Our customer charter
Our overall aims for customer care are:
- to meet peoples’ needs
- to be polite and professional
- to be helpful and knowledgeable
- to strive to resolve as much as we can at first point of contact
- if we can’t resolve queries at first point, to give customers a realistic and reasonable expectation of when we will get back to them
- to listen to and act on feedback
Digital services and emails
We aim to provide as many of our services digitally as possible. Almost all transactions that can be done over the phone are now available through our customer portal.
Our digital services aim to be:
- simple to use
- easy to find
When you contact us online or via email, we will:
- send an acknowledgement back to you so you know your contact has been received
- include in the acknowledgement a reasonable and realistic idea of when we will get back to you, if it can’t be answered immediately
- respond digitally, not by letter
Social media is an important part in how people live their lives. We are happy to help you in any way we can and in order for us to do that effectively, we have a short set of rules on how we use social media and how we expect our customers to use it too.
Our social media accounts are monitored during business hours. We aim to respond to direct messages within one working day.
What we will do…
We will confirm it’s us. If you see a North Devon Council account online, you can check it’s us by visiting the following links:
- Official North Devon Council Facebook
- Official North Devon Council Twitter
- Official North Devon Council Instagram
- Official North Devon Council LinkedIn
We will listen. Our customer services team will read all messages and look to flag-up problems with the relevant parts of the organisation.
We will say when we will monitor each account. We will not be online 24-hours a day but we will try our best to get back to you within one working day. We try to monitor our social media pages between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
We will be human and polite. We’ll treat each message with the politeness you’d expect if you were dealing with us face-to-face, via email or over the telephone.
What we would like you to do in return…
Be polite. Please remember, we’re human. The person monitoring our social media account is trying to help.
Don't be anti-social. We won’t tolerate swearing, threats or abuse online, just as we don’t offline.
Don't be personal. If you have a complaint to make against an individual, please do not share on social media. Instead please head to our feedback page.
Don't spam. Making the same points, otherwise known as spamming, isn’t for our social media. If you have an issue, please contact us privately.
Don't over-share. If you’ve got an issue, we will happily look into it, but please be careful not to post private information about yourself or others.
We would also like to make you aware that we cannot support third party charities or petitions and do not allow advertising or political comments on our social channels.
Overall social media works fine but on the rare occasion, where the minority don’t stick to our rules, we reserve the right to delete offending content and block you from contacting us through that route.
We aim to answer telephones in a friendly and professional manner stating our name and our department. We aim to answer phones quickly although at busy times, there may be a short wait.
If we need to transfer your call, we will ensure we explain the nature of your call to the person you need to speak to. If their voicemail is on, we will retrieve your call, take a message and ask the person to make contact with you.
Occasionally, you may get through to an answerphone. These are checked regularly and you should get a call back within 24 hours.
If you write to us, if we are unable to answer you within a few days, we will send you an acknowledgement, giving you an idea of when you will receive a response which will be within a reasonable timescale. If we are unable to meet the date we have set, we will keep you updated on our progress.
Face to face public areas
We have three face to face offices where we receive customers – Lynton House in Barnstaple, The Ilfracombe Centre and the Amory Centre in South Molton.
In our public, face to face areas, we will:
- acknowledge you as quickly as possible
- smile and politely welcome you
- find out the reason for your visit
- be friendly and helpful; listen to you, giving you our full attention
- use plain language and avoid jargon
- make sure the public area looks professional, clean, tidy and welcoming
- be mindful of your confidentiality
If you have come for a meeting, we will contact the person you are visiting who will come and collect you and ensure you have been given a visitor’s badge.
Rude and aggressive customers
It is reasonable for us to expect our customers to:
- be polite, courteous, non-abusive and non-threatening at all times
- treat staff and other customers with respect and not behave in an anti-social manner
- not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- never resort to physical violence or commit illegal acts on our premises
- not behave in a way that exposes themselves and others to risk
- provide all relevant documentation/information when they visit us comply with all our reasonable requests
- not scatter-gun our officers and services
- not make unnecessarily excessive demands on the time and resources of staff
We reserve the right to terminate phone calls or conversations where customers do not adhere to any of the above.
In some instances we may be concerned about a customer's contact with us where they display 'unreasonable' or persistent behaviour. In these circumstances we will consider invoking sanctions through our Preventing and Controlling Violence, Aggression and Other Unreasonable Customer Behaviour Policy.
We are committed to providing quality services for all our customers and ensuring there is no discrimination when we deliver our services. We will do our best to provide access to information and services to suit everybody’s needs. For people with physical or language barriers, we will try to provide extra help, such as:
- ensuring our information is available in appropriate formats (for example, on audio tape, in Braille, or in large print) on request
- providing a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, if necessary
- offering to provide an interpreter for anyone who needs it
- providing a portable induction loop if necessary
- provide our documents in a language other than English, upon request
- using the Type talk telephone service