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Staff achieve national recognition of service excellence

21st March 2016

Northumbria University’s Student and Library Services department has achieved the government’s national accreditation for customer service excellence, confirming the high standard of service that Northumbria students expect and receive.

The department provides many of the key services used by students, including the University Library, Careers and Employment, Student Support and Wellbeing and the Ask4Help one-stop-shop. Although all of the individual teams have already achieved the national Customer Service Excellence standard, it is the first time that the department has submitted a full service accreditation.

The external assessor visited the University and met with students and staff to discuss their experiences of using Student and Library Services. They examined 57 areas of activity required to achieve the standard, including the timeliness and quality of service provided, how the services are delivered and what insights it has into its ‘customers’ – our students.

Exceptional behaviours or practises that can be viewed as an exemplar for others were recognised in four areas, with students particularly praising the Ask4Help service. As a result, the assessors recognised that Ask4Help is “a great success” stating that: “Students say how easy it was to access services… and how positive their experiences were.”

The department was also praised for its work in putting students at the heart of its service, making its services easily accessible to students and empowering staff to participate in a customer-focused culture. The report also praised the “passionate, warm and friendly” staff who were described by students as going “above and beyond” to help them.

The assessors also commended the use of mystery shoppers to provide reliable and accurate feedback.

Professor Jane Core, Director of Student and Library Services, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the full service has secured customer service excellence accreditation.

“Working in partnership with students is at the heart of our ethos, so we are particularly pleased that the assessor praised the positive experiences enjoyed by users of our Ask4Help service for student enquirers as well as the work we undertake to map how students use our services to deliver many of our service improvements.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Francis, added: “Student and Library Services has led the way in evidencing how we put customer service excellence at the heart of what we are doing to bring improvements to our services for students. We are delighted that this hard work has been recognised with this national accreditation.”

Customer Service Excellence accreditation is a trade mark of the Cabinet Office which was first achieved by the University Library in 2010. This was followed byAsk4Help in 2012, and in 2014 the Careers and Employment and Student Support and Wellbeing teams became accredited. 

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