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Breakout Sessions

Making the Connection – Why Customer Service is Essential

When results of customer surveys confirmed low satisfaction levels, Facilities & Services (F&S) recognized the need to transform its communications model to more actively engage campus customers. Through forums, focus groups, and individual discussions, F&S listened to customer recommendations then acted quickly to address their concerns. At the same time, F&S engaged employees in this process through internal meetings, customer service training, and the customer forums. This strategy has changed the tone of communications and created stronger relationships between employees and customers, who now better understand each other’s challenges. It also enabled our employees to more effectively meet the needs of the campus community. The results of the 2012 customer survey showed a 6% increase in general customer satisfaction, supporting the organization’s observed campus-wide shift in attitude towards F&S.

1. Participants will share how listening to customers is only the first step in improving communications. A network of conversations with customers facilitated through meetings, focus groups, and site visits is necessary to clarify their concerns and fully understand their perspectives.
2. Particiapants will hear of the importance of employee understanding, buy-in, and participation are essential in creating a culture focused on customer service thus improving customer experiences.
3. Particiapnts will disucss how developing relationships and partnerships with customers allows for proactive communication, a key to alleviating concerns.

Dee Dee Caneva, University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign; Andy Blacker, University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign