We've been working with various cities in Denmark to help local governments give businesses better service. Vordingborg, a city council in eastern Denmark needed to do more to attract businesses to the area. They felt the teams that approve allowances for building or expanding premises, or issue environmental certificates, for example, could improve. Businesses had the perception that staff were too focused on case management and meeting the city's legal obligations. What's more, there had been problems with managing businesses' expectations in terms of how long things might take and a lack of personal attention.
They asked us to provide a culture change programme. We needed to make sure the culture change programme reflected employees' everyday experience and the dilemmas they face. So we started with leadership workshops and focus groups with employees.
We followed this up, over four months, with a series of day long seminars for all employees. Local companies and political leaders attended to give an external perspective and highlight critical points in the customer journey. We also used actors to role play real work dilemmas. That meant people could experiment with different communication styles and the sessions gave teams the confidence to find the right balance between offering advice and implementing the law.
Feedback from Vordingborg shows that city staff now have a better understanding of customer service and know to change their structure and processes to meet business needs. 80 per cent of the participants believe the programme gave them new ideas for providing a professional service and 80 per cent believe they now have the right tools for giving companies advice.