CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS
Standards for the Telephone
The telephone is usually the first and only contact people have with County government. It is our policy to be as responsive as possible to our customers through efficient and courteous service. To this end, the following standards apply to all staff:
1. Answer the phone promptly (within three rings).
2. Answer calls whenever possible. Under normal circumstances, incoming calls should be answered when an employee is at his/her desk. Voice mail should not be used on a regular or consistent basis to avoid taking calls or talking with customers.
3. Speak clearly, in a professional, courteous manner.
4. Identify the office and your name.
5. Listen carefully and attentively. Ask probing questions. Paraphrase and verify the requests/questions as needed to fully understand the requests/questions.
6. Clarify customers’ requests and verify contact information.
7. Do not express personal opinions to customers about department or County policies or procedures.
8. Do not indicate disapproval of a customer’s request.
9. Use a voice level that does not interfere with other transactions and respect customers’ need for confidentiality.
10. Implement the adopted standards for customers with limited English proficiency or physical or mental disabilities. (LEP and ADA training will be provided.)
11. Customers should be satisfied at their first point of contact. Before transferring any calls, check to see if the person to whom the call is being transferred is at his/her desk. There should be no blind transfers. If the person is not at his/her desk, the caller should be given the choice of leaving a message, being transferred to voicemail, or taking the direct dial number and calling back at another time.
12. If you are unable to answer a question or resolve an issue to the satisfaction of a caller, you should refer the caller to another staff person in the office. If there is not another staff person available, ask for the caller’s name, number, and general aspects of the issue, and tell the caller that an appropriate staff member will follow up and assist him/her with his/her problem or concern. The customer should be called within 24 hours.
13. Ask appropriate follow-up questions or provide closing statements such as “Does this give you the information you need?” or “Please call us if you need further assistance.”
14. Respond to phone messages within 24 hours or the next business day, even if simply to acknowledge receipt of the calls.
15. Keep outgoing voicemail message current and accurately reflect your presence and ability to return calls. During absences of a day or more, personal greetings should be modified to reflect each of your absences and include: length of absence and return date, alternate point of contact, and whether messages will be responded to during your absence. Eliminate the use of non-business language in voicemail greetings.
16. When leaving messages for customers, provide your full name, phone number and time availability.
17. Check voicemail daily when on business travel or in training.
18. Clear voicemail box on a daily basis so messages can be received.
Front Desk and Information & Referral Telephone Coverage
1. Telephones (7-2500, 7-2600, 7-1000) must be answered during business hours. It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure telephone coverage. (Training will be provided.)
2. Answer calls in the order they are received. If multiple calls come in at once, ask the callers if their calls may be put on hold; wait for a response. If you must put a caller on hold, make the waiting period as brief as possible.
3. If you are assisting a walk-in customer, or if a customer comes in as the phone rings, acknowledge the customer, answer the telephone, tell the caller that a customer is waiting, and give caller the option of being put on hold or having his/her call returned.
4. Put the customers first by not engaging in personal phone calls or conversations while in the presence of customers. Internet use or other personal business should be limited at all times.
5. Maintain the confidentiality of the customers at all times, using discretion when asking questions or discussing issues.
6. Answer incoming phone calls with a consistent and professional greeting such as “County Executive’s Office. May I help you?”
CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS