• Prose and Purpose

    After 25 years on the job, a former provost examines the world on campus and in higher ed.


Customer Service

Maintaining standards and maximizing student satisfaction are totally compatible.

July 12, 2015

Customer service for all of us has become more of a priority. We should always focus on student satisfaction and, in my opinion, maintaining standards and maximizing student satisfaction are totally compatible.

Customer satisfaction should be a universal goal and we should always remember that just as good customer service makes an impact so does poor service.  One recent example of service that leaves something to be desired is a recent trip to a local auto dealer to pick up a brochure for the new model of the car driven by a family member. Now I know that all the information is available online and is often more current but in looking at colors, the brochures are often more accurate and for the family to conveniently look at the same time, the brochure is often more convenient.  To pick up a new brochure, I pulled into the dealer’s parking lot in an older version of what we are interested in buying and park conveniently right in front of the main entrance.  The license plate holder for the car clearly displays the dealer’s identity so they even know that this car came from their dealership. As I am going in the general manager introduces himself and says hello.  All seems as it should be.  I ask for the brochure.  The receptionist hands me the brochure and I leave.  When I get home, I notice it is the brochure for last year’s model.  Not helpful since this year’s model has been available for months. 

Perhaps even more annoying is when you send an email to a business that you do business with, and that email ends up repeatedly in their SPAM filter.  That just happened to me.   After the third effort, I called the person I work with in that firm and was told to once again send an email.  I did and that email also did not get through the spam filter. I followed up with an email from an auxiliary email address.  No response either until called again. 

The third example of service that leaves something to be desired is calling in a refill on a prescription to a local pharmacy which is part of a chain.  I call, get into their system, but it doesn’t allow me to enter the refill information.  I call again, once again get the usual greeting and have the same result.  I even try from a different phone and on the following day; everything starts fine and then I’m never allowed to progress.  Calling a pharmacist was also impossible.  I was in an endless loop of being asked to hold one for the next available person.  I finally call the regular number for the store involved and am told that the phone prescription system has not worked for three days.  But why can’t the message be adjusted so that customers know what to expect and what they need to do.

I’m not expecting to change either the car dealer I shop at, the business I deal with or the pharmacy.  On balance I am still pleased with all of the above entities. However, I am now much more likely to consider changing in the future should an attractive alternative present itself.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.


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