Skip to Main Content

Customer Service Excellence 2021


2020 to 2021

“Creating memorable and enjoyable experiences for our students, staff and local community is at the heart of our ambition to drive customer service excellence.

We are ambitious about the future with a desire to deliver continuous customer service improvements. We fully recognise that it is our culture and the hard work of our people which enables us to continue to provide the best customer service to our University-wide community.

True to our values and culture, our teams have continued to collaborate, share their strengths and demonstrate complete commitment to our University and each other during 2020/2021.

Indeed, one excellent example of collaboration between cross service areas is the  tremendous effort that was put in by all teams to create two asymptomatic test centres, on campus, within just a few weeks. The enormous commitment shown by all enabled our students to return home safely to their families.

We have ensured our campus continued with all critical and essential operations as well as preparing for the return of students, based on a new normal.”

Jo Hynes
Deputy Director Estates and Facilities

Our aims

Our key service areas are committed to meeting the key Customer Service accreditation criteria.

Customer Insight

We effectively identify customers, consult with them in a meaningful way and efficiently measure the outcomes of service provided.

The Culture of an Organisation

We are committed to building and fostering a truly customer-focused culture throughout our organisation.

Information and Access

We understand that customers value accurate and comprehensive information delivered via the appropriate channel.

Delivery and Operations

We know that listening to our customers’ views is as important as achieving our business aims and key performance targets.

Timeliness and Service Quality

The promptness of initial contact and sticking to agreed timescales is crucial to keeping our customers satisfied.

Our Key Service Areas

Read how our key service areas have been driving forward customer service through 2020 to 2021

Catering, Conferencing and Print

Our impact

“Despite the unpredictability of the Covid 19 pandemic, our customer-focused culture continued to be at the heart of our service delivery, embracing the need to think differently, identifying opportunities to engage with the local and civic community and supporting colleagues across the University.

This year has presented the University with unrivalled challenges yet the staff in Catering, Conferencing and Print have been incredibly supportive to each other and to our students and colleagues across the University.

I am extremely proud of the way the team have embraced the changes, expressly their commitment to the values that continue to be lived daily and their contribution to delivering customer-focused services is acknowledged across the University community.”

Beverley Kenny MBE
Deputy Director of Catering, Conferencing and Print

A member of the Refectory staff attending to a customer

Highlights of our commitment to our customers:

  • 40,000 bed nights to boost healthcare provision

    In partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, we welcomed doctors from Pakistan to start their two-year residency, and at the start of the pandemic, a further 400 joined the programme from India, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. So far, we have provided more than 40,000 bed nights, welcomed, and supported radiographers, doctors, nurses, and critical care staff who will work within the Trust to boost the healthcare provision of the wider Leeds community.

  • Supporting justice system in Leeds

    Cloth Hall Court was transformed into a “Nightingale Court” during the summer of 2020, hearing business and property cases to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.

  • New welcome service for international students

    A new ‘welcome service’ for our international students was operationalised. Putting our students first, we accompanied them from the airport to Leeds. Provided a welcome bag, a sim card, and an isolation box containing food and toiletries, bedding and kitchen packs. Once on campus, students had access to an online platform where they received peer to peer support, regular updates, and pastoral support.

  • COVID-safe catering service

    We kept our customers safe in our café facilities that remained open through effective safety guidance and extended the opening of Hugo, our catering van on campus, as more customers appreciated being able to order a takeaway coffee without going indoors. We changed the deli(very) hospitality menus and offered individually packaged lunches and snack items. Our chefs took part in cooking demonstrations from their home kitchens in the early days of Lockdown. The Refectory team made daily food deliveries for catered students in isolation.

  • Supporting staff and students in the shift to home working

    Print, Copy and Mail have been key to the University’s business continuity. They scanned and redistributed thousands of items of legal and financial documentation as well as coordinating the delivery of all IT equipment to members of staff and students working from home.

Sport and Physical Activity

Our impact

“Over the past few months, staff within the Sport & Physical Activity Service have spent time reflecting on the experiences we have been through since March 2020. The overwhelming consensus is that we have a team of agile and resilient staff who have been able to adapt their approach and react in a timely way to the complexities of Government and University guidance. With an open-minded approach to our roles, we worked hard to understand the needs of others. Throughout, the team undertook new and additional duties, stretching themselves and going above and beyond for the Service and our customers.

