student success | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

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

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.

Did you like this post? Here are other Student Success-related posts:


Student Success is About Getting to One

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

The article Community College Group Launches Texas Success Center has Lone Star Community College System Chancellor Richard Carpenter noting that “There are about 30 different student success programs at Texas colleges. They are programs designed to help students complete their two-year degrees or successfully move on to a four-year university. ‘We find ourselves initiative rich,’ he said. ‘All of these initiatives must be herded.’”

This statement is followed by the announcement that a new Texas Success Center “will be supported by about $2.4 million provided by the state’s 50 community colleges, the Kresge Foundation, the Houston Endowment, the Greater Texas Foundation, the Meadows Foundation and TG, a nonprofit corporation that provides financial planning support to Texas students.”

Just percolate on that for a minute…there are 30+ initiatives, and the State needs $2.4 million to aggregate, or simplify, or eliminate, or better communicate about those initiatives. Most likely, what is being done at the community colleges to improve Student Success is laudable and is specific to that college’s students, curriculum, faculty, and future vision. So any effort to herd initiatives should be done with that understanding of local focus in mind.

In addition, a litmus test for each dollar spent and each initiative tested needs to start with the basic agreement that Student Success is about getting to one. It’s about knowing (at times, even before the student knows) how each one individual student can succeed, how the student defines success, how likely they are to succeed, and what can be done to ensure success. In other words, how does one initiative help one community college to help one student succeed?

Get to the point where each college can know each student on a 1-to-1 basis, and you’ll get the point where Student Success is within reach.

Did you like this post? Here are other Student Success-related posts:


Coach for Student Success

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Vince Lombardi was the coach of the Green Bay Packers, but would his style really work well in an Education setting? Apparently it did – along with being a great football coach, he also was a successful teacher of Latin, algebra, physics and chemistry. In other words, teaching and coaching can be very similar.

And in the University and Community College arenas these days, teaching doesn’t just apply to the classroom. Much of what students need to be taught involves everything that surrounds the classroom. It’s the financial aid, general time management, navigating school processes and policies, dealing with school-specific tech applications, or navigating a campus.

To address the need to teach about these aspects of the Student Experience, some colleges are investing in Success Coaches. In the article “Success coaches” prodding college students to graduate, examples from Wallace State Community College and the University of Toledo are highlighted. Essentially, the coaches’ responsibilities can involve many tasks including:

  • Monitoring student accounts to ensure students are staying on-time and on-track with registering, attending, and completing classes.
  • Communicating with faculty about issues or red-flags, then taking action.
  • Being almost like an account representative for a pro sports team’s season ticket holders, being the main point of contact for the student.

Of particular benefit to First Generation Students, these coaches have a 1-to-1 perspective of their relationship with the students, working to keep tabs on, develop relationships with, and help to navigate their student experience.

Think of all the information that your organization has available on your customers or your students. Then ask, who is that dedicated resource charged with looking at and acting on that information to ensure student retention, a great student experience, and long-term success?

Find a coach to help guide the student to success.

Did you like this post? Here are other Student Success-related posts: