We all understand and accept that the adult social care sector is going through a turbulent and difficult time. Local councils are tightening eligibility criteria for care and support and a considerable number of people face being re-assessed. It seems inevitable that we will see a significant withdrawal of support from some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Providers are increasingly under pressure to be constantly competitive. Having less money but more choices and information, customers and commissioners are choosing services on "Best Value" and "Best Buy" based on the lowest price, high quality and the best experience from the customer’s perspective.
It is against this backdrop that we at ubu work every day. We are all dedicated to helping vulnerable people in all aspects of their lives and enabling them to live a valuable and independent life within their community. With all this in mind it is now, more than ever, critical that we remain customer-centric and ensure that everyone has a common understanding of what the term means and how it can be implemented.
We understand that a customer-centric approach helps organisations build relationships with both internal and external customers. The customer becomes the central platform from which the organisation operates. Any decisions taken are viewed from the customer’s point of view. Whilst this sounds simple most organisations fail to understand their customers nor do they change their services in line with the customer’s needs.
We are teaching everyone within ubu the benefits of being customer-centric and not just assuming that people already know. We believe that being customer-centric aligns everyone around the one purpose of making the customer successful; in turn we know that this results in everyone loving what they do.
We have started a campaign within ubu communicate the positive results and outcomes of "thinking like a customer” in every aspect of our business. We believe this is the foundation that will accelerate the transition of everyone being truly customer-centric within our organisation.
So what does becoming customer-centric mean for us at ubu?
Well, it’s about looking at what we do as an organisation from the ‘outside-in’ rather than the ‘inside-out’ that is, through the customer’s eyes rather than our own. "It’s about understanding what problems customers face in their lives and providing mutually advantageous solutions”. (Ranjay Gulati - Reorganise for Resilience.)
it’s also about, ‘Putting our customers at the centre of our organisation at all times, making certain we can be easily contacted by all our customers and that we are easy and friendly to do business with’
In practice, we see it as being about adopting common sense and creative solutions once the customer’s issues are understood. However, changing practice and taking ownership of customers’ problems doesn’t just happen. It takes lots of work and a strong culture. We see that the building blocks of a customer-centric culture are: communication skills; accountability and systems. All of these are key commitments of ubu.
In this climate the culture of our organisation is not just a few words in a report, it has meaning and requires constant attention after fully implementing for us to ensure success for our customers, our supports, our teams and our organisation. We recognise that everyone has a huge part to play.
We have found that getting from understanding what customer-centric means to putting it into practice requires all employees to listen to our customers and making sense of what they are hearing and really understand the views, issues and needs of our customers.
This necessitates team work with everyone working together. It requires each person in the organisation to adjust their mind-sets and their ways of working to create a new service where everyone becomes a front-line worker serving the customer. It requires everyone connecting and cooperating across the whole organisation.
So get started and discover the enjoyment !