Customers focus of new strategy

A new strategy being implemented by the Waitaki District Council is aimed at keeping up with the increasing expectations of customers seeking information and services.

The ''customer excellence strategy'' has been developed since October last year by a team led by customer contact manager Jan Stringer, along with a plan on how to put it in place.

''We wanted to sharpen our focus on customer service,'' customer services group manager Richard Mabon said about the strategy.

''Most of what we are doing is meeting community expectations well, but we cannot stand still.

''Some things are not meeting expectations, and almost everything we can do better.''

Customer expectations had been raised, particularly with more use of the internet and other sources, he said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the council was one the biggest organisations dealing with people across the Waitaki district.

''We take tens of millions of dollars off people and deliver all sorts of services. Every aspect we do with the public we can do better.''

The strategy would set the council ''well on the way to doing that'', he said.

It has five priority areas for attention, two of which need small project teams to work with targeted groups of customers.

The priority areas in the strategy are:
Understand the customer - build better relationships and information systems to understand customers and their needs;
Inform the customer - develop a customer excellence charter that sets out the commitment to service, what customers can expect and how customers can help staff to help them;
Improve council people - improve service skills and knowledge among staff;
Improve teamwork - develop and support teamwork in the organisation and between departments;
Improve tools - improve the website and implement other opportunities to make better use of technology.



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