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CPD Unit wins customer service excellence award

12 November 2021

CSE Award winners - CPD Unit

We are thrilled to have won a Customer Service Excellence Award for Maintaining a Customer Focused Organisation.

This award recognises the work we've done to adapt our services and support learning, particularly during COVID-19. Commitment to customer service excellence is a huge focus for our team, and runs through everything we do. During the pandemic this was especially important, particularly because many of our customers are key workers, dealing with unprecedented challenges and pressures.

As COVID-19 developed into a global pandemic and lockdown came into effect, we had an intensive period of working with our customers to make decisions about adapting the courses for online delivery or postponing the courses to accommodate customers’ home and work pressures.

We assisted several academic schools with moving their face-to-face courses online to enable the continuation of dissemination of research and responding to the immediate needs of the pandemic; for example, supporting the School of Medicine with a series of webinars in topics such as palliative care. Many of the offerings attracted large international audiences and enabled flexible delivery, learning, scalability and efficiency (e.g. the Structural Geology course was accessed by 340 learners from over 35 countries). We are hopeful that the impact of this work will mean that many of the benefits and learnings from online delivery will carry into future years with a more blended approach offering greater flexibility for our customers.

In January 2020, a delegation of senior academics from Xuzhou Medical University in China arrived in Cardiff to undertake the third iteration of the Innovative Teaching Practice Programme.  Their journey through the programme was to be a unique one, with the final weeks of teaching switched to an online delivery mode due to COVID-19.

Whilst continuing with our day-to-day responsibilities, members of the team also volunteered to support the urgent work to respond to the high volume of COVID-19 student and family enquiries. This allowed us to let our students know we were there for them by providing a regular friendly call which was valued highly. We also took the lead in the establishment of the University’s Contact Tracing Support Team, administering the daily reports of students in Halls of Residence that had received a positive COVID-19 test. In “normal times” this would have been a major achievement, but to do so under COVID remote working and to be able to play an essential part in helping to minimise the risks of COVID amongst the university and wider community was a great achievement.  The team’s work on this helped to consolidate a relationship of trust and confidence with Public Health Wales and in turn with Welsh Government which continues to be really important to the University.

It was with our customers at the forefront of our minds that we created the Virtual Summer School (June 2020) and Spring Online School (April 2021), which were free training programmes, held online over Zoom. We did this as we knew people required accessible quality training at this time. The two initiatives reached over a thousand attendees from across the world. We worked collaboratively with academics to devise sessions of live and pre-recoded webinars, Twitter takeovers and other content from across the university in pertinent topics such as ‘Healthy Eating for Resilience’, ‘Prevention and Management of Skin Injuries Related to the Use of PPE’ and ‘Leading People Through Change’. One delegate commented, “I greatly appreciate all the efforts of your team in sharing the knowledge and expertise of the University.”

The Assessment team said this about the award submission:

This submission robustly demonstrated how the [team] had worked incredibly hard to maintain being a customer focus organisation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they had to change their plans and approach to work to do so. Their actions included supporting their staff with home working and the importance of being ‘there’ for each other during this tough time AND also wanting to be ‘there’ for their customers too. What really stood out in this submission was this positive approach to support[ing] customers.
Assessors, CSE Awards 2021

The Head of the CPD Unit, Clare Sinclair, commented:

We had a busy 2020 planned, with international contracts signed for bespoke activities, bookings for our programme of scheduled short courses, and tenders in the pipeline. As the first few months of year progressed, it became clear that COVID-19 was going to significantly change our plans; that we would have to review our priorities and adapt our working practices in order to maintain the excellent levels of customer service we strive to. The tenacity and resilience of our team has shone through in the difficult times we’ve experienced during this period and I couldn't be prouder of the way we've collaborated to support one another and our customers. We know there will be further challenges ahead; however, we will lean into the positives of the situation where we see them and will use the many new skills that we have gained in providing increased support to our customers, collaborating and connecting with many new colleagues, and we will ensure we position ourselves to easily engage with businesses and support them in their recovery plans for up-skilling and retraining as a result of COVID-19.
Clare Sinclair Head of Continuing Professional Development Unit