Customers Getting Involved with Staff Training

Blog post by Community Reporter, Tracey Kember.

On a bright and chilly January morning, I made my way to the Orbit’s Bexley office in Erith to attend Orbit Academy’s ‘Customer First’ training session for staff.

When I arrived, I received a warm welcome from the members of staff who were taking part in the training session, and their trainer, Ben Spurway, who is an Orbit Academy Consultant.

I introduced myself to all the Orbit representatives, and told them about what I do for Orbit as an Involved Customer and my role as a Community Reporter – they were all very interested to hear about the Community Reporter programme. Each member of staff then introduced themselves and their role within Orbit.

As a group, we then took part in a ‘perception’ exercise to demonstrate the differences between what staff think is most important to customers, and what we as customers consider to be most important to us. During this exercise, we considered questions such as how customers feel and how staff meet the needs of customers. We also looked at other factors such as customers having one point of contact, staff taking ownership and responsibility, returning calls as promised, body language and providing a 24/7 service.

We later split into two groups and took part in an exercise called ‘FIRST: The Orbit Way’. FIRST sets out a few of the things that staff need to do to give customers a good standard of service:

             First impressions count
             Identify what you are going to do and when
             Right first time
             Show that you are listening
             Take ownership

We looked at three different scenarios which helped us to have a good discussion about what makes good customer service. This included things like communication between staff and customers, the needs of individual customers as we are all different and can different priorities because of things like age, disabilities and lifestyle etc., the importance of having a good attitude, good timekeeping, being prepared (having the correct parts for a repair, for example), taking ownership and not passing the buck, listening, paying attention to detail, not arguing with the customer, and being helpful and keeping promises.

We also talked about other kinds of customers – internal customers, which are other Orbit teams and departments, and external contractors such as Mitie and BSW.

The training session finished with a summary of the objectives for Orbit staff, which are:

  • What Orbit needs to be doing to deliver excellent customer service
  • Defining examples of good and poor customer service and learning from them
  • Identifying the ‘Orbit Way’ principles and putting them into practice
  • Examining the needs of external and internal customers
  • Confirming who internal customers are

A great attitude is what Orbit needs in order to deliver an excellent service and put the ‘customer first’ in the Orbit way: something Orbit strives very hard to achieve.

Feed into CISIG!

October saw the Customer Involvement Service Improvement Group’s (CISIG) third meeting.

As well as monitoring the KPI’s for Quarter 2 (to make sure all our involvement opportunities are working well and are providing value for money), CISIG were asked to help provide the content of a new ‘introduction to customer involvement’ training session.

This will be part of a whole programme of training designed especially to support our involved customers. There will be basic IT skills training, performance monitoring as well as skills to build your confidence.

It is hoped the training sessions will start to become available in the New Year, so watch this space!

CISIG have had a really great year. There is always a lot of information each meeting to digest, yet they are growing in confidence all the time.

Next year will see them help develop a mechanism for staff to feedback to customers in a way that’s quick, easy to understand and relevant. They will also be looking at developing ‘buddies’, which will link up experienced customers with those who are just starting out, to give them a helping hand.

Do you have any ideas for these projects? What skills do you think a customer would need to have to be a great buddy? What is essential for you when you receive feedback from Orbit staff?

If you have answers to these questions, would you like to be part of CISIG via this blog page?

If so we would love to hear from you and have you on board!

We will send you the minutes of each meeting, with the key points we would like you to comment on…… you just simply respond from the comfort of your own home, either here on the blog page or, if you prefer, via email!

Help to really make a difference in the way we involve our customers.

We look forward to hearing from you!

If you would to discuss this opportunity further please click to contact us contact