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About U Message from the administration.

Chaucey Aboutu

The five steps of 'Feel the Teal'

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It might feel like the movie "Groundhog Day" because we are talking about Feel the Teal again, and we will keep talking about this initiative because it is important to the future of this great institution. Feel the Teal is about what CCU means to this state and this region, both in terms of education, culture and the local economy, as I shared in my State of the University speech in January.

Our revised two-pronged approach calls for a heightened awareness on the part of staff who are asked to provide customer service, and on the part of the faculty, who are working to ensure our students’ success. The program is quickly gaining momentum. Training has begun, and several campus departments are already delivering the five minimum standards of service as outlined in our CCU Service Basics training program.

Ten departments have attended training thus far and know these five steps. Some employees have applied these tools and techniques and are leading by example so others can “Feel the Teal.” These five steps are personified in some of our CCU service champions who have embraced this initiative and who are offering a new level of service excellence.

1. Acknowledge the Customer.
Be courteous and approachable. Greet the customer in a prompt and appropriate manner and tone. Lisa Felder with Aramark (university food services) welcomes every person into Hicks Dining Hall with a smile and a positive attitude. She makes people feel like part of the Coastal community with a “Good to see you again” or “How are you doing today?” And, she really wants to hear the answer! Our students, faculty, staff and campus guests are sure to “Feel the Teal” when they interact with Lisa.

2. Clarify the Situation.
Once we have acknowledged the customer, finding out what he/she needs from us is vital to providing efficient and prompt service. Our verbal and non-verbal communication tells a customer how committed we are to help solve the problem or assist with a need. The CCU Service Basics training teaches us the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication. When they conduct campus tours, our CCU Teal Trailblazers are now using the “Disney Point,” which was designed to eliminate the potentially offensive one-finger point. This multi-finger point, which is being demonstrated in the training sessions, is used at all Disney parks and resorts around the world. These service skills allow our trailblazers to better represent our university to a global customer base. As simple (and silly) as this technique may seem, this initiative is about taking these kinds of extra steps to provide excellent service in all we do.

3. Manage the Difficult Customer and the Situation.
Studies show that if you resolve a complaint effectively, 95 percent of customers will do business with you again, and as a more loyal customer and advocate. There is huge opportunity in this as we strive to achieve retention through service recovery. Taking the HEAT is an easy acrostic we can employ in such situations: Hear the customer out, Empathize with what is bothering the customer, Apologize (without assuming liability) and, most importantly, Take Action. I’m certain that many of you have done this well, many times in the past, and a specific instance need not be shared.

4. Meet or Exceed the Need of the Customer.
The most efficient way to meet and exceed the needs of our customer is to commit to knowing the university culture and resources. I’m not sure anyone can ever know "all" the answers, but we can demonstrate service excellence by finding the person, or the resource, that can answer the questions being asked and that anticipates the customer’s next questions or need.

Dan Lawless, Registrar, recently encountered a family sitting on a bench outside the Wall College of Business building and was quick to offer his assistance. They explained they had been timing the routes that their son had to take to meet his classes during the semester and that they were very concerned about how he would learn to manage the first semester at the university given his medical issues. Since loud noises and busy environments raise his level of anxiety, being able to eat in a quiet environment was of particular concern.

After acknowledging the customers and clarifying the situation, Dan took the time to meet and exceed their campus visit needs. While Dan accompanied the student to where some of his classes would be, the student’s family drove over to the Lib Jackson Student Center to check out the CINO Grille. When they determined CINO Grille might be too loud, Dan suggested the library and introduced the student and his family to library staff members in the event that the student needs assistance.

The family also raised another concern about the convocation ceremony, and Dan offered to stand in the back where he and the student could make a quick exit should the student get overwhelmed. This reassurance allowed the student to make it through the entire ceremony and start the semester off on a positive note.

5. Confirm satisfaction.
Let’s take ownership of every service interaction by asking if there is anything else we can help with before the person we are helping moves on. This helps to prevent our students going through the "CCU Shuffle."

Susan Webb, chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology, provided exemplary service to the transfer and new students who needed to be advised and have their schedules built during the recent January orientation. Webb stayed late in the evening to accommodate these students and ensured that their needs were met and satisfaction was achieved.

Thank you to these star service providers and to the many unmentioned employees for seeing the value in service excellence. Everything you do matters; please know how much we appreciate all you do to make CCU a better place to work and one where we can all Feel the Teal!


David A. DeCenzo

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