The Customer Service Revolution

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1 The Customer Service Revolution A City of Markham Innovation +IPAC Award for Innovative Management Finalist Backgrounder May

2 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION 21 st Century Challenges for the Public Sector Like many Canadian municipalities, the City of Markham is facing the dual challenges of intensifying fiscal pressures and rising citizen expectations for service delivery. In Markham, we use Excellence Canada's Framework for Municipalities to guide our journey toward becoming as efficient and effective as possible while sustaining a balance of satisfied customers and engaged staff. The Customer Service Revolution was developed in the context of a broader exploration of sustainable models for service delivery.

3 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Executive Summary The Customer Service Revolution (CSR) is a customer-centric, staff-driven, holistic program of service improvement and organizational culture shift, designed to meet and align with increasing customer expectations for excellence, responsiveness and efficiency in public service delivery. What started as a staff focus group on a proactive service model evolved into a large scale change project. This project involved dramatically rethinking our vision for customer/public service, shifting away from transactional service delivery toward empowering staff to create exceptional customer experiences by focusing on their interactions. To achieve this transition, the CSR project team (which included numerous staff from all levels of the organization contributing according to their strengths and passions) achieved the following: Replaced our Rules of Conduct with the Customer Service Promise, which better articulates the focus on the customer experience. Developed the Customer Service Philosophy, including three principles of excellent Customer Service: Create the Experience, Build Customer Relationships and Exceed Expectations. Redeveloped and streamlined all customer-facing procedures to reflect this Philosophy.

4 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Staff-Driven Innovation The critical success factor of the CSR project is that it is staff -driven. Rather than being initiated externally or imposed through top-down processes, the Customer Service Revolution engaged front-line staff in developing the standards and philosophy that drove the project. This intense focus on staff engagement has both transformed the look and feel of the service experience we offer, and instilled a sense of personal ownership and accountability for the daily customer experience and related customer service metrics. By engaging staff in co-creating and co-designing all aspects of the innovation project, the CSR has created change on every level consciousness, behaviour, culture and systems.

5 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Change at the Level of Consciousness The Revolution is designed to make change stick. Unlike many change initiatives, it is continuously reinforced through HR practices and the routines of daily operations: Managers and Supervisors keep the Customer Service Revolution in focus by sharing tips at daily shift meetings. Staff have monthly meetings with their managers where they are provided with clear expectations for service behaviours. All new hires attend Orientation to the CSR to explain the standards. The Managers Hot Seat forum lets staff put Managers on the spot by asking them for guidance on the most difficult CS interactions. We share our CS metrics with staff so they know how important CS is to our customers. The Core Competency Dictionary outlines the CS competencies expected for every position they are included in job descriptions and are the basis for interviews and recruitment decision-making.

6 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Change at the Level of Behaviour The CSR Training Strategy is a comprehensive learning program that all staff must complete it includes training on decision making, communication, conflict resolution, positive body language and other important customer service skills. The MPL-Ryerson Customer Service Intensive part of the CSR Training Strategy is an intensive workshop designed in collaboration with Ryerson University staff. All staff receive on the job coaching where a CS Revolutionary Leader provides real time feedback and support for colleagues. Staff are piloting the use of headsets and tablets to enhance communication and bring our services to where the customers are. The CSR Training Manual provides supervisors all they need to ensure new staff get up to speed on the CSR within their probation period.

7 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Change at the Level of Behaviour A project team of 25 staff came together to explore the concept of customer service. Start by becoming the customer what are our expectations from customer service when we re the customer? We are all customers somewhere how can we use this to develop our service? We asked the question, what is good service? Which sounds simple, but there are a lot of assumptions and expectations about what that means to staff and to customers. The group shared stories about the best service they ever got we identified keywords (see below) and made our list of criteria for excellent service.

8 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Change at the Level of Culture The Customer Service Revolution has leveraged a deeper shift in organizational culture: Staff buy-in because they developed the strategy. Staff collaborate to find the best customer service solutions. Staff model service behaviours for each other and create an environment of learning & growth by openly sharing feedback and recognition (Caught Being Awesome recognition program). Staff feel empowered to handle customer issues at the first point of contact. Supervisors and Managers demonstrate visible leadership by being present to support, coach and recognize staff. Staff openly share suggestions and opportunities for CS enhancements.

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10 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Change at the Level of Systems The Customer Service Revolution has transformed the organization at a systemic level: The Customer Service Promise replaces our Rules of Conduct and emphasizes our positive relationship with our Customers. Customer Service Standards are what staff strive to achieve in every service interaction. Customer Service Scorecard outlines expectations for every interaction staff are assessed using this scorecard to address gaps. Recruiting Strategy we have completely redesigned our selection criteria and job descriptions so that every staff we hire is a CS Revolutionary we hire the right people to achieve our vision. CSR Procedures 101 we overhauled all our customer-facing procedures to ensure they lead to the best possible experience for customers, reduce inefficiencies and empower staff. CSR Look & Feel Guidelines ensure staff attend to the details of the service environment and keep our spaces looking great.

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12 THE CUSTOMER PROMISE As our customer, you can expect us to: deliver services tailored to meet your needs offer dynamic service by informed staff who take ownership of every customer interaction acknowledge and respond to your feedback have fair practices and procedures while ensuring accountability to the community provide welcoming spaces We are confident that you will work with us to ensure that all our customers share an outstanding experience. As a customer you will: respect the rights of all customers to share a common space ensure the care and safety of your children To deliver on the customer promise, public sector organizations must build connected government, seamlessly aligning multiple government departments with customer journey needs. The customer promise is part of the inherent agenda of governance for the public sector and sets out the standard of service that the government is required to provide to its customers." Wim Oosterom Global Government Leader PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP The Road Ahead for Public Service Delivery: Delivering on the Customer Promise be courteous and respectful to others follow our practices and procedures We will work with you to provide an outstanding experience.

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14 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Improvements in Customer Satisfaction The Revolution has resulted in improvements in several facets of customer service as measured by our online customer satisfaction survey see chart below. More generally, our overall metric for customer satisfaction the % of survey respondents indicating that they are extremely or very satisfied with their service experience has improved from 38% in 2012 to 49% in 2013, which exceeds our target of 45%.

15 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION Improvements in Staff Satisfaction A recent staff check-in survey asked staff to respond to the question: What excites you about working here? The positive work environment, everyone being helpful to customers and co workers. That it's an encouraging environment that promotes learning. It's a respectful work place and we are trained to be professionals. Helping people find the information they need and putting a smile on their faces. We are focusing on the Customer's needs, and providing resources that are up-to-date and in demand. Customer's are being provided with a much better environment and given a more noticeable welcome to our library. Some customers mention how much better they feel about coming to MPL than to other library systems. Lots. The encouragement to try new things. Awesome co-workers, happy and helpful managers, awesome community to service and an enjoyable job. I could see that the organization is trying to change with the modern times and not get itself stuck in it's old ways. I'm proud to be part of MPL and learn and grow with it.

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17 CUSTOMER SERVICE REVOLUTION A Transferable Revolution The Customer Service Revolution (CSR) was first developed and piloted by the Markham Public Library. The City of Markham is currently implementing the CSR approach as the first component in a City-wide Enhancing Customer Experience project, designed to achieve the outcome of a consistent and enhanced customer experience across all municipal service areas.

18 STAFF COMMITMENTS

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