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


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Frances Weyand Harrison

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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.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. 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. For more information, visit