Thursday, 30 June 2016

Providing an excellent customer service

In the Process Improvement Unit we consider providing an excellent customer service is vital.  Our customers are the large numbers of staff who attend our events, workshops, training and meetings.

In the LEAN environment the customer is the one who places value on your output based on how much their requirements are satisfied.  Professor Noriaki Kano, who developed the Kano Model to understand customer requirements, considers that these requirements are in three parts, needs, wants and delighters. If the customer’s needs (essentials) and wants (expectations) are met then the customer will be satisfied.  If they receive a service that is over and above what is expected (delighters) that will increase the level of satisfaction.

With this in mind I have noted below several services I provide in my role as Clerical Officer within the Unit to meet our customers’ wants and needs:
  • Ensuring I provide accurate and detailed (when necessary) information at all times.
  • Responding to queries/emails in a timely manner.
  • Providing refreshments at our meetings ensuring the drinks machine is well stocked with a variety of drinks and help if required to work our drinks machine.
  • Recognising the diversity of our customers and their requirements and needs.
  • Ensuring all documents/training materials are in place and the room is set out accordingly to make sure there are no delays.
  • Being able to provide a basic overview of LEAN methodology when addressing first line queries.
  • Being welcoming by greeting attendees to our events and training with a smile, courtesy and a helpful attitude.

Additionally, some delighters:
  • Providing interesting lunches at all week events with a mixture of different types of food every day.
  • Providing in events homemade cakes baked by Rachel and Dave.

Conclusively, there is no room for complacency when endeavouring to provide an excellent customer service. We need to ensure that we always ‘know our customer’ which requires identifying our customers’ expectations and following up both positive and negative comments in feedback.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Hosting a UCISA-PCMG meeting

Today I hosted the UCISA Project and Change Management Group Committee Meeting

There were two main items of business:
1.    Bob Rabone, Chief Financial Officer here at the University of Sheffield talked about BUFDG (British Universities Finance Directors Group) which until recently Bob has been Chair for the past three years.. We had a really interesting conversation about the Value for Money (VFM) agenda and possible ways that the group could work with finance Directors to help and inform VFM in the sector.

2.    Planning for our conference “From vision to embed - going all the way with institutional change which will be held jointly with the Corporate Information Systems Group in November Planning is well underway, with the final schedule currently being finalised.

It was an absolute pleasure hosting the meeting, and welcoming people to The University of Sheffield. Promoting and supporting the opportunities to share experiences (good and bad) along with good practice is inherently good for the sector – I feel very fortunate to be part of it.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Access to the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service

Last week we worked with a core team of staff from the Disability and Dyslexia Support Service (DDSS) to look at improving access to the service. The team were incredibly student focused but acknowledged that external legislative changes and increasing student numbers was putting pressure on the service. Equally the team acknowledged that lack of appropriate standardisation was causing them anxiety about workload issues. The team has received excellent feedback about its service, so the drivers of the project were self identified (not enforced).

The team came up with many changes and improvements that will be implemented for the start of term. These include:
·      Improvements to support for students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SpLD)- ensuring that where possible exam arrangements for semester one are in place pre-arrival for students who are still waiting for evidence for their Disability Support Allowance (DSA)
·      Agreements about the best ways for students to access the service (phone and in person) yet still keeping email as an option for students who because of their disability need to use email.
·      Changes to the reception so that the admin team are better placed to deal with in person, phone and email requests
·      Standardisation and improvements to the way that the internal computer system will be used
·      Further improvements of service for applicants and better joined up communications
·      Creation of a Service Improvement Toolkit and identification of a small group that has authority to use it

One of the biggest challenges was around trying to standardise and prioritise work that happens as a result of students accessing DDSS (by far the majority of the advisers workload). Feedback from the team was that I pushed too hard and delivered the message in a way that was not constructive. It is the first time that I have received this message and will continue to reflect on this. It is always a challenge during intensive improvements events to get the team to make the most of the time by getting decisions made rather than delaying action (because this becomes more work for the team themselves) and difficult messages often have to be given (it’s part of my role), equally the lean facilitators role is one of ensuring that the team sticks to scope and focuses on all agreed deliverables of a project. I may feel I’ve ticked the boxes on my “job description” but when a team feeds back that this was done in an unhelpful way I need to ensure that I use lean principles to continuously improve my practice too.

I was pleased to hear the team feedback that they had worked together in an incredibly constructive way, which they don’t always get the opportunity to do. The team has a lot of actions (60+) to complete over the next few months and I was really pleased that they have authority from the project sponsor to carve out time to ensure that the improvement ideas are acted on.