LibraryCustomer Service Excellence (CSE)

About Customer Service Excellence

The University's Library & Information Resources division (LIR) first achieved Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation in November 2019.

Customer Service Excellence is a national standard that was introduced by the UK Government. CSE ensures organisations put the customer at the heart of everything they do. They adapt their services and facilities in line with customer needs and preferences. We call this 'customer focus'.

Since first being accredited in 2019, we've retained our CSE accreditation each year. Not only that but we've continued to build on our success and now exceed the CSE standard in 20 of 57 elements.

CSE is:

  • a driver of continuous improvement - we self-assess our capability in relation to customer focussed service delivery. This helps us to identify areas and methods for improvement.
  • a skills development tool - our staff can explore and get new skills in the area of customer focus and customer engagement. Through this, we can build our capacity for delivering improved services.
  • independent validation of achievement - allowing us to secure formal accreditation. This is independently re-assessed each year.

Our CSE accreditation

In January 2023, Library & Information Resources (LIR) was re-accredited for a further three years with the Customer Service Excellence Standard, and we had an Annual Review in November 2023.

LIR was found to be compliant in all areas of the assessment and exceeded compliance requirements–known as Compliance Plus–in 20 of the 57 elements. This means we are exceeding the requirements of the standard, and are sector-leading in those areas.

During assessment and reviews our performance is measured against 5 criteria:

  1. Customer Insight - assessment feedback for this criterion includes: "There continue to be clear responses to customer need, based on proactively seeking their views on specific aspects of the service."
  2. The Culture of the Organisation - assessment feedback for this criterion includes: "Insights from staff are integral to the service and colleagues unanimously agreed this to be the case. The level of consultation with customer-facing staff is imperative to service developments."
  3. Information and Access - assessment feedback for this criterion includes: "Strong improvements have been made to the comfort of customers and this was reflected in their feedback…students appreciated the introduction of far more sockets, more comfortable seating and the wide variety of spaces to study, to suit need."
  4. Delivery (how we achieve our aims) - assessment feedback for this criterion includes: "Complaints management is a strength of the service, subject to regular review and evaluation."
  5. Timeliness and Quality of Service - assessment feedback for this criterion includes: "Overall satisfaction remains high."

View our CSE certificate and our CSE Compliance Plus certificate.

Elaine Blaxter, our University Librarian, says of Customer Service Excellence:

“I am passionate about delivering excellent customer service to every visitor to the Library. All Library & Information Resources staff are very proud of their commitment to delivering an excellent customer experience. They endeavour daily to improve the way that we do things. However, we are not complacent that everything is perfect.

We have decided to challenge ourselves by testing what we do against an established external standard. This means we can both benchmark and learn from others, and identify and address any gaps in service that may exist.

This will ensure we continue our journey of ongoing improvement and remain responsive to the changing needs of our customers.”

Compliance Plus

LIR has been awarded Compliance Plus in the following elements:

  • 1.1.2: We have developed customer insight about our customer groups to better understand their needs and preferences.
  • 1.1.3: We make particular efforts to identify hard to reach and disadvantaged groups and individuals and have developed our services in response to their specific needs.
  • 1.3.1: We use reliable and accurate methods to measure customer satisfaction on a regular basis.
  • 1.3.5: We have made positive changes to services as a result of analysing customer experience, including improved customer journeys.
  • 2.1.6: We empower and encourage all employees to actively promote and participate in the customer-focused culture of our organisation.
  • 2.2.1: We can demonstrate our commitment to developing and delivering customer focused services through our recruitment, training and development policies for staff.
  • 2.2.3: We prioritise customer focus at all levels of our organisation and evaluate individual and team commitment through the performance management system.
  • 2.2.4: We can demonstrate how customer-facing staffs’ insight and experience is incorporated into internal processes, policy development and service planning.
  • 2.2.5: We value the contribution our staff make to delivering customer focused services, and leaders, managers and staff demonstrate these behaviours.
  • 3.2.1: We provide our customers with the information they need in ways which meet their needs and preferences, using a variety of appropriate channels.
  • 3.2.2: We take reasonable steps to make sure our customers have received and understood the information we provide.
  • 3.3.1: We make our services easily accessible to all customers through provision of a range of alternative channels.
  • 3.3.2: We evaluate how customers interact with the organisation through access channels and we use this information to identify possible service improvements and offer better choices.
  • 3.3.3: We ensure that where customers can visit our premises in person facilities are as clean and comfortable as possible.
  • 3.4.1: We have made arrangements with other providers and partners to offer and supply co-ordinated services, and these arrangements have demonstrable benefits for our customers.
  • 3.4.3: We interact within wider communities and we can demonstrate the ways in which we support those communities.
  • 4.1.2: We monitor and meet our standards, key departmental and performance targets, and we tell our customers about our performance.
  • 4.2.4: We have developed and learned from best practice identified within and outside our organisation, and we publish our examples externally where appropriate.
  • 4.3.2: We have an easy to use complaints procedure, which includes a commitment to deal with problems fully and solve them wherever possible within a reasonable time limit.
  • 5.2.2: We identify individual customer needs at the first point of contact with us and ensure that an appropriate person who can address the reason for contact deals with the customer.