Government Calls on Osborne Expertise to Help Design New Apprenticeship

Osborne Property Services (OPSL) has been announced as one of just 20 UK businesses invited by the government to use its expertise to help develop an apprenticeship in customer service.

The news comes as OPSL’s customers have given its services a ringing endorsement in an independent survey conducted by the Institute of Customer Service. The survey found customer satisfaction with OPSL hit 82.25 out of 100, up almost 20 points in the past year.

The new Customer Service Apprenticeship Standard is part of the government ‘trailblazer’ drive to modernise apprenticeships in partnership with employers and to ensure young people have the skills to succeed.

Nick Sterling, managing director of OPSL, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to help shape the future of the British economy in an area as important as customer service.

‘Osborne is already a committed employer of apprentices, but we don’t see this simply as getting people the right qualifications. We believe that great customer service is at the heart of any successful business and, as our most recent Institute of Customer Service satisfaction scores demonstrate, we are delivering on this pledge for our clients.

‘We look forward to working with government and our peers in other sectors in designing a customer service apprenticeship that gives people the best-possible chance of a fulfilling and successful career,’ Nick added.

Nick Boles MP, skills minister at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: ‘I congratulate the Customer Service Trailblazer employer group for their key role it is playing in developing new top-quality apprenticeships. Through the trailblazers initiative the organisations, in collaboration with their industry partners, will give people the skills they need to thrive and our businesses need to compete.’

In awarding OPSL a customer satisfaction score of 82.25, the Institute of Customer Service interviewed a variety of OPSL’s customers across key delivery areas including people, processes and strategy and culture.

The result compares favourably with customer satisfaction scores by other major businesses, as separately assessed by the Institute’s six-monthly national UK Customer Satisfaction Index. The most recent UKCSI, published in July and made up of 40,000 customer responses nationwide, shows retailers John Lewis (87.7) and Amazon (87.5) are the UK’s best at providing good customer service.

Organisations in the UKCSI that receive similar scores to OPSL include Honda and Boots, which scored 82.5 and 82.9 respectively.

 Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, said: ‘Through the adoption of the Institute’s UKCSI Business Benchmarking assessment, OPSL is showing its dedication to improving customer service and bringing it to the forefront of the business. It has made substantial improvements in its scores this year and we hope that it continues to put a consistent focus on customer service.’

As part of its continuing plans to improve its customer service, OPSL aims to achieve the prestigious ServiceMark accreditation for customer service by the end of 2014. This world-class standard is awarded to few organisations and OPSL is confident it will demonstrate the extent to which customer experience is truly embedded in the way it conducts business.

OPSL will be sharing the lessons from its work with the Institute with housing providers at a customer services event on 13 November in London. Speakers include Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, Graca Machado, OPSL’s director of customer service and David Williams, an associate consultant at Campbell Tickell and expert on service improvement.