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October 2, 2002


Superior Court-Alameda County Celebrates
National Customer Service Week October 7-11

The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Customer Service Week celebration in conjunction with National Customer Service Week: October 7 through 11th. This year's theme, "Working for the Benefit of You," focuses on services the court provides to the public. The Courtwide Customer Service Committee, chaired by Vicki Ward, Juvenile Court Administrator, and staffed by volunteer employees and court managers has planned an exciting week designed to raise employee awareness and showcase to the public the importance of customer service.

The weeklong celebration builds on a tradition of internal assessment of and improvements in customer service. In 1999, the California Judicial Council instituted the Community Focused Court Planning Program to help courts improve community services and access. The Alameda Court is a leader in the process, actively seeking community input through community-court meetings as well as through Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Last year, the inaugural Customer Service Week celebration, "Strengthening the Court through Internal Customer Service" laid the foundation to expand the focus of the program to external customer service.

Actions taken since the last Customer Service Week include the establishment of Spotlight Awards, designed to recognize staff who, consistently provide quality customer service, are team players, and are respected by colleagues. Additional attributes include exceptional communication skills, dependability and a positive attitude. In addition, a workshop titled "Customer Service Excellence" was held in February aiding the Court's mission to provide internal and external top quality Customer Service through professionalism, dedication, and diversity.

The goal of Customer Service Week is to focus attention on making positive changes and exploring ways to provide greater assistance to the public over the course of the next year and beyond. Alameda County Superior Court Chief Executive Officer Art Sims is "committed to providing service at an optimum level, maintaining the standards the public has come to expect. The Court's executive team is dedicated to collectively and creatively … foster a climate of customer service excellence through the prompt and courteous delivery of services to the public." Presiding Judge Harry Sheppard concurs noting, "for many customers coming to the courthouse is an intrusion on their time and usual routines. It is the task of each employee to make that intrusion less awkward with a smile, a word of encouragement or understanding to lessen their frustration … and to generate respect for the court."

The Court has planned a variety of events designed to celebrate past success while simultaneously increasing employee awareness of the importance of continued improvements in customer service. Court staff is encouraged to sign up for visits to other court offices and divisions in order to enhance their knowledge of overall operations. This will enable service professionals to provide better assistance to their customers, internal or external. In addition to site visits, staff will have opportunities to attend Brown Bag lunch seminars in order to learn more about career development within the Court. Employees have also been invited to participate in the Secret Shopper Program. The shopper program will highlight those areas of customer service in which different divisions and bureaus excel while identifying those units within which customer service improvement remains a priority. Finally, Superior Court Website demonstrations and informational handouts will be available to the public at all Alameda County Court locations.

From Presiding Judge Sheppard and Executive Officer Art Sims to front line staff, everyone at the Superior Court-Alameda County looks forward to an exciting and productive week focused on customer service for all. The goal is to translate the week's focus into the daily culture of Court operations.

For further information please contact: Vicki Ward, Juvenile Court Administrator and Chair of the Customer Service Committee, at (510) 268-4146.

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