I would also like to thank everyone for their significant hard work and commitment and I’m proud to say the commitment and integrity shown by the team has underpinned the achievements of the Sport and Physical Activity Service over the past year.

We will continue to look after one another, to collaborate with others and we look forward to building back to a better future with continued improvements and new facility additions. ”

Suzanne Glavin
Head of Sport and Physical Activity Services

A member of the Edge staff cleaning the gym equipment

Highlights of our commitment to our customers:

  • A year in Sport and Physical Activity

    Over the past year, our sports facilities have played a significant role in the local and national response to Covid 19 including the Gryphon Sport Centre being used as a Covid 19 testing site, Hall one at The Edge being used as part of a national vaccination trial and Hall 2 being used as an asymptomatic testing site.  We also moved our entire LEED Discovery module portfolio, exercise classes, physical activity interventions, physiotherapy, and sport and conditioning consultation from in-person to online delivery.

  • Responding to challenges

    Our staff prepared facilities to enable student-athletes to train, developed a bespoke First Aid qualification aimed at our student clubs – using a combination of in-person and online delivery and delivered a series of engaging programmes of activity for students who stayed in Leeds. Staff from SPA were part of a wider University project group that came together to set up and deliver two asymptomatic testing centres. In just three weeks, this group set up two mass testing centres across different sites, recruited and trained a workforce of 200.

  • Future opportunity

    Looking forward, £4 million of capital investment has been committed to match £4 million of external Football Foundation funding. This will allow us to build three new full-size artificial football pitches, an associated pavilion and car parking. This investment is key in helping us maintain an excellent student experience where more students and student clubs can play.

  • A community-wide approach

    We have become much more effective at communicating with large numbers of students and our partners in Leeds University Union have valued our leadership on the delivery of our series of Return to Play webinars. There has been lots of the important informal communication taking place throughout the pandemic including socials, virtual Christmas party, race nights and quizzes amongst other things.

  • Communication wins

    Our customers continued to tell us how much they valued our approach to communicating with them, including the timeliness and quality of information of communications, the efforts that went into producing a bespoke customer reopening video and our overall focus on health and safety. Our use of the Facilities Directorate SMS system has been well received, ensuring that all members of staff are in receipt of the key messages and information. We also adopted a flexible approach to communicating with our team using email, Facebook, WhatsApp groups and the phone!

Marketing, Sales and Communications

Our impact

“During this difficult year, our team has remained committed to the values and culture of our organisation and continued to demonstrate these behaviours every day. This positive culture helped the team to cope with the many challenges they have faced and ensured that service levels were maintained to the very best of our abilities.

This has been an incredibly challenging year and I am very proud of the hard work of the team to respond to the many demands created by the pandemic. Their dedication to supporting and delivering excellent marketing and communications work for our many and varied clients, under huge time pressures has ensured that the levels of customer experience have remained high. We look forward to continuing to deliver innovative and creative work for our customers in the forthcoming year. ”

Sue Pimblett
FD Senior Marketing, Sales and Communications Manager

Young man working on his laptop

Highlights of our commitment to our customers:

  • Going the extra mile

    The dedication to go the extra mile was evident throughout the year but in particular supporting the early lockdown period when campus needed to close and quickly implement social distancing measures. The team quickly developed and rolled out a safety campaign that could be understood by our University community, delivered reassurance communications and helped manage the wide range of customer enquiries.

  • Teamworking culture

    Establishing more regular communication sessions with the team each week, additional 1-1’s, virtual coffee breaks, helped to keep the team informed and fostered an even greater teamworking culture. Our new guest speaker/training slot to our weekly breakfast meetings helped to forge new relationships with key figures across the University and develop team knowledge and skills.

  • Innovative ways of working

    As we have developed new digital channels to help keep in touch with customers, so has our need to continually train our staff on the use of these, from launching strategies in new online platforms, delivering webinars for Open Days, to filming and streaming live exercise classes.

    The team used the digital tool Miro to hold customer market research workshops. This interactive whiteboard brought people together online in a creative space and through virtual sessions to help develop new café brands, overcome barriers to engagement in programmes and understand changes to consumer behaviour to shape longer-term product developments such as virtual fitness offers.

