Providing information and advice
Providing Information and Advice
Importance of Providing Information and Advices.
Information and advice should be provided to a client: to clarify unclear requests;
- To help provide the information requested in an acceptable format;
- To narrow requests which exceed the cost limit
- When the exemptions for information which is accessible to the customer by other means or for information intended for future publication have been applied; and
This standard is about knowing how to listen to customers' needs and provide information and advice to meet those needs. It does not involve knowing how to sell directly to customers, but does involve knowing how to treat the customer in ways that promote goodwill. It require requires that you to provide advice and assistance so far as it is "reasonable to expect" you to do so. You should provide advice and assistance to anyone who has made or is thinking of making a request for information.
Ways of Providing Information and Advice
In providing information and advice to your customers, you need to identify the customer's needs for information and advice The information and advice should be communicated to customers in ways they can understand and the information should be relevant, complete, accurate and up to date. In addition you should check politely that the information and advice provided meets the customer's needs and find other ways to help the customer when the information and advice given is not satisfactory. Finally, you should be able to refer requests for information or advice to the right person when you cannot help the customer
Clarifying Unclear Requests
Some requests may not be clear from the outset. In such cases you should ask the customer for further information in order to identify and locate the relevant information. You do not need to respond to the request until that further information has been provided.
To reduce the possibility of unclear requests, it is recommended that you help client by:
- providing an outline of the different kinds of information which might meet the terms of the request;
- providing access to detailed indexes and catalogues (where available to help them gain an understanding of the nature and extent of the information held;
- providing a general response to the request setting out options for further information which could be provided on request.
This list is not exhaustive and you should be flexible in offering advice and assistance most appropriate to the circumstances of the applicant
Format of the Information Provided
You should generally provide the applicant with the information they have asked for in the format they have requested, for example if he asks for information in a CD-ROM format.
However, there may be situations where you conclude that this is not reasonably practicable. If so, you should assist the applicant by discussing with them any other formats you are able to provide, which they may find acceptable.
Exemptions Alternate Source of Information
If the information requested is reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means, you should advise them about how and where the information can be obtained. Similarly, if the information requested is intended for future publication, you should indicate clearly to the applicant when that information is expected to be published