5. Timeliness and Keeping Customers Informed
Three in five customers (60%) are satisfied with the timeliness of various aspects of the service they received, which is a slight increase from 56% in 2018.
Among the 18% of dissatisfied customers, most criticism relates to ‘processing the application and granting a building warrant’ (Figure 8).
Figure 8 Timeliness of service aspects (all customers)
Direct applicants responding to the survey are more satisfied than agents with respect to the timeliness of most aspects of the service, however in a change to the past three years, agents are more satisfied than direct applicants with the timeliness of ‘Response to written enquiries’ and ‘Issuing the first report for a building warrant application’.
The 2019 breakdowns by applicants and agent are shown in Figures 9 and 10, below.
Figure 9 Timeliness of service aspects (direct applicants/submitters)
Figure 10 Timeliness of service aspects (agents)
5.2 Keeping customers informed
Just over three in five surveyed customers (61%) are satisfied with the way they were kept informed about the progress of their application or submission. This is an increase from 54% in 2018. Under a quarter of customers (22%) are not satisfied and this is highest among agents (Figure 11). However, this is an improvement on the 32% not satisfied in 2017 and 27% not satisfied in 2018.
Figure 11 Satisfaction with the way kept informed
Among respondents stating ‘fairly dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’, 513 provided supporting reasons. These customers primarily gave examples relating to communication, either in the initiation of communications or responsiveness. This was consistent between agents and applicants.
The main reported issues include slow and inadequate communications, with limited interaction, transparency and guidance from local authorities on progress. Customer perceptions were that resource mismanagement and a lack of resources were the main causes of issues. Staff holidays, high case officer turnover and the e-portal are cited as common responses from local authorities to justify delays.
“All I received were multiple responses explaining there was a staffing issue. We had no opportunity to plan the works with the clients as the timeframe was a complete unknown.”
“We had an application that lay on the officer’s desk for 6 weeks as they were off sick and on holiday. Nothing was put in place either to inform us of the situation. When dealing with certain "Senior" officers you often get no feedback or returned messages.”
“I felt that I had to chase constantly for an update, no-one ever came to me without being asked to.”
“The phone always rang out, we were later told there were technical problems with the phone but not given another number. We were left with email only.”
“I had to email every week for an update and the response was always the same: 'we are understaffed’.”
“It has been over 8 weeks since additional information was submitted in response to the initial report and still no response despite several chases.”