Friday, February 18, 2011

Hillel and Vision in Customer Service in Higher Education

The Hillel Thing and Customer Service in Higher Education

I need to tell you a little story. It is about Rabbi Hillel who lived around 110 BCE and died about 10CE. He was a renowned scholar and teacher who believed anyone who wanted to learn could.

One day an apostate came to his school and asked to see the Rabbi. This young man had no religion or beliefs other than being a problem  for others. Hillel received him and asked what he wanted.

“Rabbi” he said “you are known as a great scholar and teacher. Perhaps you can answer a question I have and if you can answer it I will become Jewish and your student for the rest of my life”.

Now Hillel knew this was going to be one of those parochial school questions that are meant to stump the teacher like “Hey, can God make a rock so large that he can’t lift it”? But the offer was too great. A convert who would become a student? Hillel agreed to the question.

“Okay” said the apostate. “Can you explain the entire Torah while standing on one foot?”

This was an impossible request, The Torah is so rich with meaning that it would take many libraries to be able to hold all the studies, papers, discussions and interpretations of the five Books of Moses. There were volume upon volume of Mishnah and Talmud interpreting just words in the Torah. How was Hillel to do this? And while standing on one foot?

Hillel thought for a minute, pulled up one foot and said “That which is hateful to you, do not to others. All the rest is commentary. Now, go study.”

We in the Western world know of this in a slightly different form as stated in the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

When it come to customer service this works too but in a different form. “Do unto the student standing in front of you as you would have done to your son, your daughter, you r mother or your father.”

If you think of what you would want for someone else to do if it were your son or daughter, your mother of father standing there needing help, you will do the right thing. It may not be the thing that totally pleases the student but then again customer service in higher education is not always pleasing the customer. We have to live within rules, regulations and what is tight. But if you do look at each student as if he or she is a family member and do for that student as you would want someone else, to do for your child or parent, you will do the right thing and please the customer in the long run.

So as you are called on to help a student "Do unto him or her as you would want done to your son, your daughter, your mother or your father. And do not do what is hateful to any of them. If you do, you will do what is right. All the rest is commentary. Now go do it.”

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Neal is a pleasure to work with – his depth of knowledge and engaging, approachable style creates a strong connection with attendees. He goes beyond the typical, “show up, talk, and leave” experience that some professional speakers use. He “walks the talk” with his passion for customer service. We exchanged multiple emails prior to the event, with his focus being on meeting our needs, understanding our organization and creating a customized presentation. Neal also attended and actively participated in our evening-before team-building event, forging positive relationships with attendees – truly getting to know them. Personable, knowledgeable, down-to-earth and inspiring…. " Jean Wolfe, Training Manager, Davenport University

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