Financial services is one of the key operations at the University of Huddersfield, covering areas such as managing accounts, budgets, planning and student finance. The department’s customers range from staff members, to suppliers and students, and Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation has played an important role in developing their reputation.
Sam Preest, Student Finance Officer said:
“The CSE standard has helped us stay ahead and it now drives everything we do. The standard, and the 20 Compliance Pluses we recently achieved for exemplary practice, are a tangible indication of areas where we are excelling.
CSE has also brought many benefits, such as more engagement with our customers and a greater understanding of how and where we can improve.”
CSE is designed to drive customer-focussed change, helping organisations to put customers at the forefront of their business. It can also lead to better engaged staff and cut the costs associated with poor customer service.
The department first attained CSE status in 2014, and for the last two years have partnered with Centre for Assessment. CSE has also helped the university maintain a position at the head of the Financial Security Index, an annual Government assessment of the financial security and strengths of HE institutions.
And over the last four years, the service has won 17 different awards, including Outstanding Finance Team of the Year 2015 in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards.
“Staff have fully embraced the standard and it has helped them to focus on everyday tasks but with a customer’s perspective. This has led to both a better service and a happy and committed workforce.
For us, the CSE journey has always been about acknowledging areas where we’re doing well, but with a strong emphasis on continuous improvement. It’s also helped to build our reputation both internally and externally.”
Financial services now hold an annual open day for their internal customers, in which they can give informal feedback on the service.
“We’ve had lots of questions about the standard, how it works and what it entails,” he says. “That’s the direct response, but indirectly I think our customers have appreciated that we’re taking the time to get their views about what we do and how we can improve things.”