Welcome to our workshop Feel the Quality. I’m Kay Grieves, Quality and Marketing Manager at University Library Services, University of Sunderland and this is Michelle Halpin Marketing Coordinator in the Quality and Marketing Team This workshop very briefly describes our journey towards the formation of our Library Quality Model. There will be two activities that centre around some of the central concepts of our model. The work we’re doing has taken over five years and is still on-going.
In the beginning…
We started our quality model work in 2007. At this time things were changing in our Library. We were experiencing a restructuring to become part a Student & Learning Support department and had a new energised directorate. The University plan was also changing to include the ‘Enhancing the Student Experience’ mission. We were also working towards a shared values culture.
Things changing on the wider horizon too: Changes in HE: paying customers Technology/ Social- Media Need for flexibility, innovation and change
Felt amongst a number of staff our culture was not helpful. Move away from: Staff who did not understand how their role fitted into the big picture and who waiting to be ‘told’ what to do. The call for a mysterious ‘ they’ who should do something about that Also the belief that we could wave a magic wand and make things happen.
We needed to remove the cultural barriers that stopped staff from being able to make things happen
Felt that a major obstacle for us was our performance model. It had been innovative in its day and had worked for us for a long time but we felt it was no longer helping us achieve our aims: Counting for counting sake Once we had counted everything we did little with the data It dwelled on process and operations And all in all it measured our success upon the notion that the more we did, the faster we did it and the more demand grew – we were doing well.
This may all sound a little negative but the great shining light was that we did have at that time was a very well embedded and embraced Customer Service ethos and this would prepare us well for our future journey.
So, where did we want to be?
We knew that we wanted to change our perspective and instead of having our processes and operations at the centre we wanted to put our customer at the heart of everything. We wanted a culture whereby we did not measure how well we were doing by how much we did, how fast or how quickly but on the Quality of our services and how much of a positive difference those services made to our customers. We wanted to measure our impact .
We needed staff to understand how they fitted into the big picture and how their role contributed to the overall quality of our services. To achieve this we needed a very new staff culture.... one where staff were happy to take ownership of our services and make them better for our customers.
We needed staff that formed good teams with strong, inspirational leaders. Who were allowed to grow and blossom. And who could take ownership and responsibility.
This we knew was not going to be easy. We would need a plan of where we wanted to go
… and we would need some tools to get us there!
First of all we gathered all of our teams together and asked ourselves: Why actually are we here? When everything else is stripped away the answer is clear – We are here for our customers
Our next question: If we look at our service afresh what are we actually here to provide? 9 key service areas Customer Care, Customer Support, Skills for Learning, Resources, Communication, Feedback, Equity, Knowing Our Customers
From this we formed 9 guiding principles.
It was clear to us that in terms of putting our customers at the heart of everything and understanding who they really are, strategic marketing held the key. No text we looked out quite did it for us.
So we invented our own ‘How do you like your eggs in the morning?’ 7 step strategic marketing toolkit. Identifying who our customers really are; employing segmentation them into those with similar needs, motivations. Shaping personalised service offers for them.
The absolute key of the toolkit – not the offers or services themselves but the benefits they bring or difference they make to our customers.
And so for 4 years every member of library staff took part in working groups to think about how we could make our 9 guiding principles a reality by: Developing our services Overcoming barriers and Creating meaningful benefit Driven services for our customers
In turn we addressed our staff-culture by encouraging staff to think, innovate and act.
To work across teams, lead teams and share.
Until they were happier to: Take ownership, Take responsibility for change and Begin to take control of their own services and Make change happen
And so in Summer 2011 we felt we were beginning to make our new Quality Model a reality amongst our teams. Our next challenge was how to share our commitment to Quality with our customers.
Our first step was to transform our 9 Quality principles into 9 Quality Promises.
The way we decided we wanted to share them was by nurturing real conversations with our customers – at meaningful times and in meaningful ways to them. Through embracing new technology and social media which would enable real conversations to take place. Ones where we could listen.
To communicate the benefits these Quality Promises will bring to them by articulating these benefits to them.
And that would enable customers to talk to each other and share their thoughts and ideas about our service. Enabling us to capture impact.
...and most importantly share our impact evidence customers examples of the difference we have made with others to make our benefit messages even stronger.
And so we delivered our Quality Model Conversational Campaign of 2 011-2012.
We have all developed new skills and are continuing to do so.
2012-13 is about embedding our Quality Promises conversations even deeper into our teams and structures.
Kay Grieves & Michelle Halpin "Feel the quality: placing the quality of your customers' experience at the heart of your library service"