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By Dale Pfeiffer

Session Learning Objectives

Customer Service
Understand the Basics of Customer Service
Understand the 7-Steps of a Customer Service Plan
Development Model
Describe the 7-Step Model at Work
Understand how to take Customer Service beyond the 7Steps


Understanding the essential difference between
government and business customer service
Know what constitutes good customer service
Know how to help employees provide better customer

What is Good Customer Service

Philosophy of excellence in customer service must be
incorporated into day to day operations.
Systems must be built to provide structure to both the
customer and the employees who serve them.
Staff should be given the right tools, training and consistent
This is NOT an overnight program!

The Role of Managers in

Customer Service
The first step is develop a comprehensive strategic plan.
Understand the balance of responding to individual citizens
request and providing the general public with adequate LOS
for maintaining infrastructure.
This balance is guided by Mission, Vision and Value
statements which are the starting point for the strategic plan.
Management must provide the work orce with the
information, action and skills needed to succeed.

Basics of Developing a Strategic

Plan for Customer Service a
Case Study


Establish and reiterate the vision of

customer service as a part of the departments mission
statement and supporting goals

Since the early 1990s a Customer Service Plan has been in

In 2001 the Department revised its Customer Service Plan
as a part of a Citywide effort.
A 7-Step Model was developed to use as a blueprint for all
Customer Service efforts throughout the City.
Managers and line employees must buy into the concept of
developing a Plan.
Citywide and Department Mission/Vision statements must
support the effort.
Customer Service must be supported from the Top Down.

City of Vacaville Department of Public

Works Mission Statement
Service is our Business

City of Vacaville Department of Public

Works Supporting Goals

Gain and hold our customers respect.

Remain competitive in our services and excel in quality..
Load proactively by seeking innovative solutions
Treat our employees as our greatest resource

City and Department Mission and

Vision Statements
Do you have them?
Do they support each other?
Do they reflect a commitment to good customer service?


Each work group identified key customers and major

Services --- activities performed, information provided,
functions involved.
Developed correlation matrix mapping key customers to
major services.

Do You Know Who Your Customers

Central Garage
Development Engineering

Do You Know What Services are



Customer/service correlation matrices serve as a springboard
for survey development.
Provide training sessions to assist employees in survey
Survey data collection --- depends on how best to contact
your customers.

What are the different ways we can

contact and acquire information about
our customers needs?

Develop action plans to implement proposed changes and

suggested improvements
Action plans must be developed and prioritized to address
areas of greatest importance.
During the initial round of development in Vacaville, 74
action plan items were identified.
Action items served to lead and guide customer service
efforts of each work group.

Complete department customer

service plan
Incorporate action items into the customer service Plan.
Submit the plan to city leadership and the public works
steering committee for review and approval.
Use the plan as a baseline for the departments customer
service efforts.

Conduct employee training

Provide employees with training opportunities for action
items identified in the customer service plan.
New employee orientation should incorporate customer
service training focusing on key concepts and core values.

Sustain customer satisfaction through ongoing monitoring, assessment and updating

Continue to review customer service performance
standards, programs , procedures & policies.
For example: All 74 of Vacavilles public works action
items were achieved.
Along the way new action items have been discovered,
developed and addressed.

Vacavilles Department of Public Works 2006

Customer Service Workplan
There is more to customer service than just measuring
How we go about delivering our services is equally
Success is the relationship we cultivate with our external
and internal partners.
Public awareness makes the difference.

In 2000 a citywide survey measured overall public satisfaction
with City service at 79% (good to excellent)
Citys goal was to increase this to over 80%.
2005 citywide survey showed satisfaction rose to 81%.
Public Works ratings of good to excellent in 2005 were:
Street maintenance: 63%
Park maintenance: 87%
Refuse collection:
The ultimate measurement is the 2006 Mayor/Council election.

How Do You Measure Success?

Once the customer service plan has been implemented, its time
to focus on even more effective methods of customer service.
Re-examine how to better deliver services, promote partnerships
and improve public awareness.

Developing a Long Term

Customer Services Strategic Plan
For customer service efforts to succeed, a long term strategic
plan is needed.
The strategic plan must address how to keep customer Service
efforts up-to-date and how to infuse the appropriate culture
into the organization.
Training and education, partnering, and working with the
public are all important.

Fostering Upper Managements Role,

Commitment and Involvement in the
Customer Service Process
Upper managements involvement is essential.
Ideally, involvement begins at the executive level of
government and continues downward.
At minimum, customer service must be a performance
measure for the director of public works, division heads,
managers and supervisors.
Discussions with other city departments and a citywide
customer service advisory committee are also important.

How to More Effectively Deal with Both

Internal and External Customers
Education, training and attitude adjustments are needed.
The how to aspect of customer service is more complex
than previously realized it does not automatically occur.
The attitude we portray and the image we project helps
ensure customers feel respected and important.

Education, Training and

Collaborative Employee Efforts

Anticipating customer needs

Determining we are truly meeting customers needs
Going beyond the minimum
Following-up to ensure satisfaction
Fully informing customers of upcoming projects/tasks
Evaluating impacts from all points of view
Maintaining adequate and effective communication
Exploring incentives for employees exemplifying customer
service in action

Education, Training and

Collaborative Employee Efforts (continued)
Provide training focusing on the how tos of customer service
Consider what we must do differently since we are the only
game in town
Implement new and innovative training models such as Disneys
Keys to Excellence program
Consider other types of customer service training: predetermined scripts, communications skills, diffusing difficult
PW director and managers frequently discuss customer service
in their communications to staff
Assign one person as a champion of customer service