Posted: Tuesday 3rd October 2017
This week is National Customer Service Week (2 – 6 October) and to celebrate we are helping to raise awareness of the vital role customer service plays across the organisation. Hertfordshire County Council’s customer service advisors are trained in a number of different services, and calls are automatically directed to those with the relevant skills.
Georgia is one of the hard-working customer service advisors who joined the Stevenage based centre as an Apprentice in April 2015. After completing her qualification, she successfully secured a permanent job within the CSC team and is now a fully qualified member of staff. Georgia said, “I am now trained in dealing with Highways Enquiries, Adult Care Services, applications for a Blue Badge, Fire, Waste & General Enquiries and handling any calls that come through on our switchboard line.”
Hertfordshire CSC employs 100 people to handle over 3000 calls and 1,300 emails every day.
Describing a typical working day at the customer service centre, she said, “My shift started at 8:00am this morning. I logged into the telephone system ready to take calls, although we were fairly quiet this morning so I was able to catch up on some paperwork for our Blue Badge service.
“By 9am the calls really started to pick up so I put all my paperwork to one side and made myself available to help customers. In between calls I supported my colleagues with Blue Badge enquiries as our Team Expert is on leave today. I really enjoy this aspect of the work as I have gained lots of experience in the Blue Badge service.”
CSC issues over 19,000 Blue Badges and deals with over 22,000 Highways letters and emails.
As the phone lines get busier, Georgia is back to taking calls, most of them are related to Adult Care Services from customers and professionals making referrals for serious cases. She was also busy with the Blue Badge service, taking payments, supporting new applicants and issuing replacement badges.
Georgia said: “I spoke to a customer who was distressed that she had not received her blue badge. I checked the details and unfortunately we did not have her photograph, although we had written to the customer requesting it. As a result we had been unable to issue the badge. I asked the customer if she could email the photograph to me straight away. Fortunately, she was able to do this and I spoke with our assessor and got the application processed. I called the customer back once it was all completed, took the payment from her there and then and the badge was issued without delay.
“I enjoy this part of the job as I was able to action the customer’s request straight away and really made a difference. This makes my job so rewarding.”
In the first 6 months of the year the CSC received just 15 complaints and 1851 compliments.
After a lunchbreak, the Performance Team assign Georgia to work on the Blue Badge applications; her first task was to train one of the newer members of the team. She said, “I started working with the trainee on how to deal with the more straightforward emails. We had over 100 to respond to and worked closely together to clear them down. I enjoy training my colleagues and hope to continue doing so in the future.”
By 2pm the centre has got busy again and Georgia is back to taking calls. She said, “I agreed with the Performance Team I would continue to work on the Blue Badge Service in between call peaks. I managed to check all the incoming documents, ensuring the customers had provided the necessary evidence to support their Blue Badge application.
“I finish work at 4pm and I should be on my way home now, but have agreed to stay another hour to make sure everything is up to date before I leave. Another successful day at the CSC!”