Bristow & Sutor

Annual surveys and the importance of frequent feedback


In this weeks Leading the Way blog, we share some of the initial findings from our annual customer survey and discuss why frequent feedback, both internally and externally, is so important to our business.  


Our survey says …  

We communicate with clients regularly and ask for feedback on our performance because this is a helpful way to ensure we always remain aligned to customer wants and needs.  Our previous annual client survey from 2020 was undertaken during the throws of the first lockdown when many client contacts were working from home and the CDM team were furloughed. This unquestionably had an impact on results, but overall satisfaction levels remained extremely high across all key areas surveyed. We received a record number of responses last year and now, after 54 responses already, we appear on course to surpass that record again in 2021.  

Our levels of communication and ClientWeb services came in for particular praise. 100% of responders thus far indicated our Client Liaison Officers and Client Development Managers helped resolve any queries and continue to provide the right levels of interaction. We are thrilled to see that we have scored an average 4.7 out of 5 when asking how happy clients are with the overall service Bristow & Sutor has provided this past year. This reaffirms that our approach has been appropriate and that our continued efforts are having a positive impact.  


How is this type of insight useful? 

Whilst our commitment to gaining feedback was in place well before COVID-19, there is no doubt the pandemic has highlighted the importance of continued engagement. We have frequently surveyed clients on important matters such as their feelings about the return to enforcement after a summer-long hiatus. The responses we obtained during that time helped us identify room for improvement, establish what prioritise were to our client base and devise a strategy that ensured we would continue to provide the best service imaginable during a challenging timeThis also helped us collaborate with other enforcement firms and contribute to the industry-wide CIVEA lockdown support plan. 

Beyond the pandemicthere are countless examples of success that does not have to be implemented by a crisis, but rather as a matter of best practice. Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council is a prime example of what can be achieved when listening to individual client needs and acting accordingly. Bristow & Sutor haprovided Enforcement Services to the Council for the collection of unpaid Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates since 2015, but it was our bespoke ClientWeb system that made us stand out from the crowd. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, we provided 30 staff members with individual ClientWeb accounts and individual access rights, delivering initial training on appointment and continuing to offer additional support as and when required, at no cost to the Council.  

In response to one of our recent surveys, Neil Baddeley, Recoveries Operations Manager at Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council said, “Bristow & Sutor’s ClientWeb is a very effective, user-friendly system. The option to tailor access on an individual user basis is something that we extensively make use of, the ability to see at glance what costs are due to be passed over following a direct payment is very handy & time-saving. Thanks to this feedback, we are in a position to not only continue shaping our services correctly towards the needs of this client but also to gain valuable insight and important lessons for future engagements where similar needs arise.  


What about in-house feedback? 

We are very proud of the great work we do, but we are always looking for ways to improve and a big part of this is listening to feedback from our own employees. Earlier this year, we asked our internal employees to complete an anonymous survey via WeThrive to help us safeguard employee wellbeing, improve productivity and improve our working lives. In total, 74% of all staff across the business contributed their thoughts.  

Adopting WeThrive and creating demonstrable action plans is just one way our business will continue to improve. Managers within the business have undertaken training so that they can properly understand, assess and act upon the feedback at their disposal. It was encouraging to see team spirit, ethics and company direction scored positively and we gained valuable insight into thoughts around handling negative calls and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus on mental health and overall wellbeing. We are committed to keeping everyone updated on progress and involving employees themselves in making positive changes.  


Acknowledging success 

It is important to note that we give just as much attention to negative feedback as we do to positive testimonials, as this has a major impact on identifying any training needs or areas where we should look to invest time and resources to solve common problems customers, clients or staff may face. But it is also undeniable that receiving positive feedback is motivational for Bristow & Sutor employees as this reaffirms the positive outcomes from the time, consideration and care they apply to their roles daily 

Please see some of the feedback we have been proud to receive this year below 


We have not had any customer complaints in a long time (touch wood!) which suggests to me that enforcement has been both reasonable and effective.  Given how challenging the past year has been, this is a real commendation to all of Bristow & Sutor's EAs. 

Whenever I call each team member is polite, professional and friendly. Keep up the good work. 

Excellent service, continue to be forward-thinking and innovative along with very good results. One of the best in the industry in my opinion. 

“Communications with all staff are polite and helpful.  Any problems we experience are dealt with efficiently. Very happy with B&S.” 

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