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
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.