A new Local Gov report has revealed that in the first half of 2016 the number of outsourcing contracts agreed by local authorities increased by 50% on a year-on-year basis.
Many local authorities are turning to outsourcing as the solution to reduced resources following years of budget cuts. However, despite its positive cost-saving capabilities, the public sector must ensure that the services are delivering an exceptional customer journey.
Recent polls have suggested that only 22% of the public think major outsourcing firms are motivated by providing the best service to the public – while 80% think that this should be important to them. However, as strategy becomes increasingly cost-focused, the headache of balancing the books whilst delivering exceptional customer service continues to plight local authorities.
“During outsourcing your operations become harder to regulate, and it can be easy for the quality of customer service to diminish,” said Gary Baker, customer service excellence assessment manager at SGS United Kingdom. “It is important to remember that customers do not always differentiate between in-house and outsourced departments.
“Offering the customer a seamless journey can be a really tough task when integrating services. However, this does not mean that organisations should lose focus of it, and should instead look at formalised ways to ensure that their end-to-end service is to their own high standards.”
One way that organisations, including both local authorities and major outsourcers, are ensuring that their customers are receiving a consistent and high-quality service is through the Government-led Customer Service Excellence (CSE) standard.
“We’re seeing an increasing number of organisations, public and private, take to CSE as a means of sustaining great customer service across their services,” added Gary. “For public organisations, it’s a great means of ensuring that the services that are being outsourced are consistent with their expectations. For private organisations, such as outsourcers, this helps provide them with a competitive edge, separating them from rivals when competing for contracts.
“With successful implementation of CSE, organisations are able to deliver a robust, tried and tested and customer focussed approach,” concluded Gary. “By working in collaboration to a set of agreed customer standards, organisations can increase their customers’ confidence in them, in turn strengthening and extending partnership arrangements.”
Find out more
Local authorities can find out more about CSE a free-of-charge breakfast seminar organised by SGS. The seminar will address the importance of CSE in the current outsourcing market and the effect that this has on the customer journey.
Taking place on 14 October 2016 at the state-of-the-art Network Rail training facilities in Coventry, the seminar will look at how an organisation can gain a competitive edge through their improved customer journey, as well as how organisations can stay ahead of the curve in the current outsourcing landscape.
To book your space at the breakfast seminar, and for more information on the morning, please head to http://www.sgs.co.uk/breakfast-seminar.
This week is National Customer Service Week, and we’re focusing on issues around customer services in the public sector.
Sopra Steria has revealed that UK citizens are keener than ever to use digital public services - as long as they're secure.
Dialogue begins about what our cities will look like in 2040, and stresses need for infrastructure design to get smarter
App is part of strategy to maximise residents’ access to the internet
Councils are being urged to become more creative in their use of technology and more collaborative with both their citizens and other organisations