Greenwich CAN get satisfaction
As my office is assembling the final report for FY19 Community First Goals, I can’t help but reflect on the tremendous progress the town has made on customer service. Upon entering office, the town didn’t have a formal customer service training program and was operating in deep silos at top levels of government.
In response, I instituted monthly department head meetings to promote cross- departmental dialogue and to ensure coordination of efforts. Together, we started the “We’re Listening” note cards for patrons of town hall to provide immediate feedback about their experience. By 2012, we grew that initiative into a formal, coordinated customer service program known as Community First. Since its inception, the town has trained all frontline staff in customer service best practices, implemented a biennial , and has set and tracked customer service goals for every department annually. With success in providing improved customer service, this initiative has transitioned the focus to process improvement (Lean Six Sigma). The Town has trained almost all leadership and supervisory staff in Lean Six Sigma. Through annual performance evaluations, department heads are encouraged to set process improvement goals.
All this effort has translated into success for the town on many fronts. Town staff and services score highly on the Resident Satisfaction Survey, a trend that has increased over the last 6 years. Land Use and permitting staff scored well in the customer service areas of the Permit Application Customer Satisfaction Survey and Process Improvement Analysis. The data and feedback received as a part of these efforts have influenced operational and budgetary decisions and encouraged implementation of modern platforms for engagement, including the design of the new town website and the AccessGreenwich mobile app. The app allows residents to submit issues directly to departments.
Notably, with a focus on process improvement and waste reduction has the town is accomplishing more, with less. When adjusted for inflation, the town is spending less on services like general government, public works, parks and recreation, and public health than 10 years ago, without major service reduction. Additionally, the town has reduced headcount by 43.46 full-time equivalent positions since 2008.
Our town is fortunate to have a highly professional workforce that embodies the meaning of good government. I could not have accomplished all that has transpired over the last 12 years had it not been for the public servants who have dedicated their careers to serving our community. I am proud to say that town hall is more unified and efficient than it has ever been.
Peter J. Tesei is First Selectman of Greenwich.
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