Service Excellence

Definition

Service Excellence is striving to provide the best service to internal or external clients*.

*The term "clients" is used broadly and may include persons from within or outside the organization to whom you provide a service (for example, employees, taxpayers, other regions or branches, other government departments, or provinces).

Core motivation: To help or serve clients; to satisfy their needs

It's about:

  • providing assistance to a client with something that serves their needs;
  • providing services to individuals other than the boss; and
  • situations where you would not benefit yourself from the service you provided.

Although you do work for your manager, this person is not your client in most situations. Your manager is responsible for providing direction as to how you provide those services and monitoring the quality of the services provided. The work that you do is actually focused on providing services to individuals other than your manager. Assisting your manager or team members would normally correspond to Teamwork and Cooperation rather than Service Excellence, because it leads to the achievement of a common work-related goal.

If you are a manager, generally your team members are not your clients as you are in a direct position of authority to them.

If you are unsure who your clients are within your job context, discuss it with your manager and refer to your work description.

Client requests, needs, or expectations are usually stated by the client. If not, or if they are unreasonable, the service requirements (for example, service standards, policies, procedures) are a good source of information to understand what services would normally be provided in these situations.

Service Excellence - What it means and does not mean
Service Excellence means... Service Excellence does not mean...
  • Interacting with clients in a respectful, helpful and responsive manner
  • Discussing the client’s need with them and their satisfaction with service delivered
  • Taking responsibility to resolve a client's problem even if it goes beyond the usual or normal demands of the job
  • Taking the time to ensure that the client understands the information provided as it relates to their situation
  • Using your knowledge to think through what would be best for the client and acting accordingly
  • Taking into consideration the client’s viewpoint and feedback to identify how to serve them more effectively
  • Building and maintaining productive long-term relationships with clients
  • Using an understanding of the client’s perspective to identify constraints and advocate on their behalf
  • Being condescending to clients or interacting with them in a rushed or mechanical manner
  • Assuming the client will let you know if there is a problem
  • Passing on client problems to others when you could have handled them yourself
  • Providing information without any apparent thought as to whether the client truly understands
  • Doing what is faster and easier for you
  • Ignoring client feedback that could improve client service
  • Focusing on short-term interactions with clients without considering the long-term implications
  • Failing to pursue a solution to client problems when encountering obstacles or resistance

Purpose of this competency for CRA

It reflects on the CRA’s commitment to provide service that meets clients’ needs or expectations.

The value of the service to the clients could be expressed by one or more of the following: quality, timeliness, completeness, knowledge, skills, courtesy, fairness, and outcome.

Progression of scale - Degree of involvement and commitment to the client

The Progression of the scale works together with the underlying notions, so it is important to consider this information as it indicates how the behaviours progress as you move from level 1 to level 4. The behaviours generally build on each other.

Service Excellence - Progression of scale
  Lower Levels Higher Levels

Degree of Involvement
Refers to how much effort you devote to help the client.

The client’s need is usually basic, so can be satisfied relatively quickly and easily.

The client’s needs may be more complex or diverse; this requires a significant degree of involvement in order to help them.

Degree of Commitment
Refers to the attention that you give to serve the client and the concern that you show towards the client.

The dedication shown towards the client is limited because it is a simple request or service requirement.

Your efforts are to strategically improve the delivery of services the organization offers to provide long-term benefits to a specific category of clients.

Service Excellence level 1
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Responding to a basic client request or service requirement

  • Provides the client with a response to their questions or concerns.
  • Provides a service, including helpful information or assistance, which is consistent with relevant service standards and guidelines.

Level 1 is a basic service that is usually "by the book" or is an automatic response to the client’s request. It is a simple request or service requirement that requires a low degree of involvement on your behalf.

Example/Context

A taxpayer called to ask when he should register his small widget company for GST/HST. The service agent responded that he would need to register his company for GST/HST if his company made more than $30,000 sales in a single calendar quarter. She also provided him with the web site address. The agent asked if there was anything else she could help him with. The taxpayer said: "No thank you that is what I needed" and ended the call.

Service Excellence level 2
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Taking responsibility for addressing a client’s need or for meeting service requirements

  • Ensures that the client’s need is understood or establishes what service will be delivered.
  • Takes the necessary steps to ensure the client's need is addressed; may involve the assistance of third parties.
  • Works to resolve client service problems and ensure the client’s needs are met.
  • Follows-up with the client if necessary or takes additional action, as required.

In other words, you may:

  • make sure you understand exactly what the client is looking for;
  • show interest and concern for the client;
  • advise the client about what you can do and how you can help;
  • make sure that the service provided is consistent with service requirements;
  • follow up afterwards to check that all needs were met.

