Job quality and customer service
Customer service is fundamental to your role and is the primary function of your organisation. Your customers include clients, families and carers, your own organisation and any other individuals or organisations for which you provide some form of service.
Requirements for service to clients are detailed in Commonwealth and State legislation and associated service standards that have been discussed previously. They may also be defined in the organisation’s policy and procedure manual.
All staff within an organisation are bound by the same standards for job quality and customer service. However, at an individual level, quality of service is also measured by an extra range of indicators. These should include, but not be limited to:
- the quality of the relationship between support workers and clients
- the timeliness of the support provided
- the responsiveness of support workers to the changing needs of their clients
- the flexibility of support workers
- the quality of communication between support workers and others
- adherence to the organisation’s code of conduct
- support workers’ ability to work effectively as part of a team.
For some service providers, quality is about whether the outcome is achieved, such as the achievement of targets for people placed in jobs or integrated into the community. However, for most service providers quality is about client satisfaction – satisfaction that clients are getting the support they need to achieve their goals, and that they are being treated with dignity and respect. For templates and samples go to the Community Door website.
To maintain job quality, you need to understand clearly what the quality requirements of your job are. You can do this by examining your job description or duty statement or talking with your supervisor or manager. Quality requirements may include such factors as:
- being aware of workplace policies and procedures
- being aware of your own job role and responsibilities
- actively following workplace policies and procedures
- monitoring your effectiveness
- reporting any changes
- discussing the need to do things differently from usual with your supervisor or work group
- reporting any inability to meet work requirements
- working cooperatively with others
- contributing to the development of your work group and organisation.
Dealing with unmet work requirements
When you are working in a direct support role, unmet work requirements are likely to mean clients’ needs or organisational expectations are not being met. This may take the form of missed appointments, file notes not kept up-to-date, or lack of follow-up on action promised to clients.
While unmet work requirements can usually be avoided through good time management and planning, there will be instances where it is not physically possible to complete all work tasks in the time available. You should always deal with this situation before the event and take appropriate action, for example:
- negotiating a change to work tasks with your supervisor
- asking for assistance
- rescheduling appointments with plenty of notice.
In deciding on the best action to take, you need to be clear on the priorities for your time. It is likely that the needs of the client are considered a higher priority than file notes: however, it is important to check with your supervisor.
If you are regularly unable to meet your work requirements, it is important to discuss the reasons for this with your supervisor. If expectations are excessively high or you do not have the skills or confidence to meet work requirements, you should raise this with your supervisor.