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Measuring and managing service quality

Local Government: A move towards a more actionable approach to measuring and managing service quality

Local councils are emerging from an old paradigm of an “annual residents’ survey”, towards a need for more a cost-effective and actionable approach to measuring and managing service quality.

As co-founder of business group Customer Experience Management New Zealand (cemNZ) Paul Linnell explains, “Local councils have a serious challenge to manage costs, and at the same time, satisfy the needs, and growing expectations, of residents, ratepayers and businesses. In fact, I don’t believe any other industry can come close to the sheer range of services, and complexity of delivery processes, involved in local government”.

“On top of this, many councils are also facing structural change, growth, outsourcing and integration - all activities that place additional pressure on council management and can increase the risk of potential service failure”.

He explains that what local government needs is a customer feedback framework that will actively support a commitment to continuous improvement, help to reduce wasted costs, identify service failures and improve the effectiveness of internally and externally resourced service delivery processes.

Linnell, whose own company, service-quality improvement firm CTMA New Zealand Ltd, has more than ten years experience working with local government in New Zealand, also highlights the benefits to councils of taking a more actionable approach to collecting and reporting customer feedback. Describing one example in detail Linnell explained: “Driven by ongoing customer feedback, service improvements at the council led directly to a 10% improvement in customer satisfaction and support, a reduction in problems experience by customers, and a significant reduction in wasted costs - including a significant 13% reduction in service-request call-handling demand”.

These potential savings and service improvements will be discussed as part of a cemNZ hosted workshop specifically designed to help councils that are working hard to manage and improve customer experiences.

“Defining a council-wide strategy for measuring and managing service quality” is to be held on 25th February at Auckland’s Vector Arena.


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