It is no longer a systematic or automatic response. You show a greater degree of involvement and commitment to the client by making sure you address the client’s need or meet the service requirement. Therefore, you must understand the client’s need and take the necessary actions to address the issues at hand.

Example/Context

A taxpayer called to say she had received a notice with a balance owing. However, she thought it was paid. The employee confirmed who he was speaking with and reassured the taxpayer that he would help her to clarify the situation. The employee checked the computer system and could see where the notice was issued, but there was another transaction that he wasn’t sure about. The employee explained to the taxpayer that he needed to check into it further and he would call her back.

The employee then spoke to the officer who processes payments. The officer explained that an error had been made in processing the payment, and that the transaction the employee saw was the correction. The employee thanked the officer for the information. He then called the taxpayer to explain the situation to her and he said that she would be receiving an updated notice shortly. The employee asked the taxpayer if there was anything else he could help her with.

Service Excellence level 3
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Exceeding a client’s expectation or service requirements

  • Determines a client’s underlying need and provides additional information or assistance beyond the client’s expectation or applicable service standard.
  • Uses experience and knowledge to provide additional, value-added service for the client or to improve the client’s situation in some way.
  • Seeks client feedback to validate that additional service provided has been beneficial.

In other words, you may:

  • provide a service above and beyond the client’s expectation or additional to the normal service requirements (this does not simply mean to provide a service that another unit or section usually provides);
  • provide a service that meets a valid need, represents value-added for the client, or improves the client’s situation in some way.

Often this high level of service comes from the use of your knowledge and experience, to provide or to find better ways to meet the client’s need. The degree of involvement is significant as you are investing effort to identify the client’s underlying needs and to provide a complete and value-added service.

Example/Context

The employee was the underground economy coordinator. He knew that both the CRA and the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) wanted members of the building trades and the public to be aware of the risks of participating in the underground economy. He approached the CHBA executive members to determine how to improve the service he offered. The CHBA’s initial request was for CRA to engage in audit activity centered on the construction industry. The employee coordinated those audits to meet that requirement.

The employee suggested to the CHBA that he participate in the upcoming construction industry trade show as a CRA representative. He thought this would be a cost-effective approach to educate clients about the underground economy. The CHBA gladly accepted his offer.

At the trade show, the employee worked at the CRA booth, and responded to questions from the public. He also participated in a question and answer session during a one-hour conference with industry speakers, which was covered by the local media. The CHBA expressed sincere appreciation for the employee’s efforts which were above their expectations. They asked him to participate in a similar event the following year.

Service Excellence level 4
Underlying Notion Behaviours could include, but are not limited to:

Improving client service delivery

  • Enhances service delivery to a client base by improving systems and processes.
  • Anticipates clients' future needs; plans and acts accordingly to provide long-term benefits.
  • Gains an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the business and needs of the client base.
  • Implements initiatives to achieve service excellence.
  • Recommends or determines strategic service delivery to meet projected needs of clients and prospective clients.

In other words, you may:

  • deal with not just one client, but with a category of clients; and
  • take actions that affect the organization on a larger scale.

On a long-term basis, these actions will have an enduring impact on how the organization does things. The degree of involvement is very high as the actions to improve the client service usually require sustained effort over a long period of time.

Behaviours at level 4 are strategic and future oriented. They focus on how you could improve the CRA systems or processes to provide a better service to the client base.

Example/Context

The employee was a team leader of Electronic Commerce Audit Specialists (ECAS). The role of these specialists was to extract and prepare electronic data records for use by clients and auditors, in a specific software program.

The employee was informed that Headquarters (HQ) had created a team to quickly process standard accounting packages for audit. He reviewed the process. Although it was not what HQ was working on, the employee found that if he extended this type of data transfer to the auditors in the field, it would cut down significantly on the overall processing time. The auditors could remain in the field while the data was processed rather than having to travel to the office. This would allow the auditors to get quicker turnaround time with their electronic data files. It would save money on travel, and would also provide an opportunity for ECAS specialists to work on more complex small and medium enterprise files.

The management team approved the employee’s recommendation. The employee worked with information technology specialists to set up the team mailbox and data transfer folders. This tool would allow the secure receipt and transmission of information and the secure shared data folders included on their G drive. He tested it before rolling it out to the auditors. The employee then arranged sessions with the auditors and the audit team leaders to explain the new process and its benefits. He explained the content of the data files that would be received from the HQ lab. He then answered their questions to make sure they were comfortable with it. The new process resulted in a reduction in the turnaround time from ECAS, from an average of 2 weeks to 2 days.

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