Monday, June 11, 2012

Administrators Need Customer Service Training Too - Free Book Offer

I just finished another workshop on academic customer service and hospitality at a major university. I noticed that one very important group was missing from the group of participants. The leadership of the college. The president, vice presidents, deans and many other senior managers were not at the workshop. Somehow they did not think that adding new ways to make certain that students and thus retention would remain in the positive column for the school.

I suppose they thought they had more important things to do. They were wrong. Nothing is more important than strengthening the student experience and showing support of the employees as they are being asked to consider changing the culture at the school. Nothing is more important than changing a culture. And that cannot be done without the full buy-in and modeling of senior administrators.

Did they think it would appear that academic customer service and showing hospitality for students is something for others to do? Do they not realize that customer service and hospitality excellence are for everyone including senior administration? Did they think they were somehow exempt from improving their service and hospitality to everyone on campus?

What they missed was that by not showing up for these workshops (I repeated the workshops twice to make sure that no office was closed for people to attend which would have been horrible customer service) sent a message that they were not fully supporting the effort to improve the student experience on campus. This is an error in changing the culture on campus to improve service excellence and thus retention and revenue too.

As a past college president I know that there are many things for an administrator to do but I also know that it is very important to stamp events and cultural changes with a senior administrator stamp of approval. This tells everyone that this activity is important just by showing up. I also know that even a president can carve out some time to be a role model and show up for a workshop to signal that this is important.

The president of a college has an important role to play by letting others know what is important. This means that at times the president needs to be there to say this is valuable. He or she also needs to tell the administrators that this is important enough for them to show up and show support for the effort.

The power of the role model making it clear that students and their satisfaction with the school are important need to be emphasized by participation. Not simply because it is important to show up but because too many senior administrators do not provide enough customer service to quality them not to learn more.

The simple fact that they did not show up shows that they may not care enough about some of  their customers,  staff and managers, to participate with them. By not showing up to learn with their customers they are saying that somehow they do not care about them that much and they are somehow better than them and already know all that is needed to be known. This is wrong.

As we do audits of campuses for their service and hospitality strengths and weaknesses we find that the staff in particular feel the administrators do not treat them as well as they could. They simply do not provide good service to either employees or students. Yet they do not seem to feel that improving customer service is something for them to do. They are wrong. They need to learn more about customer service as well.

We even have special workshops just for administrators similar to the one we did recently at the University oif Massachusetts in Dartmouth. In that we focus on the specific roles and functions of an administrator and the rules they need to follow to help improve academic cusotmer service and hospitality on campus. These rules include:

Customer Service Rules for Managers

Rule 1
Students are our primary customers
Rule 2
Our colleagues are our customers too
Rule 3
Take care of our customers
Our customers’ needs must come before our own or we will lose customers. Always have time for customers!
Rule 4
If an employee deserves praise, praise her
If an employee does not deserve praise, retrain him
Rule 5
Annual reviews are too late and have limited value
Conduct informal reviews at least once a month and
Listen twice as much as you talk
Rule 6
Say thank you to each employee at least once a day
Rule 7
Celebrate small victories
Celebrate big victories big
Rule 8
Remember that your colleagues have lives outside of work
You do too
Rule 9
If the phone is ringing and everyone is busy, answer it
No work is below you
Rule 10
To help out with this furthering the understanding of the importance of academic customer service and hospitality I am offering free PDF copy of one of my books Customer Service and the Cost of Attrition for any administrator. If you want to get a copy to pass on to an administrator you can do that gladly too. Just email me at  and request one. Be happy to get more administrators involved.

If this article made sense to you, you may want to contact N.Raisman & Associates to see how you can improve academic customer service and hospitality to increase student satisfaction and retention.
UMass Dartmouth invited Dr. Neal Raisman to campus to present on "Service Excellence in Higher Ed"  as a catalyst event used to kick off a service excellence program.  Dr. Neal Raisman presents a very powerful but simple message about the impact that customer service can have on retention and the overall success of the university.  Participants embraced his philosophy as was noted with heads nods and hallway conversations after the session.  Not only did he have data to back up what he was saying, but Dr. Raisman spoke of specific examples based on his own personal experience working at a college as  Dean and President.  Our Leadership Team welcomed the "8 Rules of Customer Service", showing their eagerness to go to the next step in rolling Raisman's message out.  We could not have been more pleased with his eye-opening presentation.    Sheila Whitaker UMass-Dartmouth
If you want more information on NRaisman& Associates or to learn more about what you can do to improve academic customer service excellence on campus, get in touch with us or get a copy of our best selling book The Power of Retention. 


Unknown said...

Dr. Raisman: Thank you for this blog, I come to it often. Also, thank you for the book, I will begin reading it after I finish "The Power of Retention". I have already emailed your book to the VP of Academic Affairs, the Registrar and one of the Deans.

Unknown said...

Dr. Raisman: I am enjoying your blog and read it often. Thank you for your book and I will start it once I finish "The Power of Retention."