Teesside University’s commitment to creating a dynamic, customer-focused environment for its business services has been recognised with a prestigious award.
The University’s business hub, The Forge, has been awarded the nationally recognised Putting The Customer First accreditation – one of only a handful of universities in the country to achieve this standard.
Dozens of University staff were interviewed as part of a rigorous assessment process which looked at how the University meets client needs through relationship building, market awareness and people development.
This is the fourth time that Teesside has received the Customer First standard, which lasts for two years. Each time it is reaccredited, the University must demonstrate how it has continuously improved.
Last year, Teesside University unveiled The Forge, its new identity for its products and services for business.
Based at the University’s £13million Darlington campus, The Forge provides a front door for businesses ranging from start-ups and SMEs to blue-chip multi nationals.
Each year, The Forge works with hundreds of businesses, and services offered include research and innovation, consultancy, knowledge exchange, start-up incubation and mentoring and graduate placement.
The Forge provides business with a single point of contact and can triage each business according to its needs.
As well as launching The Forge, the University also manages Fusion Hive, a brand new business and innovation centre on Stockton’s Northshore which caters for growing digital and creative businesses.
Assessors from Customer First met with staff at Fusion Hive to experience the customer service provided to the resident businesses.
In total, 26 people were interviewed over the two and a half day assessment period.
The assessment followed a rigorous self-assessment process which looked at business enterprise and engagement activities across the University, measuring 30 different criteria focusing on direct customer service, strategy and marketing and the staff who deliver the services.
Professor Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement), said: “This is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.
“It gives us a fantastic platform on which to build our exciting plans for the future of enterprise and business engagement.
“This award demonstrates our commitment to working with our partners in industry to deliver the skills and services which they need.”
Karen Race (pictured above, right), deputy director of The Forge, added: “The Customer First standard provides a well-rounded framework within which we can test our business enterprise and engagement activities to demonstrate that we can and do meet our customer needs.
“This way we can continue to support their growth through innovation, knowledge transfer, training and development.”
Michael Wildey (pictured above, centre), Customer First Practitioner, added: “Teesside University’s commitment to business engagement goes from strength to strength, matched by the commitment and delivery of excellent customer service.
“They thoroughly deserve to maintain their Customer First accreditation.”