It’s already six months since I took up my post at Public-i and it seems like a good time to reflect on what we’ve done and what I’ve learnt.
First things first, get to know the people. I think I’ve now got a pretty good grip on what makes most of the people tick (and it’s not just competitive games and cake, although they are both factors). There’s a shared sense of purpose here and it’s been great to get to know everybody and even better to see how quickly the new faces have been welcomed into the fold.
Earlier this year we set up a regional office in Rawtenstall (about 30 minutes north of Manchester) to provide local support to our customers in the northern powerhouse. This, for me, is an important part of offering great customer service. In time we expect to expand this further with more technical support staff. In May we set up an A-V Division providing design and installation expertise across the whole range of audio-visual requirements – effectively a one-stop shop for our customers. We’re very conscious that with our client’s name in the top left hand corner of a live-streamed event and our name in the bottom right-hand corner it is important to make sure the we’re able to control how our technology is delivered and installed. To support this we’ve increased the size of our technical team, appointed an experienced manager and moved into a dedicated storage, assembly and test facility in Shoreham, West Sussex.
The Customer Services Desk has been strengthened with a new Customer Service Manager, Dan Clarke, and an apprentice, Grady Taylor. It’s not just about people though and we have reviewed and refreshed the processes to improve the way customer issues are handled. We are also updating the way we train and continuously support our users. There is still some way to go before what we offer meets my expectations of where we should be but I am confident that we will get there. We have also taken on two Account Managers, Kisoran Moodley and Alex Houghton to make sure our clients are able to get maximum value from Public-i. They will work closely with product development, our learning and organisational development manager Daniel and customer service to make sure clients are able to make the most of the power of our products.
We’ve run an annual User Group for a few years now but this year we held two regional user groups. In July Leeds hosted our first Northern User Group and last week we had our inaugural Scottish User Group in Glasgow. The Connect product was designed for and with local government to the highest standards and this is a great way to find out what our customers want. We have fifteen years’ experience of working with our customers and know how essential it is to provide the very best value – particularly at a time when all spending is coming under scrutiny.
It’s not just about Connect and A-V however and we’re all getting excited about the NHS Citizen Assembly on 25th November. This, our burgeoning events team, the innovative Networked Councillor and other programmes mean that Public-i can be very proud of how it effects social change through technology.
So what have I learned? Well, clearly I’ve learned a lot about the public sector; I’ve also reminded myself how interesting politics can be; perhaps the most important thing I can take away isn’t so new – the power of the team. Watching everybody muck in to demolish a wall and tidy up afterwards was really rather uplifting.