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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office of Management & Finance

Trusted partner, creating smart solutions for the City and our community.

main: 503-823-5288

Revenue: 503-823-5157

1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 901, Portland, OR 97204

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Overview of the OMF Customer Service Improvement Initiative

 

Summary

OMF Customer Service Improvement Initiative

2005-2007

 

As part of its ongoing commitment to improving customer service, in 2005, OMF contracted with Ron Sarazin of Olympic Performance, Inc. to initiate a multi-year program designed to enhance the customer service culture and develop better customer service skills among OMF employees. 

 

Phase I of the Initiative focused on providing basic customer service training to line staff of OMF and developing customer service focused "rapid process improvements" for selected OMF bureaus.  Additionally, the contract provided for a customer service satisfaction survey targeted to key customers of OMF. 

 

Positive results from Phase I included nearly eighty OMF employees from a variety of bureaus and divisions attending basic customer service training.  

 

Based partly on results from the key customer survey, the Bureau of Human Resources and Bureau of Purchases participated in the Rapid Process Improvement (RPI) sessions on recruitment and selection processes.  BHR adopted and implemented a number of changes as a result.  As a follow-up to the recommendations developed through the RPI, Purchases elected to do an additional more in-depth focused review of the bureau which was completed outside of this Initiative.

 

Phase II of the Customer Service Improvement Initiative continued the efforts begun in the first phase and included  a second customer service satisfaction survey, customer service training for employees, and Rapid Process Improvement (RPI) sessions.  Phase II also began integrating some of the suggestions developed through the Bureau Innovation Project #7 and the City's Customer Service Advisory Committee (CSAC).

 

An additional forty employees attended the customer service trainings, and process improvement sessions were completed for the Bureau of Technology Services, the Regulatory Section of the Revenue Bureau, and the OMF Leadership Team.

 

Recommendations for changes to processes and organizational re-design in the Revenue bureau were identified as a result of these efforts.

 

The BTS effort, which included participation of a large internal work group, ultimately led to significant changes not only to bureau processes, but to a larger reorganization of the entire bureau and adoption of a new business plan with greater emphasis on providing customer satisfaction.

 

The OMF Leadership Team has adopted several new processes to enhance the organizational framework of OMF, improve information sharing and internal communications that ensure a coordinated response for delivery of better customer service.  Additionally, they began a review of potential metrics for customer service and adopted a new customer service standard for responding to enquiries for service.  It states simply:

  • We will acknowledge customer service inquiries no later than the end of the next business day.
  • We will offer solution options when possible.
  • We will keep our customers aware of their options and timing throughout the process.
  • Timelines for resolution will be based on agreements with our customers.
  • We will honor agreements made with our customers.

A key result of this Initiative has been the increased awareness on the part of OMF managers and supervisors of the need for continuing customer service enhancement.  Several bureaus and divisions of OMF now do regular customer service training and surveying at a more specific bureau level in addition to the overall OMF survey.  One of the OMF bureau directors now sits on the board of the City's Customer Service Advisory Committee.