Customer Service Excellence Certification

Available to companies and organisations in any sector, Customer Service Excellence operates on three levels.  It is a means to benchmark user experience against a national framework, an opportunity to develop customer service skills, and a valuable tool for those striving to be the best they can be.

Centre for Assessment offers robust assessments against the Customer Service Excellence Standard.

What is Customer Service Excellence?

All of us work with customers.  There are those internal colleagues, team members, managers with whom we transact daily.  We also have external ‘consumers’ or ’end-users’ of our products or, based on our industry/profession, ‘clients’, ‘patients’, ‘students’, ‘residents’ or a different term.  Whichever word your business/organisation uses for ‘customers’, they are an essential part of what we do and why we do it.

Recognising customer groups and evaluating their needs and expectations is the heart of the Customer Service Excellence Standard.

Designed to challenge organisational culture in relation to the focus on internal/external customers and based on extensive research, the national framework provides an opportunity to benchmark what you are doing, ensuring that you are providing a first-class service.

Whether you seek external recognition for excellent practice and/or a practical tool for continuous improvement, Customer Service Excellence will help you measure the quality of your service and meet your objectives.

Who is Customer Service Excellence for?

Introduced by the Cabinet Office in 2008, Customer Service Excellence was intended to promote a customer-focused culture within the public sector, replacing the Charter Mark scheme.  It is now incredibly popular with Whitehall departments, local authorities, universities and colleges, housing associations, regulatory bodies and many others. 

It is also building popularity across the private and third sectors, with new clients coming forward daily.  Centre for Assessment works with the retail, travel, legal, marketing, print, care, financial, charity and several other sectors.

Customer Service/User Experience professionals in companies/organisations of any shape and size should consider achieving the Customer Service Excellence award.

How can Customer Service Excellence benefit your organisation?

Customer Service Excellence is a framework of 57 elements grouped in five criteria:

  1. Customer insight
  2. Organisational culture
  3. Information and access
  4. Delivery
  5. Timeliness and quality of service

These cover every aspect of customer service, including customer journey mapping, complaints, first contact resolution, data protection, social responsibility/engaging communities, innovation and much more

Implementing CSE and having us complete an assessment against the Standard has many potential benefits.  Certification may enable you to:

  • act as a beacon for others in your sector;
  • benchmark your service against a national framework;
  • continuously develop your service, based on customer need;
  • demonstrate excellence in your customer experience;
  • drive a customer-focused culture within your organisation;
  • gain an advantage over your competitors;
  • increase customer satisfaction and retention;
  • receive external recognition for best practice within your organisation;
  • reduce complaints;
  • reduce inefficiency, saving time and money;
  • up-skill your staff through improved recruitment, training and retention processes.

Why you should work with Centre for Assessment?

Centre for Assessment is a licensed certification body, working on behalf of the Cabinet Office to assess and certify organisations to the Customer Service Excellence Standard.  We are also regulated by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ensure our work is impartial, value-adding and rigorous.

We can assist your whole journey from initial research into whether CSE is right for you – and whether this is the right time to apply – through to bespoke workshops and awareness sessions, pre-assessment services and post-assessment support.

Customer Service Excellence needs to work for everyone associated with your organisation.  Contact us to discover more.

What other services can we help you with?

Customer Service Excellence is a complete framework to ensure the experience of your customers/service users is the best it can be. It complements and enhances several of Centre for Assessment’s other products such as Lexcel and ISO 9001. We may be able to complete consecutive assessments against multiple Standards, minimising any potential disruption to your day-to-day activities.

Customer Service Excellence also links closely with the British Standards around Valuing People.

We would encourage you to consider how multiple Standards can work in parallel to strengthen your business or organisation.

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Business Benefits

  • Opportunity for self-reflection, helping to develop strategic objectives

  • Celebrate successes amongst your team, showcasing positive examples of best practice

  • Transform good customer service into excellent customer service, giving you competitive advantage and a reassurance for existing and potential customers

  • Increase customer satisfaction, repeat business and consumer loyalty

  • Have the right to use the CSE logo on all branding and a listing in the national directory

  • Save costs due to inefficiencies, dealing with customer complaints and high staff turnover

  • Recruit and retain the best staff members, using the CSE framework as part of the interview and performance management processes

  • Drive continuous improvement and find opportunities for strategic growth

  • Refer to the achievement of a non-mandatory Standard to win contracts and tenders

  • Provide a role model for others in your sector and beyond

Certification process

  • Initial thoughts: Firstly, you need to establish that Customer Service Excellence is the right fit for your organisation and, if so, whether you will opt for a departmental or corporate assessment. You should also consider what support you will need prior to your assessment. Centre for Assessment will be happy to help you make these decisions.
  • Consider support: Although optional, Centre for Assessment strongly recommends that you have a pre-assessment. This will give you a flavour of what to expect for the main assessment and develop internal confidence.
  • Apply: Submit an application form on our website here. We can send you an application form in an alternative format, if you prefer.
  • Quotation: Your application will be reviewed by a member of our Business Development team, who will provide you with a no-obligation assessment/certification proposal.
  • Accept: Review the proposal sent by Centre for Assessment and, if you are happy, sign and return the document to us. Bear in mind, there is nothing to pay at this stage and signing the proposal simply registers your commitment to the project.
  • Make arrangements: You will be allocated a specialist, experienced assessor who will contact you to introduce themselves, discuss arrangements/support needs and book dates for the assessment.
  • Document Review: The first part of your assessment will be a review of documents submitted by you to demonstrate your compliance against the Customer Service Excellence Standard. This normally happens remotely, unless you would prefer a different arrangement.
  • On-site Assessment: Your assessor will spend time at your offices/sites/locations, talking to a range of stakeholder to gather evidence that you are meeting the Customer Service Excellence criteria. Your assessor will give you a lot more detail about what s/he would like to see during this visit prior to him/her attending.
  • Verification: Once the on-site assessment is completed, your assessor may recommend that you be recognised as compliant against the Customer Service Excellence Standard.
  • Certification: Following a review by Centre for Assessment, you will be issued a certificate that is valid for three years. You can advertise the fact that you are certified to the Standard and use the Customer Service Excellence logo on your website and elsewhere.
  • Annual Assessments: At 12 and 24 months, review visits will be completed to ensure you are still compliant with Customer Service Excellence. These will be arranged directly with your assessor.

Certification support

  • A member of our business development team will be pleased to discuss with you the accreditation process and the Standard itself, to ensure it is right for your organisation.

  • We are happy to deliver formal presentations to raise your understanding of the Standard and to answer any questions you may have.

  • In-house workshops are available to help prepare you for the assessment. These are bespoke to your particular needs and led by one of our lead assessors.

  • The optional pre-assessment can be a useful measure of your current readiness for assessment. It takes the form of a GAP analysis and provides you with a useful report of your position in relation to the Standard.

  • You will be assigned a project co-ordinator who will be your point of contact for all technical matters relating to your accreditation.

  • Once accredited, Centre for Assessment will be pleased to offer training events to support new members of your team, to refresh your knowledge of the Standard and to add further value to your service to customers.

Training courses

Centre for Assessment offers a wide range of training workshops to support your journey towards becoming certified.

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