Customer service training in the public sector
Public service organisations are working in one of the most testing periods in their entire history. Many parts of the public sector, including local government, remain under acute financial pressure and further austerity measures – including welfare benefit reforms and cuts to budgets – are expected for the foreseeable future. This is exacerbated by demographic changes, high public expectations and transformations to parts of the public sector by central government. The current climate is challenging for residents, businesses and the public sector as a whole. To continue to live with reducing finances into the future, public sector bodies and their partners have to deliver substantial savings whilst protecting frontline services.
However, it is also a time of possibility for such organisations, their partners and communities. The government’s professed commitment to localism and devolution of power provides a number of opportunities to be more innovative, such as restoring public health responsibilities, increasing flexibility in the way local government can use its resources, and fostering an emerging voluntary and community sector (VCSE) that is increasingly taking on public service work and the devolvement of funding from Central Government.
Public services want to achieve the best possible outcomes for their customers – residents, service users, colleagues, councillors and partner organisations. The shape of future services must be sustainable, successful and achieve the best outcomes and value for money for all customers. Organisations are turning to residents and customers to effect changes that will improve their lives and their local areas. Customer-centric service delivery now drives service provision from the perspective of the user, not the provider.
This is a huge change – and challenge. Individuals and teams need to be more customer-focused and organisations need to improve their understanding of customer needs and values if they are to deliver high quality, value for money services. Employees need to be empowered to do the things they need to if they are to resolve issues with customers against the backdrop of reduction in service costs and improving satisfaction with services. Line and team managers need to recognise the importance of, and have the skills for, managing and motivating their teams to be more customer-focused. Commissioning services need to be based on customer needs and to demonstrate social value, and elected members and leaders must be role models and promoters of a customer-focused culture. This shapes the professional development needs of the workforce and creates the need for training and developing staff to deliver great customer service as part of the day job, not an optional extra.
Our thanks to Amanda for writing this page.
Amanda is our practice lead for the public sector. Her clients in this area include the Ministry of Justice as well as a range of local authorities, primarily in London and the South-East, such as Buckinghamshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Wycombe District Council, Haringey Council, Greenwich Council, Newham Council, Essex County Council, Northampton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Craven District Council, Derbyshire County Council, Surrey County Council, etc, etc.
Some of our other trainers are also very experienced in the public sector, including Melanie in Manchester (whose clients include Department of Work and Pensions, Health & Safety Executive, MANCAT, Tameside Borough Council, Stockport Advice Service, Irish Health and Safety Authority, Manchester City Council, Salford City Council, Ministry of Defence, Manchester Libraries, Trafford Borough Council, etc, etc) and Jocelyn in Southampton (Surrey County Council, HM Treasury, Hertfordshire County Council, South Derbyshire District Council).
If you’d like a chat with any of our trainers to discuss your customer service training requirements, do please give us a call on 01582 714285 and we’d be delighted to arrange it for you.