Thursday, February 4, 2010

Service Excellence - Feb 3 discussion group summary

Pam Bischoff facilitated our second face-to-face discussion on the theme of Service Excellence yesterday at the David Lam Campus and she provides this summary. Please feel free to comment. --Scott

Service Excellence discussion group summary - from Pam Bischoff, Manager of Institutional Research

A small group of employees including a Douglas College student participated in this discussion topic.

Defining Service Excellence:
Some felt there is a distinction to be made between what a student wants and what a student needs – the challenge is to strike a balance between these two states based on what is deemed reasonable. For the group, “The customer is always right” credo really doesn’t capture what service excellence is about; rather it’s the importance of listening which seemed to resonate most with the group. Further, there is a definite distinction between a college and university service ethos – the college experience is more personable.

Viewpoints:
Service Excellence can be a differentiator in the education market but for it to be truly meaningful and successful it has to be adopted as institutional culture, through and through – each interaction with a student should feel “fresh” and individualized.

Service is also something we do for each other, not only for the students we collectively serve.

We also need to measure “how we do” and whether we meet expectations, while recognizing that we can’t please everyone.

The “Service Pathway” is part of a learner’s pathway and while it constitutes 20% of a student’s experience it can be the difference between whether a student makes it to the classroom or not. The other 80% extends to a student’s instructional experience, and while feedback is primarily positive some students feel a sense of “empty promise” when evaluations don’t produce any changes.

We need to evaluate student transitions between service groups to ensure they are effective and that no one is being lost as they navigate their way through our services.

Strategic points:

Branding Service
– “We’ll treat you as an individual. We’ll listen, even though we can’t guarantee we’ll always deliver what you want.”

– If we choose to brand service we must do it well

– Have to follow through on promises

– Supports our recruitment and retention efforts

– Tag line: “Douglas College, where you matter”

Communications
– Need to be as effective as possible and JIT (just in time)

– Notice boards not effective for all – consider different ways of getting the word out

- Customizable – give students the option to select their preferred mode of communications (email, phone, texting, etc.) and maybe indicate areas of interest that they want to receive information about (e.g., student life, health and wellness services, athletic events, etc.)

– Some services, e.g. career planning are not well known by students.

– Communications should be in bite size bits – to the point

Culture of Responding to Feedback on Service
– Look for solutions to service issues in student feedback

– Maybe use a student rep as the conduit to collect student feedback

– Need a mechanism for staying in tune with service expectations

– Infrastructure needs to align with our service philosophy and model

– Policy isn’t always the appropriate response to an issue – goodwill response sometimes worth far more

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What do you think? We welcome your comments on this discussion.

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