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Using Customer Feedback for Continuous Improvement

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The Chippewa County Department of Human Services (CCDHS) in Wisconsin works like most other government human services groups, providing child protection services, foster and respite care, elder abuse care, and more. However, they recently launched an innovative plan to gather customer feedback and use the data they collect to support improvement. From September 1-15, CCDHS is asking residents of the county to complete a short survey about the department's strengths and weaknesses as well as what services they need from the human services group. This is the first time the county has conducted such a survey.

Pauline Spiegel, consumer service team member at CCDHS, says, "The survey was created to obtain data and feedback from the consumers we serve, so we can see the areas that we need improvement, see how we're doing so that we can align with our consumer needs. And continue to improve and provide quality customer service."

This is all music to my ears. My guess is that they will receive diverse feedback--some good and some bad. While at times customer feedback may be hard to hear or read, one must not reject what customers have said, but use the information to guide improvements across the organization.

Businesses have been utilizing workforce analytics along with customer feedback and using it to support improvement efforts for some time. Now, many state and local government departments, professional associations, hospitals, and nonprofits are doing the same.

What does this have to do what talent management? Everything. The role of HR departments is evolving (or should be) from transactional groups to strategic change agents. While it is important to gather feedback from external customers, customers also exist within an organization. Imagine collecting internal voice of the customer data before designing HR processes or the department as a whole. The holy grain of HR departments is one that exists to strategically serve customers and does it well.

I will share more examples of how different organizations are using voice of the customer feedback in improvement efforts in a future blog. If you are aware of districts surveying customers and using the feedback in district improvement efforts please share these stories in the comments section or tweet me at @EmilyDouglasHC. I am always looking for best practice examples to share with readers!

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