Two main ingredients are required to lead a culture of customer service in higher education: communications and personal example.

Consistent communication of the way you expect employees to treat students must be transmitted on a regular basis. All formats of communication should be considered to ensure the message is heard on all levels. One-way communications in the form of email, banners, bulletin boards, newsletters, and posters are all possible means to share information and success stories of ways to deliver great service. By rotating the medium and the message, it will keep the focus on service fresh and interesting. Meetings with managers, department heads and senior leadership promotes two-way communications to allow for employees to ask questions and leadership to hear what might be obstacles that get in the way of delivering excellent service.

And nothing is more powerful in creating a culture of service than for employees to see their leadership demonstrating excellent service themselves. Watching how they treat their peers, their staff, and students will set the tone for how serious the message of customer service will be taken by everyone in the rest of the organization. People judge others not by their intentions, but by their actions. Leaders must walk the talk of excellent service.