higher education | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to Read more

From Anaheim Schools to All Our Ears – Purpose and Strategy

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 9-11-14I’ve been hearing the word “Purpose” a lot lately. It’s being used to address a person or organization’s mission and how that mission is above and beyond the function being performed.

“Purpose” in the world of education has a very clear meaning to Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda of the Anaheim Union High School District. In a recent Orange County Breeze article, the Superintendent welcomed the students and families into the new school year, but he did it in a different way – strategically, yet personally.

When people think about strategy, they think about planning, tactics, timetables, and milestones. But what that strategy should start with is the Vision, Mission, or Goal – in this Superintendent’s case, the strategy starts with a discussion of Purpose. He notes that “we must align all stakeholders under the common goal of graduating our students college and career ready with purpose.” He links those educational purposes then to community purposes: “A quality education for every child will benefit them through job readiness, a better economy, higher property values, and lower crime rates.”

He then gets into tactics, talking about feeder districts and higher education stakeholders. He talks personally about needed actions for staff and parents, and he discusses fiscal matters. He ends by closing the loop on whom the Purpose is for – the students.

The key lesson learned from Anaheim for K-12 schools and other school districts is this: Before launching the next great initiative, before getting too strategic, and DEFINITELY before getting too tactical, do two things. First, be clear on the Purpose and how that Purpose is about the experience of the student and preparing the student for the future. Second, be intentional about identifying all the stakeholders in the process and educating them on how living that Purpose relies on them and – ultimately – impacts them.

Be clear on the Purpose to best align all actions and stakeholders toward a common future.

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Student Success Starts with Knowing Them

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 4-23-14Phillips Community College in Arkansas won an award recently for Student Success – increasing its graduation and 4-year college transfer performance.

With the plethora of best practices and concepts, programs and pathways, you might think that the Student Success was driven by these proven strategies…but you’d be incorrect.

According to the article PCCUA recognized for student success, the starting point was understanding the student. Who are they? What is their background? What’s the lens through which they see college life and experience PCCUA? Apparently, many students come from generational poverty, and the faculty and staff do not.

This basic fact gets at a core problem with many organizations in the education industry and other industries as well these days. There are leaders, faculty, or staff that know a product, they know a topic, they know a program. But delivering that knowledge effectively often requires that they know the person to whom they deliver. We can’t assume that all students receive and process information in the same way, that they all want the same learning environment and examples.

Sometimes to best impart knowledge, we have to – first – know the student.

Survey your students. Ask them questions. Learn about their past. Then learn what most effectively guides them to a future of possibilities.

Student Success starts with knowing them.

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Student Success and Relationship Management

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Isn’t Student Success, in the end, about getting a degree? If so, then why are some Universities and Community Colleges focused on relationship management? Account representatives are for professional sports organizations. But higher ed? Nah…

Well in the article TTU recommits to student success, Tennessee Tech University is noting the link between Student Success and relationship management. According to TTU’s Retention Services director, “The university is adding as many as a dozen professional advisers this spring. When the class of 2018 attends summer orientation, those advisers will help them register for their first semester and on, throughout their academic careers. One of the keys to retention is that students are going to feel more confident if they build a relationship with someone and have a clear path to their goal early in their college experience. That builds security and it shows that Tech really cares that you succeed here.”

This is about a University that has asked itself what drives Student Retention and Success? Part of the answer was having dedicated resources that are focused on getting to know students and develop relationships over time with those students so that needs are met, issues are addressed, goals are achieved, and progress toward success is made.

Educational organizations cannot create Student Success with a speech or by wishing that it happen. There must be a relationship development process designed that is an integral part of the strategy and includes dedicated resources. Relationship Management strategies in any organization typically include four key phases:

  • Getting to Know the Student – Preferences, retention drivers, satisfaction, involvement levels, etc.
  • Communicating with the Student – Setting up year-round Touch Point Plans to develop and nurture relationships with clients.
  • Retaining the Student – Applying your knowledge of their retention drivers to address what would make them remain and succeed…or leave.
  • Growing with the Student – Identifying and acting on ways to grow your relationship with them and continue it post-graduation.

Create a Student Success strategy that incorporates dedicated resources and relationship management.

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