“The spoken word belongs half to he who speaks and half to he who listens." - French proverb

So we have this programme called Effortless. It’s a programme which brings together a group of projects which are aligned to the same goal. That goal is to make all things customer service effortless which, to be fair, is pretty ambitious.

But why would anyone settle for anything less, so naturally, here we are.  

Effortless has three strands:

Culture and Behaviour - how we approach customer service and how it feels for customers to use our service.

Insight and Performance - to understand what we are achieving now and where we want to be in the future.

Technology and Systems - to provide the best tools to enable us to provide Effortless service.

If it sounds easy, it’s not.

Such a mammoth piece of work has to start in the right place, and here is where we get to the French proverb. We can’t assume we know what the customer wants; we have to ask them, and above all, listen.

So we are going to complete customer interviews - sit with the customer and have that all important conversation to really understand what they need from us.

Why not surveys?

Well at this stage, although that would be a lot easier, it simply will not give us that deeper understanding we want. This way, we will get the context of the customers’ answers in full, with all the emotion too.

So the call was sent out for anyone who works at the Councils who would be willing to interview our customers, and 20 people volunteered without hesitation.

How amazing is that? It’s a wonderful sign of how much care the Councils have for its customers.

We have set a target to complete 50 interviews by the end of this month, which is not a tall order at all with 20 interviewers at the helm and with an amazing guide produced by colleagues in the Contact Centre and Insight Team (thank you!). We all feel ready to dive on in with interviewing residents of Adur & Worthing.

We’re all going to start by interviewing someone we know, or at least a friend of a friend. Really this need not be daunting at all, or anything other than, well, effortless!

And the customer interviews won’t stop there because we recognise that our staff are customers too. So in time we will be completing surveys as well as creating opportunities for those working for the Councils to see what we are delivering and to give us honest feedback.

The more people share, the more we can do for them.

I know there may be people who are skeptical about how much positive change this work will bring - people who have heard it all before and seen nothing change, and I respect that, but I’m hopeful that this programme will bring positive change to the organisation and to residents who are in contact with us.

And to those we interview, I promise that we will be listening to what you have to say.