Temple Times Online Edition
    MAY 25, 2006
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Focus on customer service is paying off

Last month, a leading customer-service specialist visited Temple to speak to staff. While he was here, he spent a day observing customer service in action and talking to students about their customer service experiences at the University.

For those who thought customer service at Temple has always been terrific, with little room for improvement, his response may be surprising. For those who believed that, in spite of Universitywide efforts to enhance customer service over the past several years, things have remained virtually the same, the news is even more unexpected.

According to Neal A. Raisman, president of higher education consulting firm AcademicMAPS and author of the best-selling book Embrace the Oxymoron: Customer Service in Higher Education, there has been a noteworthy and positive change in customer service at Temple.

In a recent letter to President David Adamany, Raisman wrote, "Last week, I had the pleasure and honor to provide some customer service workshops with some wonderful people at Temple University. I had an unusual experience at Temple. It is the first university or college I have been to where it seems, for the most part, everyone gets the value and concept of customer service.

"Students were generous in their praise for how they were treated at the University in the past year," wrote Raisman, whose higher education experience includes time as chancellor of Briarcliffe College, president at SUNY Rockland Community College and Onondaga Community College, and associate provost at the University of Cincinnati. "When I asked what they would want to change, most students had to think to find something if they found anything at all. They recognized that something had changed at the University -- changed for the better.

"Your leadership on customer service has certainly had a positive effect that will help Temple grow retention and morale."

Many University departments have actively contributed to a sustained effort to enhance customer service at the University. Human Resources has made customer service the required developmental competency on all employees' Performance Development Plans for the past three years and has offered a wide variety of training programs to prepare managers and staff to deliver quality service to students, parents and co-workers. HR has also improved service and encourages feedback via survey on its Web site. Student Affairs has a comprehensive program in place to emphasize customer service, which included the invitation to Raisman to come to campus. The University has come a long way and recognizes the importance of continuing its commitment to service excellence.

New training for student workers

Because student workers are both University customers and University employees who provide service to other students and staff, the Human Resources Department has developed a student worker training program.

Designed to be delivered face-to-face or online, the program covers the attributes, skills and qualities expected of student workers; basic telephone skills and customer service concepts; appropriate and professional dress; handling confidential information; the do's and don'ts of computer usage; Temple University's Worker's Compensation Benefit; Temple University's anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policy; and more.

For additional information, to schedule training or to receive directions on how to complete the program online, contact HR manager Eric Brunner at 215-204-3318 or eric.brunner@temple.edu.