There are various resources needed in an office environment to keep the customer service running in the department for work and pensions. The types of resources are, work volumes, staff members, training opportunities, working patterns, opening hours, I.t software and hardware, skillsets, premises, photocopiers, printers, telephones, legislative requirements (e.g. health and safety, Equality and Diversity).
Staff work forces are important to delivering the customer service and running operations. Within the work force there are different leads that specialize in their own field such as, NEA, work coach and front of house. For instance when customers attend JCP they are sought by the front of house team who then direct them to the correct staff who can deal with their benefit query.
The DWP provide training opportunities to up skills staff in order to maintain the highest level of customer service across the department. For instance when a JSA advisor migrates onto UC they will undertake 3 weeks training in order to up skill themselves on how to navigate the UC system so that they can deliver the service necessary.
Office equipment such as IT software and hardware, premises, photocopiers, printers, telephones etc has made it easier to carry out and automate regular yet important tasks that were previously timing consuming. This will reduce the work burden on work coaches and will help maintain operational delivery and prevent staff from tiring out. The use of IT equipment reduces work coaches’ workload. Certain tasks such as booking a gateway intervention appointment for self employed claimants can find their notification letter automatically attached in their journal. This lessens the need for work coaches to carry out repetitive manual tasks which allows them to focus more on important part of their role. In addition, this will lessen errors in the workplace, and improve the quality of the work from staff.
Legislative requirements such as health and safety, Equality and Diversity are highly important and necessary within a workforce to ensure efficient and positive operations. This gives staff members’ sense of security where their rights are being protected. Since DWP is a diverse and welcoming department, the staff equality rights promote well being of the workforce for them to carry out their role to the best of their ability.
How this information can be used to produce a resource plan
Staff work force is highly important to have an efficient operational delivery. There are various employees who work on different roles to deliver the range of service which caters to the specific need the claimant has. For example, a customer attending the JCP may need support with updating their CV whereby then the front of house team would direct the claimant to an NEA adviser. The claimant can then go back to his work coach who now can support him on being referred to a live vacancy. Both the work coach and the NEA adviser work back to back in order to delivery customer service to the highest level. This information is necessary to make a resource plan before carrying out any operational delivery.
It is important to lay out the training staff will need before carrying out any customer service operations. This is because there are constant and ongoing changes in policy and guidance. For example the migration from Job seekers allowance to universal credit full service. In addition it is necessary to have adequate staff members before sending out any colleagues to training cover their work whilst away.
Technology is transforming how the claimants who rely on DWP services expect to interact with their work coaches. The department published their digital strategy which highlights how the DWP will provide the high quality digital services that people prefer to use. It is important to have the IT services laid out in the resource plan prior to having any operational delivery being taken place. The employees will know the services they have available to carry out their role as wells the customers knowing what services are available to them when finding work.
It is important to highlight the opening hours in the resource plan and to balance out the working pattern across the office to ensure efficient operations. This is because the department does not need every in at 7am when they are no customers. Since work coaches are contracted to work 37.5 hours per week.
How to manage the resources in order to improve customer service going forward
Digital statistics is an important resource that needs to be monitored regularly to improve employee performance and ensure customers are paid within a timely manner. In the job Centre plus, the high priority is ensuring customers are paid on time. Monitoring the payment accuracy and blockers are vital to making sure quick payments are issued to customers.
In the DWP, customer feedback is information provided by claimants about whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with a product or service and about general experience they had with the department. Their opinion is a resource for improving customer experience and adjusting employee actions to their needs. The following reasons show why customer feedback is important in the DWP:
- Helps with improving products and services
- Helps with measuring customer satisfaction
- Shows you value their opinions
- Helps to create the best customer experience
- Gives data that helps taking department decisions
In order for DWP to provide the highest level of service, they must put claimants at the centre of their operations and treat customer feedback as the most valuable source of information in the department. It is the customers who the services, therefore they are most aware of what could be improved to make them more satisfied. If DWP fail to ignore their feedback, it may incur customer complaint thus leading to bad press.
“A customer complaint highlights a problem, whether that’s a problem with your product, employees or internal processes, and by hearing these problems directly from your customers, you can investigate and improve to prevent further complaints in the future.”
It is vital for DWP to manage customer complaints. It highlights the customer perception and the attitudes of work coaches. Paying attention to complaints can improve customer satisfaction.
Many claimants with a complaint won’t report it to the department and instead will inform other people(i.e other customers, and the press). Those who do make a complaint are highly valuable to the department as they give information the DWP need to improve customer service. It is important for the department to review, revise and reinforce customer complaints management policy to make sure every upset customer becomes satisfied.
Analyse how important Performance management is In relation to improving Customer Service Delivery
Performance management is an ongoing process of communication between a manager and a work coach that occurs every month, in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of the organization. The communication process includes clarifying expectations, setting objectives, identifying goals, providing feedback, and reviewing results.
To initiate the planning process, management and a work coach review overall expectations, which includes development of performance objectives. In the meeting, work coach development goals are also updated. Management then develops a performance plan that directs the work coach efforts toward achieving specific results to support department and employee success.
Goals and objectives are discussed throughout the year, during 1-2-1 meetings on a monthly basis. This provides a framework to ensure work coaches achieve results through coaching and mutual feedback.
At the end of the performance period, management review the work coach’s performance against expected objectives, as well as the means used and behaviors demonstrated in achieving those objectives. Both management and work coach establish new objectives for the next performance year.
In order to get the best performance from work coaches, they need to know what is expected of them. One could be that the management shows the work coach the job description that highlights the main functions, skills, and responsibilities of the role.
To perform well, employees need to know what is expected of them. The starting point is an up-to-date job description that describes the essential functions, tasks, and responsibilities of the job. It also outlines the general areas of knowledge and skills required of the work coach to be successful in the job.
Having a constructive performance management in place feeds in to improving customer service overall. This comes as a result of more skilled workforce, satisfied work coaches, more productive work coaches leading to more engagement, focused and creative employee engagement and promoting positive customer service.
The consequence of not having a performance management in place could affect the communication between management and work coaches, averse from helping work coaches attain performance objectives and meeting standards, it may also have an impact on work coach motivation and commitments.