community college | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 3

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

What’s the Score?

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

When you’re competing with others, it’s easier to know if you’re winning if you’re keeping score. Seem obvious? When you’re playing an individual sport (like golf), it’s easier to know if you’re doing well if you have a goal. Also obvious?

Well here’s something that might not be as obvious. What is your key measure of success in customer service? How do you know (in measureable terms) if you’re winning, if you’re doing well?

In the article California community college students losing ground, the author notes “Statewide, 49.2 percent of the students who enrolled in 2006 to earn a certificate or transfer to a 4-year college did so within six years, compared with 52.3 percent of those who started college in 2002. Completion rates for black and Latino students were below 40 percent.

Bay Area schools reflected the statewide trends, with completion rates sliding at about two-thirds of the colleges.

Essentially, the State of California has defined “winning” for community colleges as the percentage of “students who enroll and earn a certificate or transfer to a 4-year college within years.” They monitor performance via trends and stratify it by district, ethnicity, etc.

To improve performance, you need a goal. You need a target. You need something measureable, but then you need to understand the true drivers of that measure – the causes to the effect. Remember that metrics like these do not point out what problems exist; they point out the symptoms of problems, but then the community colleges must take the next step to identify root causes.

Customer Service is not a soft science, and Student Success is not an altruistic goal. Student Success has financial impact, economic development impact, documented business and social impact. Make it more tangible by creating the scorecards that measure success as real-time as possible at both the organizational and individual student level.

Define “winning.”


What Community Colleges Get Right About Student Success

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Community colleges are rapidly moving in their efforts to foster Student Success. The term is defined as students getting a certificate, going to a 4-year college, etc. There are many great initiatives being undertaken by these institutions to facilitate success as well. In the article WNCC continues efforts to boost student success, the author recognizes Western Nebraska Community College for its initiatives including:

  • “Learning resource center, math and writing centers and its TRIO Program”
  • “Students taking classes online also (having) access to a tutoring resource”
  • Forming “a Student Success Committee that consists of faculty, staff and members of the administration who serve on five sub-committees. Initiatives include: First Year Initiatives-Intrusive Advising, Early Alert System, Wise Choices, Advisor Training and Predictive Modeling.”

This is a great list of programs for all organizations to consider. But I want to focus on two of these points that too many educational organizations miss – an “Early Alert System” and “Predictive Modeling.” While I’m not familiar with WNCC’s programs specifically, what these terms typically mean is identifying students at-risk of not being successful. This risk can be linked to what courses they take (and in what sequence), their educational history, psychosocial factors, socioeconomic factors, academic performance, and other key factors.

What WNCC and other community colleges need to include in these predictive systems is ongoing 1-on-1 research and relationship-building communications with students. It’s one thing to look at historical factors and the risk they project forward and apply those to current students. But it’s even more accurate and beneficial to simply ask current students questions to gauge their comfort, commitment, feeling of success, and expectation for moving forward.

The best system for anticipating student success is one that puts a priority on having a strong Voice of the Student program. Ensure that all the efforts for the student are done with the voice of the student being heard.

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Student Success Centers and Foundation-Building

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

In today’s strong focus in community colleges on student retention, completion, and success, there are many initiatives being undertaken to try to help students succeed. Success for community college students is often defined as “getting the certificate.” For example, the students get a degree from a community college or transfer to a 4-year institution where they work toward their degree.

To address Student Success, many community colleges are creating Student Success Centers. Here are three examples:

  • Hillsborough Community College’s Student Success Center (SSC) “houses tutorial services, a radio station and a G.E.D. program for those not yet enrolled in college. It also hosts seminars on subjects such as note taking and navigating college.”
  • Central Piedmont Community College has an SSC that provides “guidance, goal clarification, answers to questions, tutorial assistance, advising and counseling, and access to all enrollment services.”
  • The Florida Keys Community College’s SSC offers developmental math courses, a resource-connections service, tutoring, and academic workshops.

So the commonalities are tutoring, communication, getting developmental courses and skills addressed, ongoing advising, counseling, and navigation of school processes and systems. Essentially, make sure the starting point for Student Success involves foundation-building from 3 perspectives: 1) Core academic knowledge, 2) Direction on how to proceed through their program, and 3) Contacts and communications to address their needs and facilitate their movement through the program.

Look at these three perspectives for addressing new students (or for any business, new customers). How can you – from the start – ensure you begin building their knowledge of what you offer? How can you ensure they can understand how to navigate through the experience? How can you proactively stay in touch with them as they move through their journey and relationship with your organization?

To help your students (or customers) succeed, build that foundation of knowledge, comfort, and communications from the start.

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