October 24, 2016 – Kawartha Conservation CAO Rob Messervey and City of Kawartha Lakes Development Services Director Chris Marshall say an enhanced focus on customer service is key to improving processes across the planning, permitting and building functions of their respective organizations.
“Customer service isn’t something we are just talk about doing, it is something we believe in and continue to enhance to gain a greater understanding of our customers’ experience,” said Mr. Messervey.
On October 17, Kawartha Conservation implemented a new customer call back initiative that Mr. Messervey says will enhance and provide timely insight and feedback for staff.
“We are providing a follow up call within one week of a customer receiving a permit,” explained Mr. Messervey. “We are asking applicants if we can follow up with them regarding their experience and advise us on how well we did to meet their expectations.”
Mr. Messervey says hearing directly from customers about their experiences is a critical step in addressing their concerns as well as adapting processes to be more responsive to customer needs.
The City’s Director of Development Services Chris Marshall agrees, noting the City department is also undergoing customer service training for the Development Services staff as well.
“The City of Kawartha Lakes has established a Development Services Task Force to identify how the Planning and Building Department application processes can be improved,” Mr. Marshall explained. “In order to get input from the public on the development processes, the City hosted three open houses and circulated a questionnaire. The most common concern we have heard from the public with these processes is a need for better customer service.”
Mr. Messervey noted the value of good customer service cannot be overstated.
“We are a customer-focused organization,” said Mr. Messervey. “In all aspects of our programs and services, we are working to benefit and support our customers and municipal partners. Hearing from them is an important part of knowing the great things we do as well as some of the areas we can focus on improving.”
“In late 2015, we had all of our staff take part in a two-day customer service training program,” continued Mr. Messervey. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a front-line person, or someone who seldom deals with the public. Good customer service is invaluable and knowing how to deliver it is an invaluable skill.”
Mr. Marshall said as a result of the public’s input through the Planning Approvals Task Force, the City is organizing customer service training for all Development Service staff over the next month.
“People in the Development industry have a choice as to where they want to spend their money and time and the City of Kawartha Lakes wants to ensure that their customer service and application processes welcome investment by making the application process as transparent and efficient as possible,” said Mr. Marshall.
“Supporting smart, responsible development across our watershed is good for our economy and it is good for businesses across the region,” added Mr. Messervey. “We want to ensure we are providing a high level of service to our communities, to our municipal and development partners and ensuring a positive quality of life for all residents, businesses and visitors across the Kawartha Conservation watershed.”