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Customer Service Excellence – retaining the award, reaccreditation and working towards compliance plus [TG2/CSE]


2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Event Type

As many HE Libraries and other organisations have now successfully achieved CSE accreditation, we are looking at ways to retain the award and ideas for gaining a compliance plus where we can. We discuss how we’ve adapted our processes during the pandemic, how we relate the criteria to our sector and measure ourselves via benchmarking.

Our speakers come from University Libraries within the M25 Consortium who have successfully retained their award for a number of years.

Whilst this event is aimed at libraries seeking reaccreditation, the case studies, tips and discussion should still be helpful to those institutions who are embarking on the CSE journey for the first time.


Reaccreditation during the pandemic – Julian Roland, University of West London Library Services:

The University of West London Library Service first gained the CSE standard in 2017 and was in the last stages of preparing for its 2020 three-year reaccreditation in March 2020 as the national lockdown began.  In this presentation, I will talk about how we quickly adjusted to an online assessment; the challenges that we faced and the advantages we found in being assessed in this way.  UWL Library Services uses CSE to drive continuous improvement and we are delighted to have continued to demonstrate improved services during the pandemic leading to our best ever result at our May 2021 first year assessment review as the country was starting to re-open.

Challenges of achieving a corporate standard in a creative institution – Rowan Williamson and Tania Olsson UAL:

The CSE standard has some fundamental principle and corporate assumptions about the way we work, and it’s not updated very often. We work in an ever changing creative environment where we value qualitative over quantitative, and critical questioning over sector conformism. Even the language and jargon of CSE can be anathema to our creative mindsets! We will look at ways you can evidence your commitment to customer service when you don’t even like the word customer, and how you can build a compelling narrative to meet the standard through case studies instead of metrics, especially in a pandemic which has turned the foundations and usual measures of your service upside down!

Covid19, Social Media and ‘Radical Kindness’- Eleanor Ferguson, University of Sussex Library:

What’s the role of social media in the academic library and how can it contribute to Customer Service Excellence? In this presentation I’ll discuss the challenges faced by our social media team during the pandemic, the need for clear and concise communication in response to rapidly changing circumstances and how we shifted the tone of our social media to one of ‘Radical Kindness’: reassuring, representative and inclusive (and were awarded Compliance Plus in this area for the first time!)

Benchmarking – Sean Goddard, University of Sussex:

The benchmarking element (4.2.3.) is one which can cause apprehension when submitting CSE evidence. Sean Goddard will explain some areas of benchmarking which have been used by the University of Sussex Library.

 Questions and discussion with the panel


Speaker biographies:

Julian Roland has over thirty five years experience in organisational, FE and most recently in HE libraries. As Head of Customer Experience for UWL Library Services’; a post he has held since 2014, Julian is responsible for the library’s front line services, customer engagement and our marketing and communications. Julian leads Customer Service Excellence for the library service which we first achieved in 2017 and again in 2020.

Rowan Williamson has been the Associate Director for Library Services and Support at the University of the Arts, a large Arts institution in London with six Libraries, for the last seven years. Rowan has a particular interest in creating a customer focused culture of continuous improvement, and supporting the student journey through innovative and embedded information literacy teaching and learning programmes. Rowan is active in the professional community, acting as chair of the Multimedia and IT; CILIP special interest group.

Tania Olsson leads Customer Services in UAL Libraries, as well as running the College service at London College of Communication. She has been involved in the CSE assessment process for UAL since 2016. The last 2 assessments have been online, most recent held in October 2021

Eleanor Ferguson has worked in libraries since 2012, with roles in public libraries and museum research libraries before starting at the University of Sussex Library in 2019. Eleanor administrates the CSE accreditation and has a particular interest in UX and the role that social media can play in the pursuit of Customer Service Excellence!

Sean Goddard leads the University of Sussex Library’s Customer Service Excellence (CSE) group, a role he has held for six years. The group’s membership is drawn from all section of the Library. Sean is the Library’s Frontline Services Librarian, a role he has held for seven years. Sean started work in the Library as a Library Assistant in 1983, and gained his MA in Information Studies from the University of Brighton in 2015. When not working, Sean can be seen Morris Dancing!


Information for joining:

  • This session is virtual and will run via Zoom. Once your booking has been confirmed, joining instructions will be emailed the day before the event.
  • Electronic CPD attendance certificates can be provided on request. Please request via

£25.00 members
£50.00 for non-member institutions.

Cancellations less than one week before the event will be charged a 50% cancellation fee. In the event of a ‘no-show’ on the day, the full fee will be charged.

To book a place please use our online booking form. Please remember to include your PO number as bookings cannot be confirmed without this.


Booking form for M25 Members   Booking form for non-Members