Customer service standards

Our customers are important to us, and we want to make sure that we provide the highest standard of customer care possible.  We want our customers to know that, whatever the service, and whether they contact us by letter, telephone, email or in person, we will deal with their enquiry as quickly and as fairly as possible.

To help us do that, we have introduced customer service standards that set out our commitment:

Telephone

  • wherever possible we will ensure that a call is answered by a member of staff; we aim to answer calls within six rings
  • if the person the caller needs to speak to is not available, we will arrange for them to call back
  • we will respond to telephone messages within one working day, unless otherwise agreed.
  • we will only transfer calls to voicemail in exceptional circumstances,unless otherwise agreed.

Email

  • we will respond to emails received at service email boxes with an immediate automated response letting you know how your enquiry will be managed
  • we will acknowledge emails to individual mail boxes within one working day
  • where it will take longer than one working day to provide a full response, we will provide a full response within seven working days or as agreed. If we need longer than seven days to deal with your enquiry, we will let you know the reason why and after that deal with your enquiry as quickly as possible

Visitors

  • reception staff will help visitors to the council in order of arrival
  • self service reception at Vale allows visitors to book in themselves
  • we will see all visitors to the council offices with an appointment, promptly
  • if you do not have an appointment and the reception staff are unable to deal with your enquiry, we will arrange for a member of staff to see you within 15 minutes
  • we will always try to answer queries on the day you visit, but if this is not possible, we will arrange an appointment to discuss it in person, or arrange for someone to telephone you, and will keep you informed at every stage

Letters

  • we will respond to all letters within seven working days
  • where it will take longer than seven working days to provide a full response we will write to say when we will be able to provide a full response

Generally

  • we will always be welcoming and deal with customers professionally and in a friendly, helpful and courteous manner, in accordance with our promises above
  • we will treat all our customers fairly, and act without discrimination to meet our customers’ needs and we will do all we can to ensure that you are able to access our services
  • we will deal openly and honestly with our customers and provide accurate and timely information and advice; we will explain why we are taking a particular course of action and what the timescales are likely to be.
  • We will treat any information given to us or held by us sensitively and discreetly, respecting any confidentiality.
  • We do not respond to phone calls, emails and letters marketing goods or services

And if things go wrong – we will take all complaints seriously, and will respond promptly in accordance with our agreed complaints procedure.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – we will deal with these requests within 20 working days, as required by the Freedom of Information Act.

Data Protection Act – we will deal with these requests within 40 calendar days, as required by the Data Protection Act.

Contact us

If you have any questions about our customer service standards please contact the Policy and Community Engagement Manager or email policy.partnerships@southandvale.gov.uk

Help us to help you

Customers can help the council to deliver the best possible service by:

  • being aware of any relevant service standards (for example, turnaround times on applications)
  • keeping us informed of any relevant changes in your circumstances
  • responding to letters and any requests for further information or documentation in the timescales requested

Our staff are committed to providing the best possible service for customers, and we believe that in return our staff have a right to be treated courteously and with respect.

The council will not tolerate instances of verbal, written or physical harassment or abuse of its staff. The council will record such incidents and may report them to the police. We retain the right, where we consider customer actions to be unacceptable, to change, restrict or refuse access to our services.

Last reviewed: 21 - 06 - 2016

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