It is easy to spot the importance of customer service in a retail setting, restaurant operations or consumer service industries. It is not as easy to see the importance in the academic world.
A large educational community in Michigan was looking for a way they could gain greater acceptance for millage requests among voters. The expense of asking for voter support and the limits imposed by the election cycles could be great success or major distraction depending on the results of an individual election.
It was determined that results would improve if the community saw the benefit of the educational community was providing. This benefit is not just in the opportunities afforded by having a strong educational community within the locale also the increase in property values by having this educational opportunity available to residents.
Marketing programs declaring the value of strong academics have fallen flat the past. Many residents saw these pieces as self-serving more so than factual.
Programs within the academic community and tremendous community outreach and offered some of this educational opportunities within the United States. This is evidenced not just by the academic scoring by the overall enrollment be experienced.
Customer service was rated very strong was not seen beyond the student-faculty level.
It was determined that customer service needed to be taken to a higher level by instilling world-class customer service between faculty and administrators, faculty and students, employees and the local taxpaying community, and between the institution and its suppliers. This total development of a superior customer service mentality would improve both internal and external impressions of the community at large.
Mandatory customer service training was prescribed for all employees of the educational community. Although the program would have to take a look at the obvious customer service elements of running campuses you would also take a strong look at student retention and outreach into the community at large. Employees who need to see themselves as ambassadors to everyone with whom they came in touch. They would need to impress upon everyone the quality of education, diversity programs, and opportunities available in all of the campuses in operation.
Following completion of the program to approximately 75% of employees a millage election was held. Not only did it pass by a wide margin exit interviews showed that members of the community understood they were fortunate to have such a facility available to them. Independent surveys showed that customer service ratings went from “good” to “great” is even those employees who thought they were getting good customer service in the past understood customer service at a much deeper level.
©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.
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