will ensure residents know what to expect when they contact us and ensure they receive the best possible service.
This piece of work is part of our wider Customer Access Programme which is looking at improving residents’ experiences with the Council whether that be online, face to face or over the phone. 
Edward Quan, who has lived in the borough for 47 years, joined the User Group because he is passionate about affecting change at the Council. After reading about the User Group in one of our enewsletters he thought he’d sign up.
Edward said: “ My experience with the Council has been limited but it’s mostly been via email. The contact I’ve had feels very scripted and not personal. The Council needs to acknowledge residents when they email in, we shouldn’t have to wait to see if our email is being dealt with and we should receive regular updates on our query. We understand that it may take time to resolve it but just keep us updated.”
After the meeting Edward added: “I really didn’t know what to expect so I was here to find out more. I found it very useful and there was a great deal of conversation among the group. Most organisations just set their service standards without resident involvement so this is going to be an interesting experience and I’m keen to see what the fruits of our labour will be.”
Local resident Ekanem Peers said: “It’s very easy to say the Council is not doing enough or I’m not getting what I want but then if they don’t hear back from people who use the services then you can’t really blame them. From the sessions I’m hoping our feelings are taken on board. It is really important the Council knows what the residents want and the residents know what the Council can do as a result.”

Visual minutes of services standards meeting

Some of the main talking points from the discussion which was facilitated by Michael Ashe, Chief Executive of Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea, were:

  • Staff taking the time to care
  • Staff owning the problem, not passing it on
  • Staff using out of office messages on when on holiday and directing to someone who can help
  • Early acknowledgement from staff when residents contact the Council

Demir Timuray was our youngest resident to join the group aged 20. He said: “I’m a student studying social policy and politics and I wanted to represent the voice of the youth and contribute to my community. It is significantly important for the Council to ask for the views of its residents. Once involved in the process, we know how the policies are set for us and how we are being  impacted so we can contribute. It sends out a message to all residents in the borough they are being listened to. “
Cllr Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member of Finance and Customer Delivery said: “Customer experience is an emerging priority for the Council and already a key part of our culture change programme. This co-design approach to developing new service standards is building on the work already underway across the Council to improve customer care. It’s important that our residents who use our services have a role in determining what our new service standards look like and how they’d like to be informed of their progress. I’m grateful to this group for giving up their time and for their honesty about their experiences with the Council and how we could improve upon them.”