Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Twenty-Five Principles to Increase Academic Customer Service Excellence

Over the years of researching, consulting and writing about academic customer service and hospitality to increase student satisfaction and retention, we have provided lists of principles. They change every few years as we learn more and see the need to emphasize certain basic ideas that are important to increasing customer service to students. As we looked them all over to rethink the Principles for the next iteration, we discovered twenty-five that have stood the test of time. We have added a twenty-sixth which will be in the upcoming list of fifteen new principles which we will publish soon.  They are listed below.

If a school worked to implement each of these, they would definitely increase service excellence on campus.

Principles of Good Academic Customer Service

1.       Every student wants to attend cheers university and 
every employee wants to work there!   
“where everybody knows your name and they’re awfully glad you came”

2.       Do unto students as you would have done unto your son, your daughter, your mother or your father.

3.       Students come before personal or college-focused goals. 
Students really are more important than you or I are.

4.       The goal is not to recruit the very best students, 
but to make the students you recruit their very best.

5.       Processes, rules and products should assure that students and learning are at the center of the institution. If not, rethink them.

6.       Be honest in all communications.  Do not patronize.

7.       Students can never be an inconvenience.

8.       Just because someone else did a dis-service or harm does not relieve you of correcting the injury.

9.       Students and employees deserve an environment that is neat, bright, 
welcoming and safe.

10.   Students are not really customers.  They are professional clients.

11.   The customer is not always right. 
That’s why they come to college and take tests.

12.   Satisfaction is not enough and never the goal.

13.   Do not cheapen the product and call it customer service. No cheap grades.   No pandering. 

14.   To every problem there is more than one solution and they may be external rather than within academia.

15.   Not everyone is capable of providing good customer service.  That does not mean they do not have value somewhere.   

16.   There must be a good match between the college and the student 
or do not enroll the student.

17.   Fulfill all promises

18.   Engagement starts at first contact and continues into alumni status.  Engage. 
Engage.  Engage and then engage again.

19.   Everyone deserves an environment that is neat, bright, welcoming and safe.

20.   All members of the community must be given courteous, concerned 
and prompt attention to their needs and value.

21.   Train, trust and empower all employees to do what is right to help students.

22.   Give a damn about graduating students; not just recruiting them.

23.  Websites must be well designed, easy to navigate, written for and 
focused on students and  actually informative

24.   Attendance is key to being able provide good customer service and must be attended to with a  Campus-wide policy.

25.   Decorum in the classroom is an important service and training for the future  

26.   Every student and person on campus deserves a greeting and a smile from you. Provide them.

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

The University of Toledo was able to really get its customer excellence focused after Dr. Raisman and his team performed a full campus service excellence audit of the University. Dr. Raisman’s team came on campus for a week and identified every area we could improve and where we are doing well. The extensive and detailed report will form a blueprint for greater customer service excellence at the University that will make us an even better place for students to attend, study and succeed. Thank you, Dr. Raisman, for doing a great job. We unreservedly recommend his customer service audits to any school looking to improve customer service, retention and graduation rates.    Iaon Duca, University of Toledo
The report generated from the full campus customer service audit that N.Raisman & Associates did for our college provided information from an external reviewer that raised awareness toward customer service and front end processes.  From this audit and report, Broward College has included in its strategic plan strategies that include process mapping.  Since financial aid was designed as the department with the most customer service challenges that department has undergone process mapping related to how these process serve or do not serve students optimally.  It has been transformational and has prompted a process remap of how aid is processed for new and continuing students.                            Angelia Millender, Broward College (FL)

If this piece had value for you, you will want to get a copy of The Power of Retention by clicking here NOW 


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