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HNSW to Introduce Customer Service Standards

Housing NSW's benchmark survey for Redfern & Waterloo showed high levels of dissatisfaction in public tenants dealings with Housing NSW - only half were happy with their dealings in the previous year. This is a state wide issue. On November 22 Housing NSW presented the "Customer Service Benchmarking – Service Delivery Solutions" excerpt below to a Social Housing Tenant Forum with tenants from the Public and Community Housing sectors drawn from across NSW. This is the first time that benchmarks have been publicly released for the Customer Service Standards that tenants should expect in their dealings with Housing NSW.

Customer Service Benchmarking – Service Delivery Solutions

Customer Service Service Standards

Housing NSW is undertaking a new way of ensuring the quality of service provided by the Housing Contact Centre and local offices is of the highest possible standard. Service standards have been developed in consultation with the Tenants Advisory Committee. An excerpt of the Standards is below. Assessments are conducted on services provided and the results of these assessments are compared to benchmarks to identify areas of good services and areas for improvement. 

Accessibility of offices

Example criteria

Publishing of office locations

  • Office locations and phone numbers should be published in White Pages
  • Opening hours to be clearly displayed on office door


  • All offices should comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)


  • All offices should have either an interview room or an area which allows visual and auditory privacy for clients when speaking with client service staff


Example criteria

Office signage

  • Adequate signage directing clients to reception or ticketing machine 
  • All office signage should have a Housing NSW or FACS logo and be compliant with OH&S
  • Offices should have signs or posters giving information on basic services for e.g. “How to apply for housing assistance”

Brochures, Forms, Posters

  • Offices should be stocked with printed material associated with services offered
  • Posters or signage should provide information on where clients can obtain Fact Sheets (i.e. ask at counter, on web site etc)
  • Existing brochure holders should be clean and stocked with commonly used forms
  • All offices should display posters for the Rentstart service and 1300HOUSING  

Office Environment

Example Criteria


  • Adequate seating should be provided


  • Office foyer area should give overall impression of being cared for and maintained, and should be clean and tidy (with some leeway for a full day’s service)

Rentstart kiosk

  • Written material should always be available – i.e. application forms, brochures, instruction sheets for operation of fax, and clear advice of ‘next steps’ once client has faxed their application
  • All hardware (fax and phone) should be in working order

Service Delivery

Example Criteria

Service wait times

  • Once a client has entered the office and sighted a staff person, they should be either –
    • Joining a queue within 3-5 minutes
    • Taking a ticket within 3-5 minutes (thus ensuring that office is aware of client’s presence)
    • Client should be attended to within 30 minutes

Staff appearance

Example Criteria

Name tags

  • Staff should wear name tags when attending the front counter or dealing with clients. The name tag should be the first name.

Dress and grooming

  • All staff members’ appearance should be clean, neat and tidy at all times

Staff greeting/manner

Example Criteria


  • Staff should greet client warmly and offer assistance (when answering the phone, staff should identify themselves as well i.e.


  • Staff member displayed an engaging and pleasant manner


  • Staff member should present as friendly and approachable

Staff Communication Skills

Example Criteria


  • Staff adapted their communication style to different clients and situations


  • Staff spoke clearly and pleasantly
  • Avoided overuse of jargon


  • Staff should demonstrate awareness and sensitivity to client needs
  • Where a client wishes to discuss sensitive information with staff they should be provided with an interview room (where available) or a quiet area

CALD and Indigenous clients

  • Staff should recognise the need for an interpreter and organise for the client to speak with one if required



  • Staff should demonstrate empathy where appropriate (maintain a professional approach)

Enquiry resolution

Example Criteria


  • Where a client is seeking information on Housing NSW products and services, staff should provide a range of options –
    • Offer to hand the client forms/fact sheets if they attend an office OR
    • Advise that this information can be found on our website at (give URL) OR
    • Offer to post this information
  • Where client attends an office and demonstrates that they need assistance in completing a form, staff should assist them to complete it

Probed Needs

  • Staff should ensure they fully understand the client’s need by probing for more information and clarifying issues.

Product knowledge

  • Staff should be able to provide clear information readily on a given product or service
  • If staff do not have this information to hand, they should be able to source it quickly

Completion of interview

  • Staff should provide client with ‘next steps’ information

Source: Housing NSW Document released on 22 November 2011