Customer service for college administrative staff starts by identifying who their customers are.  Even in a higher education environment there are internal customers and external customers.  External customers range from mainly the student, to parents, alumni, board members, vendors, visitors on campus, and outside businesses.flipchart

This is a concept easily understood by most.  What is difficult in educational institutions is to start thinking of the person who you give your work to in the next department (or your boss) that this is your “internal customer.”

Service excellence starts by giving your internal customer good service.  Good service from one department to another department becomes a domino effect so ultimately the external customer receives what they need on time, accurate, complete, and with a smile.

A great way to start a dialogue on customer service with your administrative staff is to hold a 30 minute meeting.  Have a flipchart titled:  Who Are Our Customers?  Identify the difference between internal and external customers and ask for their responses.  Write these on the flipchart.  Have a second flipchart titled:  What’s Important to our External Customers?”  Record responses.  Follow this by asking, “what’s important to our internal customers?”  Acknowledge how many of the same things that are important to external customers is important to internal customers.  Summarize the meeting by stating:

“Everyone has an impact on delivering great service.”