higher education | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

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

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

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 to them.

It’s a good lesson for any business, any industry.  Whether you work in sports, local government, healthcare – if you’re going to have more than a 1-time transactional engagement with the customer, here are some lessons to learn from the education industry.

Our elementary and middle school clients make special efforts to get to know the students and their family situations.  What is happening to those students personally helps to understand how to deal with those students and their challenges, and identify what kind of a support system they need.

Our high school clients strive to uncover what students are trying to accomplish, and what that next step involves.  The high schools are trying to help the students grow while also preparing them for whatever that next place is in life.

Our Higher Ed clients engage the students to continue that development but also to help them plan for the future.  Not just that immediate next step, but getting them prepared to be productive members of society, and to set that long-term career track on the right path.

These educational clients understand the need to get to know their customers – their students – more individually. That requires of some that they really understand their personal situations, because that can inform how to engage them.  It also involves trying to understand the near-term goals, to see how to help them get to that very next step.  In other cases, it’s a matter of understanding their long-term goals or desires, so they can work on a plan to get from today to a future tomorrow.

When you’re thinking about relationship development with your clients, try to remember what impacted you in elementary school or middle school, your priorities and decisions to be made in high school, your goals and long-term vision in college or some other type of advanced training. Then, consider these lessons learned from the education industry.

Grow relationships by understanding your clients more personally, uncovering what they need, and helping to map out a plan for what they want for the future.

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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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