Providing a Great Service, Gaining a Great Reputation
What are the elements of providing a great service?
The first step in providing a really great service is in making sure that all of the
machinery that underpins what we do is in the best of health and fit for purpose.
The principle behind distributed web authoring is sound. It takes away the ‘choke
point’ of the web team. It is easy to understand. People make content, get it approved,
push it through a workflow and at the end publishing occurs. While it seems
straightforward in practice it rarely is. Work is undertaken by people, who despite
attending training on the content management system, make mistakes. They are human.
We all make mistakes. But currently we have to reject an awful lot of requests for
change because people either do not understand the guidelines and processes we have
created or we are not communicating them effectively enough.
People Make Content
In the distributed content model, the people responsible for making
http://www.barnet.gov.uk a success are the people on the ground working for Barnet
council. We are facilitators and guardians of that process. What can we do to improve
our reputation in this area?
- Candidate Vetting
o Making sure we get the right people trained on Livelink
o Pushing back against unsuitable candidates
o Expecting a basic level of IT literacy
- Taking a look at how we train
o Are we getting our message across?
o Looking at the candidate journey through each stage of the training
process. Are we missing something? After all, if we put rubbish
into the system we will get rubbish out of the system.
o Do we test them and mark them?
o Do we need to do something different?
o Is our manual fit for purpose? If not, can we change it to reflect
what we are trying to do now? Is it enough to just teach them how
to edit and create pages? Do we need to spend more time explaining
- Following up
o Do we make sure our policy and guideline documents are easy to
o Should they be bullet-pointed and in the manual for quick reference?
o Do we personally call people after training to find out how it’s
going? Or email them?
- What do we say and how do we say it?
o Making sure we track changes in authors physical location
o Do managers tell us when their author has moved on?
o When authors do move on, is their knowledge about Livelink
captured and re-used?
o Once a month Author/Moderator meetings
o Once a month email communication.
Getting It Approved
In the distributed content model, getting web pages approved for release to the main site
means checking content meets publishing guidelines. As web authors, we have to walk
the tightrope between enforcing the guidelines of best practice and using our discretion
to make a decision. What can we do to improve our reputation in this area?
- Judge the tone
o How has the request come in and what is the tone of voice?
o Guidelines versus discretion. When can you go beyond what is
expected to give really great service?
o Is the person asking for the second or third time? Do they
understand what it is they have to do for approval?
o Just who is asking? What is their role in the workflow? Do they sit
outside the workflow? Do they understand why it’s necessary to
even have a workflow?
o Where do they sit in the organisation? Consistency in approach is
important but exceptions should be made for opinion-makers.
- Speed and Accuracy
o All workflow tasks to be completed in 72 hours. This is a current
SLA. Can anyone think of any particular task related to web
authoring that may take more than 72 hours? Or even more than 24
hours? This may be related to what exactly it is that we are asking
web authors to create. Should they submit a new page request
before there is any content ready? Probably not.
o Checking our workflow items regularly and killing processes that
o Regularly checking and reviewing our guidelines. Are they helping
people get items approved? Are they necessary and fit for the
purpose of communicating with the people of Barnet?
- Cutting up the work
o Making sure that bigger tasks are broken down into smaller chunks
and planned for.
o Understanding the implications of making changes.
o Facilitating the creation of new content areas and advising on the
guidelines proactively at the beginning of a project.
o Using your discretion when people come to you for help in setting
up new areas or pages. Pushing people back through approved
author / moderators and explaining the reasons why. Offering to
help them link up. Facilitating a meeting between them. Going the
Reputation is Important
Each of us is responsible for how the web team is viewed within the context of the
organisation. We should be up for making a valuable contribution to every day life in
Barnet. We should exceed expectation where we can and try to over-deliver with our
levels of service. Over time, if we improve in these areas, we will gain control of our
reputation and come to be viewed positively. If we do nothing, the business will
continue to define our image as it sees fit. It is far easier to get things achieved when
you have a good reputation and are thought of positively. People will want to work
with us constructively. They will come to us expecting a great service and in turn they
shall receive it. Reputation begins and ends with the little things.