Monday, May 23, 2011

Quality Indicators of Faculty

It is the time for class evaluations at many schools. This is the time when the students evaluate the performance of the faculty member in a class. This is most normally accomplished through a computer form with items for evaluation that have been determined by the faculty with the administration. So essentially, students get to rate faculty based on what the service supplier thinks is important. That is not necessarily the way to do an evaluation of the students’, the customers’ experience. The forms may develop a picture of how well or not the faculty member is performing some teaching duties but the forms are not at all customer service indicators.

Those who work in customer service know that the evaluations need to come from the customers’ point of view. What is important to them. The evaluations thus need to be formed by using the issues and assessment items important to the customer.

By filling out forms with evaluation issues supplied by the people being evaluated, the results cannot be accurate. They cannot really test the qualities that affect the customers. The concerns that the students have may well be different than those the faculty or administration believe they should or will have. Moreover the evaluation forms have to go through the committee process in most every school so one can be assured the result will be political or at least altered and watered down to please the bizarre workings of most every academic committee. Especially when the committees almost always see the evaluation forms as an enemy out to cause them harm so they must make the form and its items as benign as is possible to please the members of the committee and the greater academic community.

As a result these forms cannot be used to develop a sense of classroom customer service since it is not the customers who have been asked to tell the school the parameters of what they judge good service as. Classroom customer service is one of the most important points of customer school contact and should be evaluated. So how to do that?

Indicators of Quality

One begins by finding out from the customers what is actually important to them; not to us. We need to know what they judge as components of good classroom customer service. What they use to judge if a class and a faculty member are good and worth it or not worth it. What are the services a professor provides customers (students) or should provide them according to the customers?

While working on a project for a university hospital to determine levels of customer service, I listened to hundreds of patients as they left a doctor to ask them what they expected in terms of services from the physician. These ranged from such things as “not keep me waiting;. “listen to me when I talk”, “show some compassion” know his stuff” and so on. 

When I grouped all the responses so far they led to five areas of quality indicators for physician customer services. They are as follows;
Responsiveness to the patient – listening skills
Completeness in explanations
Professionalism – does she know her stuff

I have a request. Could you after reading this ask your students what they expect from professors in reference to customer service in and out of class? Could you ask them to just jot these down. Five minutes in a class perhaps. Then send me the responses so I can analyze them and start to build some clear quality indicators for faculty in a class that might actually reflect what the customers feel should be evaluated.

Just send them to me at Nealr@GreatServiceMatters.come. I will share the results in a later posting.


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