Providing Quality Customer Service
With the start of a new academic year at Kent State University, staff in many departments may find themselves dealing with an increase in questions from students, faculty, staff, parents and others from outside the university. This is a good time to recommit ourselves to our core values, including “respect, kindness and purpose in all we do.” Here are some important reminders for providing quality customer service to everyone who contacts your department, whether it is in person, on the phone, through e-mail or via social media.
The Division of Human Resources offers the following advice:
- Smile when greeting a customer (whether the individual is internal or external to the university) and maintain a professional, pleasant personality, even during a difficult interaction.
- Remember that all customers deserve your polite attention regardless of age, gender identity or appearance. Use age-appropriate greetings and respectful personal references. Avoid referring to customers as “guys.”
- Use clear and concise communication skills – listen carefully to what the customer is saying and ask questions to make sure you understand the real issue. Respond in a helpful, positive manner. While you may not be able to provide exactly what the customer requests, consider offering a positive alternative. For example, “I’m sorry I cannot do X for you right now, but what I can do is (offer alternative).” Please refrain from offering personal opinions or comments.
- Practice empathy, patience and consistency. Each customer is different – some will be pleasant, some will be upset and some may have numerous questions. It is important to know how to handle different situations and provide the same level of professional service to each customer.
- If you do not know the answer to a question, let the customer know. Then offer to either find someone who does know the answer or to get back to the customer once you have the information. Avoid redirecting the customer in a manner that feels like the “runaround.”
- Stay calm, even when things get hectic or the customer becomes frustrated. If you find yourself becoming agitated, politely excuse yourself to step back and regain your composure. If needed, ask a colleague to help.
- If you are approached by a member of the media, please direct the person to contact media relations at University Communications and Marketing at 330-672-2727. Even if you are the best person to answer the reporter’s questions, media relations should manage the inquiry.
Please keep these tips in mind not only at the beginning of the semester but throughout the year. For more information on customer service-related training and educational opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.