Gov. Perdue awards Kennesaw State University three customer service honors

Gov. Sonny Perdue has awarded three customer service honors to Kennesaw State University‚ the only…

Georgia (Feb 22, 2008) — Gov. Perdue awards Kennesaw State University three customer service honors

Sabbaye McGriff

Abstract

Contact: Director of University Relations
Frances Weyand Harrison
770−423−6203
fharris4@kennesaw.edu

Contact/Writer: Sabbaye McGriff‚ 678−797−2550 or smcgrif1@kennesaw.edu

Gov. Perdue awards Kennesaw State University three customer service honors
Awards to financial aid office‚ bookstore and top individual ‘champion’


KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Feb. 22‚ 2008) — Gov. Sonny Perdue has awarded three customer service honors to Kennesaw State University‚ the only University System of Georgia institution to garner three awards.

The university was cited for its systematic approach to improving customer service and focusing on understanding students’ needs. Its financial aid office and designated customer service “champion” also were honored for team and individual accomplishments‚ respectively.

KSU honorees were among 45 teams and individuals selected from some 400 nominated to receive the first “Team Georgia Customer Recognition Program” awards. Perdue launched the program last year to recognize contributions state agencies and their employees make to providing Georgia residents faster‚ friendlier and easier service.

“We are very pleased that Gov. Perdue recognizes and appreciates the hard work our staff and departments are doing to make sure we remain customer−focused‚” said KSU President Daniel S. Papp. “These honors motivate us‚ and let us know that we are on the right track when we devote the kind of time and effort it takes to achieve an institutional customer service culture.”

Top Customer Service Team

KSU’s financial aid office team‚ represented by director Rondall Day and Nancy King‚ vice president for student success and enrollment services‚ were cited for customer service initiatives resulting in reduced wait times for students to see counselors and more privacy when they discuss individual financial aid matters.

For example‚ financial aid officials eliminated the bank−style windows where students formerly stood in line and transacted business. Now students meet individually in counselors’ private offices. The department also redesigned the office lobby to be more attractive and comfortable for students and visitors.

The emphasis on service has become a way of thinking and operating‚ said Day‚ noting departmental changes including extensive staff training‚ using focus groups and surveys to help guide the department and designating an intern whose sole focus is customer service.

“We train and retrain our staff on how to answer phones‚ deflate situations‚ be tactful‚ and offer the best possible customer service in the face of many federal guidelines‚ such as those about confidentiality and how much financial aid we can award each student‚” he said.

Top Individual Honor

The “top individual” customer service award went to Linda Lyons‚ director of the Center for University Learning and KSU’s customer service “champion.” She was cited for leadership in establishing the university−wide recognition program. Called‚ “Shining Star‚” the program rewards outstanding work performance in customer service‚ communication and building relationships. In November‚ Lyons also won top customer service honors from the University System of Georgia.

KSU’s bookstore is indicative of what Lyons had in mind when she created the university−wide recognition program‚ she said.

A “Shining Star” recipient for both team and individual performance‚ the bookstore mantra became‚ “Just smiling and greeting customers‚” says Percy Ivey‚ bookstore assistant manager. “It’s a small thing‚ but we weren’t doing that before. Then we tried an escort service. Instead of telling someone where a book was‚ a staff member escorted them to it.”

“Shining Star” also recognized bookstore employees for service above and beyond. For example‚ when Jenaid Bhatti‚ an associate‚ encountered a distressed customer with a flat tire‚ he changed it. Sharon Chesser‚ a buyer‚ volunteered to stay late to help a customer who had an emergency and could not get to the store before closing.

The bookstore’s team effort has produced harder evidence of the value of a focused‚ team approach to customer service. The store previously relied on part−time staff to operate the cash registers. During the rush at the beginning of each semester‚ long lines were customary.

Not now.

“Now‚ everybody pitches in to man all 10 of the registers during the rush – full−time staff and managers‚” Ivey said. “During the most recent rush‚ we served 25 customers in five minutes. That’s pretty good in retail.”

As honored as she was to receive the special honor from the governor‚ Lyons says she is equally excited about the impact “Shining Star” is having on campus culture.

“This award just reiterates the university’s commitment to service‚” Lyons said. “The program has created a ripple effect among employees because it motivates people – not only to provide better service‚ but to engage in more quality interactions with their customers. People are taking the initiative to go beyond just doing the job and really improving their communications. Everyone reaps the benefits of that.”

###


A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of more than 20‚000 from 132 countries. The third−largest university in Georgia‚ Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including a new doctorate in education.

MORE NEWS…



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

©