Customer care standards

To make sure we provide the best possible service, we have made promises about meeting the needs and expectations of our customers. Our customer care standards aim to make sure that the highest levels of service is delivered across all Council departments.

Our Customer Care Standards

However our customers contact us…

  • We will treat them politely and with respect.
  • We will provide additional support if they need it to access our services.
  • We will provide a payment reference number when they apply or pay for goods or services.
  • We will always look clean and smart.
  • Our buildings will be accessible, welcoming and clean.
  • We will wear name badges and show identification when requested and when we visit customers.
  • We will wear uniforms and protective clothing when appropriate.

Face to face contact

  • We will be positive and welcoming.
  • Our reception staff will see customers promptly.
  • Under normal circumstances, we will address our customers’ enquiries within 10 minutes.
  • We will aim to resolve customer enquiries the first time that they contact us, or tell them what actions we are taking within 15 working days and keep them informed of progress.
  • We will tell customers what will happen next and how long it will take.
  • We will be on time for appointments and tell customers beforehand if we need to cancel them.
  • We will make private interviews available upon request.
  • We will arrange an interpreter or language signer if needed.
  • We will arrange to visit our customers at home if they cannot attend our offices due to illness or disability.

Letters

  • We will respond to all letter and e-mail enquiries as quickly as possible within a maximum of 15 working days.
  • If a full response cannot be given within 15 days, we will write to explain why it may take longer.
  • We will use language that is easy to understand.
  • We will provide customers with a contact name, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • When appropriate, we will provide translations or other formats of written materials (such as Braille or large print) upon request.

Telephone Contacts

  • We will answer telephone calls within 15 seconds under normal circumstances and always be polite.
  • We will tell customers where they are in the queue for services which experience a high volume of calls.
  • On answering we will give our name, service area and ask how we can help. If the query will take some time, we will offer to return the customer’s call.
  • If a customer needs to speak to someone else we will connect their call or arrange for the colleague to call the customer back if they are unavailable.
  • We will aim to resolve customer enquiries the first time that they contact us, or tell them what actions we are taking. We will keep customers informed of the progress of their enquiry.
  • We will tell our customers what will happen next and how long it will take.
  • We will minimise the use of answer phones during office hours.

Email and the Internet

  • We will acknowledge e-mails within 24 hours and provide a full response as quickly as possible within 15 working days.
  • We will provide a secure internet network to protect personal information that customers provide when applying or paying for goods and services online.

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

  • Information provided by customers will be held securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
  • When we no longer need a customer’s information, we will dispose of it securely.
  • We will provide any information that is legally available under the Freedom of Information Act within 20 working days of receiving the request. If we cannot provide some or all of the information, we will explain why.

Complaints

  • We will respond to all complaints as quickly as we can and in all cases within a maximum of 15 working days. If this is not possible, we will explain why a reply may take longer.
  • We will monitor all customer feedback and use it to improve our services

To help us to help our customers

  • We expect customers to give us the opportunity to investigate and resolve enquiries within set timescales.
  • We expect to be treated politely and with respect.