Our customer charter and service standards
At the heart of our customer charter is our commitment to improving the quality of life of local people. We strive to get it right first time, every time.
We believe that customers have the right to know what level of service they can expect from us all the time - even when we fall short of the very high standards we have set ourselves.
- improve our speed of response in handling enquiries from customers by ensuring our information is in a format that can be easily accessed and understood
- maintain a single point of contact, open at times that reflect customer need and at a cost that is suitable and acceptable to our customers
- provide responsive and reliable services that meet the expectations of residents and customers
- provide a consistent, co-ordinated and proactive service. Customer service employees will be able to identify if the customer needs extra help or advice, and will help resolve problems and take personal responsibility for them
- make it more convenient, easier and quicker for the residents of Cambridge to deal with us
- enable customers to serve themselves, if they choose to making self service an easy and efficient option
- treat our customers with respect, courtesy and friendliness, being receptive to customer feedback
- enable customers to provide feedback easily, through customer surveys, focus groups, feedback, consultations and improved complaint handling
- ensure our employees are skilled and able to provide high-quality customer care
- work with other council departments and organisations to achieve a joined-up and seamless approach to service provision.
Our customer service standards are as follows:
Contacting us in person
- We aim to see customers in the Customer Service Centre,within 10 minutes of arriving at reception.
- Waiting areas will be comfortable and tidy and facilities for children will be provided in the Customer Service Centre.
- All staff who deal directly with the public will wear identification badges.
- Opening hours will be clearly displayed.
- Information will be kept up to date and will be well presented.
- Facilities for disabled people will be available at public receptions.
- Private interview facilities will be provided when necessary.
- Customer comment cards or feedback screens will be available for you to let us know what you thought of the service you received.
Contacting us by telephone
- When answering the telephone, staff will clearly state their first name and section.
- The staff member who answers your call will aim to answer your enquiry there and then. If we cannot answer your enquiry or transfer you to the right person straight away, we will take your details and ask someone to contact you.
- When returning your calls, staff will clearly state their first name, their section and their reason for calling.
- When returning your calls, the caller identification to mobiles will show as 'withheld' and a message will be left where possible if you are unavailable
Contacting us by email
- We aim to respond to all emails received by our Customer Service Centre within four working hours.
- All other council services will respond fully to your email within seven working days, unless you receive an 'out of office' notification to your email advising that the staff member is unavailable. The notification will include contact details for urgent enquiries and a date when the staff member will be available to reply.
Facebook and Twitter
- We aim to respond to posts within four working hours.
Contacting us by letter or fax
- If you contact us by letter or fax we will try to respond fully within seven working days unless, for example, your query is complex or involves several service areas.
- In this case we will acknowledge your letter within five working days of receipt and let you know who is looking after your query, what action we are taking, and when a reply can be expected.
- We aim to reply to all complaints within seven working days. If we need longer, we will tell you why. We will also let you know who is dealing with your complaint and when we will reply.
- If you are not happy with the response you can ask for the complaint to be referred to the independent complaints investigator, who will investigate the complaint for you.
Freedom of Information requests
- We will supply information requested in Freedom of Information requests within 20 working days, except in exceptional circumstances.
- In such circumstances, we will contact you to let you know why it is going to take longer than 20 days to collate the information requested, or if there are reasons why it is not appropriate to release all the information requested.
- We will explain why we are not releasing the information, if that is the case, and explain the appeal process.
Translation and interpretation
- If English is not your first language and you need some help in understanding any of the services the council delivers, we offer telephone or face-to-face language interpretation services.