Reconnect with Great Customer Service

Posted By: Stephanie Kernozicky Positive IDentity Blog,
Reconnect with Great Customer Service

Stephanie Kernozicky - Connect on LinkedIn
One Card Office Director
University of Connecticut

Customer service seems to have gone by the wayside lately, in all industries. People are stressed, short-staffed, or simply unreachable – the black hole of the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. It is disheartening to hear when someone is surprised that we answer the phone in our office, and they can immediately talk with a person. Let’s change the culture. It should be the expectation that people are here to help.

Certainly, daily interactions are not always unicorns and butterflies. It could just be one of those days for you or perhaps the person on the phone won’t stop yelling long enough for you to get a word in. We all have our days, but let’s try to be better. We could make a huge difference if we pause and try to put ourselves in their shoes. For our students, I often think “if I were their parent or guardian, would I be satisfied with this interaction?”

The card office has a great responsibility. People depend on their card to eat and sleep – not to mention get into the big game (above all else). Of course, our offices don’t always oversee all the things that the ID touches. Customer service can be put to the test when a problem arises that is out of our control. It’s easy enough to say, “Oh that’s not us”, but that doesn’t help the person. All too often I see cardholders bounced around between departments to get something resolved.

We recently had a student that was having trouble getting into their residence hall. Residential Life insisted there was nothing wrong with the doors and asked that we reissue the card. Although we tested the card and all the chips were working, we gave Residential Life the benefit of the doubt, and with the intent to help the student, reissued them a new card. Unbelievably, this happened two more times within the same week! The student didn’t know what to do because Residential Life continued to respond that the door was programmed correctly. We found this incredulous and decided to walk with the student to their residence hall to see what was happening. It really was meant to be a fact-finding expedition because we have no control over the door system. However, after the student trying a lot of doors and a couple of us even presenting our own cards, we stumbled across an interesting tidbit. The door readers were very particular about the orientation that you presented your card. Once we identified the most successful way for the student to present their card, they were able to get in. Yes, it took some time for us to walk with the student to do this and yes, it wasn’t “our job”, but I will tell you this… I feel much better knowing that the student has one less thing to worry about while away from home. I can only hope when my kids are at college, that they have people around that care.

Of course, great customer service doesn’t mean always letting someone get their way or always resolving their issue. It means doing the best you can to help them. This could be as simple as lending an ear to let them vent or calling an office that can resolve the issue on the cardholder’s behalf. Simple things like smiling and greeting the person makes a difference. Or when answering the phone, state the name of the department and your name, personalizing the call.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s day. Let’s reconnect with what great customer service means.

Front Desk Customer Service