  • Instant communications

    The team were committed to providing updated statements from service areas within 48 hours, so customers understood the implications and impact of Government statements on them. Streamlined communication channels allowed the team to point customers to a single source of truth, complete with up-to-date FAQ’s, which helped reduce confusion. The team were quick to innovate and develop new interfaces for customers; in just a two-month period the team completely changed how we support University Open Days, from an in-person offer to a digital-only offer, all whilst retaining a high-quality proposition for prospective students.

  • Engaging everyone

    We are passionate that our services can be used by as many of our customers as possible, that we communicate effectively and that we make sure nobody is excluded from accessing important information. Throughout the last 18 months we have worked hard on ensuring all our websites and web documents achieve the ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, level AA’. This has been even more important this year given that websites have been used as the key single source of truth for important Covid 19 related messages and information.

Estates and Facilities

Our impact

“I am extremely proud of all the staff within our service, for their tireless commitment to keeping our students, staff and each other safe. Whether colleagues have been part of the first line critical response on campus or had to adapt and take on additional work from home, the performance demonstrated for the greater good has been exceptional.

The teams have become adept at flexing operational plans to meet with external guidance which has changed on a regular basis whilst keeping student and customer experience at the heart of our approaches.

It is highly motivating to see our leaders, managers and their teams focus on the future, in some ways as a result of the pandemic, but also taking advantage of the opportunities to accelerate change and innovation at a pace we may not have been able to before.

I would also like to thank all our staff and colleagues for their significant hard work and commitment. We should never lose our ability to look after one another and must look forward to a brighter, better future! ”

Jo Hynes
Deputy Director Estates and Facilities

A photograph of the University precinct, including a large 'Please keep your distance' sign

Highlights of our commitment to our customers:

  • Making connections

    Staying connected with our staff, especially those who were working from home, or required to come back to campus sooner than others, was a high priority. Contact was maintained through group online meetings, providing FAQ’s, newsletters, and group SMS messaging. Virtual platforms brought teams together to deliver projects and strengthened working relationships with partners in Human Resources, Health, Wellbeing and Safety and our Trade Union colleagues.

  • Going above and beyond

    The review of Cleaning Service’s materials and equipment and improved staff pride through new uniforms and re-training, put the Service in an advantageous position to design and implement an enhanced service level agreement across the University. Following detailed risk assessment, cleaning activities have increased by 50% to reduce the risks of transmission and to inspire confidence in our students, staff, and visitors that they are working or learning in a safe and healthy environment.

    The team also provided a safe environment for the children who are part of our community. Working in partnership with Bright Beginnings, Cleaning Services delivered a deep clean of the facility and took over the delivery of daily cleaning services to the nursery free of charge for the entire year.

  • Facilities staff

    Our facilities assistants have shown their complete commitment to staff and students, working in new areas such as libraries and realigning with Security colleagues. They are well placed and well prepared to adapt the services we offer as we move towards a blended future learning and working environment.

  • Keeping campus safe

    The Security Service have maintained the physical security of the campus as well as the safety, welfare and support to staff and students who continued to undertake essential research and learning. The team handled a high volume of unprecedented calls and enquiries from staff, students, and parents. This resulted in the team making quick and effective changes such as the ability for students to Facetime a member of the team for help but were unable to meet due to self-isolation or any other concerns.

    The team are keen to reach students through a digital approach with online safety videos and case studies as well as the face-to-face inductions and advice which will continue to be made available.

  • Reopening campus

    To prepare the campus for the return of students in September, 400 teaching spaces were surveyed with over 200 locations reconfigured, deep cleaned and put through rigorous compliance checks to ensure the safe return to face to face teaching. 50 student ambassadors were also recruited to encourage safety on campus whilst supporting student employability at such a challenging time in the job market.

  • A digital future

    Over £3 million has been committed to increasing our collaborative lecture theatre portfolio in the summer of 2021. The investment into multi-mode teaching technology will transform the delivery of teaching and learning experience, through live streaming and the ability for students to take part in learning whether in the room or remotely. Estates and Facilities will be key enablers in the delivery of these strategic priorities and will be key stakeholders in the University’s Education Spaces Programme.