Kennesaw State University wins top honors for customer service

Recognizing a campus−wide commitment to changing processes and attitudes to provide exemplary…

Georgia (Nov 13, 2007) — Kennesaw State University wins top honors for customer service

Dwight Cunningham

Abstract

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

Writer: Dwight Cunningham‚ 770−423−6203 or dcunni14@kennesaw.edu

University System of Georgia cites excellence in initiative‚ leadership

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (Nov. 13‚ 2007) — Recognizing a campus−wide commitment to changing processes and attitudes to provide exemplary customer service‚ Kennesaw State University was named “Customer Service Institution of the Year‚” University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. announced today at the November Board of Regents meeting.

In the first customer service awards ever given by the USG‚ Kennesaw State University has shown “the highest commitment‚ the highest performances and the most improvement in customer service across the organization over the last year‚” a Board of Regents spokesman said.

KSU also was feted with two other top “gold” customer service awards. KSU’s Michael J. Coles College of Business won for its “Customer Service Improvement Initiative.” Richard Franza‚ chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship‚ and Victor Marshall‚ an instructor of management‚ headed a project team that implemented techniques to develop a schedule of course offerings to better fulfill student demand in terms of courses offered‚ the number of sections and seats for each course‚ the times courses are offered‚ and modes of delivery.

Linda Lyons‚ director of the Center for University Learning and KSU’s customer service “champion‚” won for “Outstanding Customer Service Leadership” by implementing a program that rewards outstanding work performance in customer service‚ communication and building relationships.

Additionally‚ KSU’s “New Hires Project” won a silver award for its efforts to help curb many time−consuming personnel procedures. The effort’s team leader is Martha Roth of the university’s project management office.

In all‚ KSU’s model of being more responsive to customers is proof that its faculty and staff are committed to providing faster‚ friendlier and easier services‚ KSU President Daniel S. Papp said.

“Kennesaw State University’s continuous emphasis on its positive strides toward excellence in customer service has complemented our growth and visibility to the outside community‚” Papp said.

Jim Flowers‚ the university system’s customer service champion‚ praised Papp and Lyons for their leadership.

“They‚ as well as all staff and faculty at KSU‚ should be commended for their energetic support of an initiative that will not only improve student satisfaction‚ but will lead to an improvement of retention and an improvement of graduation rates — a strategic goal of all of our institutions.”

While KSU has long embraced the concept of providing quality customer service‚ Papp took that mantra much further‚ in concert with Gov. Sonny Perdue’s statewide customer−service initiative.

KSU implemented several process−improvement projects based on the Six Sigma methodology‚ which encompasses a customer−focused management mindset that involves a systematic approach to problem solving and change management.

FROM COMPLAINTS TO SUCCESS

At KSU’s Coles College of Business‚ the customer−service project‚ headed by Franza and Marshall‚ won the chancellor’s gold award. Their project team was geared to respond to student complaints that the courses they wanted were not available when they requested them.

As opposed to just addressing these complaints through trial and error‚ a new plan was implemented. Using a systematic approach to identifying problems with scheduling
and determining solutions that truly met students’ needs‚ the focus quickly became the need to implement new scheduling options. Customer expectations were soon met‚ as evidenced by continuous growth in enrollment and improved utilization rates in the university’s resources.

Another example of the school’s effective use of process improvements addressed the unprecedented enrollment growth that KSU is now experiencing‚ resulting in an increase in new hires. Enrollment has grown 35 percent in the 10 years‚ which has created similar increases in faculty/staff recruitment and hires.

Seeking to alleviate extensive new−hire procedures‚ the “New Hires Project” was initiated with a mission to implement an online process that would provide a new hire with full access to campus services‚ information‚ and resources on their first day of work at KSU. Since the project’s implementation‚ team members were able to demonstrate responsiveness and sensitivity to campus needs by implementing a new Web site in August‚ in time for the fall hiring cycle. For this effort‚ the chancellor honored KSU with a silver award for outstanding customer service improvement.

THE ‘LYONS’ DEN

Lyons provided coordination and management of the campus’ overall customer service initiative. With her take−charge attitude‚ Lyons‚ immediately saw the importance to acknowledge individuals who often went beyond the call of duty.

Called the “Shining Star Recognition Program‚” more than 200 employees have been nominated. The program has fostered behaviors that enhance not only the services and vision of departments‚ but promote a campus culture of service.

The program has generated excitement among a more motivated faculty and staff. One prime example is how units come together to surprise a monthly award winner — often bearing gifts and flowers. In one case‚ the winner’s unit notified the recipient’s family of his recognition. They all appeared — his wife‚ children‚ even his parents — for the presentation‚ a truly touching moment in the effort to recognize colleagues who demonstrated outstanding customer service.

“I am really excited that Kennesaw State has been recognized for this honor‚” Lyons said. “It demonstrates the commitment that Dr. Papp‚ his leadership cabinet‚ and all of us here has to promote a culture of service throughout our campus community.”

The gold awards were presented Nov. 13 at the Board of Regents meeting in downtown Atlanta. The silver award will be presented at a later date to be announced.

ONLINE PRESS KIT:
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For more about the awards‚ visit www.customerfocus.usg.edu.

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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.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 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. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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