A blog by David Wallace, Deputy CEO & Chief Customer Officer at SLC

Honest and insightful feedback is key to creating a positive customer journey. That’s why we are establishing a new customer panel; to receive regular, impartial opinions from our customers – past, present and future. The new panel will enhance our understanding of our customers’ experience and identify where improvements can be made, as we drive forward our central commitment to deliver an outstanding customer experience that enables customers to invest in their futures.

We are always working to improve the student finance experience and have a number of significant changes planned for this year, including the introduction of our new Customer Engagement Management system. Our Corporate Plan, published at the end of last year, sets out how we will deliver our goals and strategy over the next three years. www.gov.uk/government/news/a-blog-on-slcs-corporate-plan-by-ceo-paula-sussex

Our ambition is that the panel will challenge our understanding of the complete customer journey, taking into account all the touchpoints that those who use our services experience throughout the student finance process, from pre-application to end of loan.

While we already work extensively with customers to research their needs, the introduction of this panel will allow us to facilitate open discussions with a small group that represents a cross section of the user journey. This group will provide invaluable insight into our processes and, most importantly, how these can be improved to enable us to provide the best possible service for students and those who are repaying their student loans.

We are currently recruiting and looking for panel members with a willingness to share their stories of the student finance journey and participate in discussions and workshops that explore customer experience issues. The more diverse the customer panel is, the better understanding we will have to inform our future service development.Alongside customers of Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Wales (SFW), Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI) and the Student Awards Agency Scotland; we are also looking for members who are future student finance customers, and for members who are in repayment. We welcome applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, religion and / or belief to represent a cross section of our customers.

In return, panel members will receive training and support will be provided from the outset to give them the background information and skills required to be an effective panel member. Skills will be developed on an on-going basis and members will be paid for their time. Members will be appointed for one year with the option to continue for a further year and the panel will meet at least four times per year.

If you are interested in helping us improve the experience of our customers, then apply to join our Student Finance Customer Panel online. Applications close on 24 January 2021.

Application for future students – www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?vxsys=4&vxvac=92908

Application for current students –www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?vxsys=4&vxvac=93134

Application for graduates and those in repayment – www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?vxsys=4&vxvac=93135

David Wallace is Deputy CEO & Chief Customer Officer at SLC.

Published 12 January 2021