Customer care trial at Dingwall and Kingussie planning offices (30/01/12)

The Highland Council is eager to improve the service it provides to customers with planning and building standards enquiries by channelling routine enquiries via its Service Points and Service Centre.

From Monday 6 February an appointment system is to be trialled in all planning and building standards customers at Dingwall and Kingussie planning offices.

The Council believes this will not only help the public by improving customer service and efficiency but will free up the time of specialist staff to focus on processing current and pending planning and building standards cases.

The new approach is being trialled at the Council’s Area Planning Offices in Dingwall and Kingussie and lessons learned will assist with the potential roll-out of a similar approach across the remainder of Planning and Building Standards area offices.

Stuart Black, Director of Highland Council’s Planning and Development Service said: “Research has shown that the majority of first time enquiries to planning and building standards offices are simple requests for forms, support in the application process or progress updates on pending applications.  We believe these types of enquiries can be dealt with more efficiently and effectively via the Customer Services Network, leaving the specialists in the service to deal with current and pending cases.”

Customers will now be able to book an appointment by telephoning 01349 886608 if they require a meeting with a Planner or Building Standards Officer in these area offices.  For on-going applications, existing customers will still be able to liaise with their case officer via email, telephone and booking an appointment to see them. Customer Services advisors will be provided with in-depth training to ensure that they have the appropriate knowledge to deal with enquiries over the phone and at Service Points.

A ‘Duty Officer’ will also be available to deal with more complex enquiries or book an appointment with the relevant case officer. Customer and staff surveys will be used to gauge the pilot over the coming months.

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