Customer Services

Customer Services slow this lunchtime

If you click on the Customer Services category link on the right hand menu you will see that I regularly check the performance of our Customer Services organisation.

I did one of my mystery shops this lunchtime. It was perhaps predictable that lunchtime at month end and week end would be a bit slow.

I arrived at 12.10pm. There were 6 or 7 people waiting for the meeters and greeters but it only took a minute to get past them so I got in the queue at 12.11pm. Inside there were about 50 people waiting which is quite busy compared to previous visits. There were two cash office windows open with two customers being served and no-one waiting. The perking permit queue (I always put myself in this queue) was 6 people but it went up to 10 whilst I was there.

I was seen at 12.34pm so had a wait of 23 minutes. Long but in no way hideous considering it was three times over a bad time to visit. There were 5 staff covering parking with two off for their lunch break.

On my way out I used the loo. It was totally acceptable. Certainly as good as or better than the typical work place loos I have ever used. Certainly better than most pub/restaurant loos.

If you want to avoid the queues try paying PCNs, buying permits and vouchers online here. I just ordered some vouchers. Very easy. I am afraid I have had cause to pay a few tickets on line recently. Again, very easy.

Update: My vouchers arrived Wednesday morning (4th November). Less than three working days. Not bad.

2 replies on “Customer Services slow this lunchtime”

From my experience of using this type of service with several councils I will do anything to avoid going to council premises to avoid queues. Your reports generally show a good service, and on the very rare occasions when I have used the Ealing Service I have not had a problem or had to wait long. Or I have been so conditioned to wait, that I feel I got dealt with at Ealing in a reasonable timescale.

I was glad to see earlier that you are trying to get the training done so the staff can multitask a bit more. What is more and more said generally about state and utility departments these days, is that courtesy is increasing, but the service delivery still has way to go.

While I am sure that you are quite right to keep up the checks on this particular service, which now very much of the time seems to fill you with satisfaction, is it not time for you to report to us on another area on a regular basis which is in your portfolio?

Else, might you be in danger of trumpet blowing?



I had never used the customer services people in Perceval House before I took the service over having lived in Ealing for 21 years at that point. I once visited the old parking reception in “The Village” – an unpleasant experience, I remember a queue snaking around a tiny room and pretty grumpy staff. I wanted to keep a record of my own direct experience so that I had my own personal yardstick to measure complaints against. As it happens I see very few complaints about customer services. Those that do come through concern failure to make call backs and follow up.

The other reason I do the customer services thing and don’t do so much stuff on other services is because often they talk for themselves. Recently we have modernised half of our libraries and users can see these changes for themselves. We have consistently invested in our parks and again I think users appreciate that. Last year this administration invested some £13 million of capital in our cultural and leisure facilities for which I am responsible. £2.9 million of that was spent in parks. This year we plan to invest some £21.5 million. This includes another £2.9 million for parks and £12 million for the new Northolt Leisure Centre.

I had better stop there or you will accuse me of blowing my own trumpet again. Toot, toot!


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