Division of Student Affairs' Expectations for Customer Service

To focus on our customers, to improve their experiences, and to provide consistent “seamless” experiences at The University of Akron, it is the expectation of the Division of Student  Affairs that ALL staff members within the Division will provide fast, friendly, efficient, and easy service to every internal and external customer that they encounter. We all should strive to be welcoming and respectful to all customers at all times.

While it is impossible to map out and define every type of scenario or experience we may have with our customers, below are some guidelines and examples of how we can strive to provide outstanding service to our customers each and every day. Let’s set excellence in all that we do and continue to raise the bar for our Division.

Please click on the headings below to view the Division's guidelines.

Customer Assistance

  • Employees should be COURTEOUS at all times, including:
    o listening to what the customer needs/wants, with respect;
    o maintaining a pleasant and professional tone;
    o focusing on the customer’s perspective;
    o demonstrating empathy with what the customer is feeling or saying;
    o giving the customer your full, undivided attention that is free from distractions of
       background noise, such as other customers, typing on keyboards, etc.;
    o never using a condescending tone , carefully reaffirm what the customer has said to you
       so they know you understand their concerns.. then provide the customer options;
    o thanking each customer and letting them know the employee was happy to help them.
       Thank them for coming in, doing business with you, for their cooperation, their patience,
       and even their concerns.

    • Employees should be HELPFUL, including:
    o using reflective listening skills, such as paraphrasing for clarity and/or asking probing
       questions to seek out additional information;
    o closing each customer encounter with an offer for additional assistance or referral, if
       applicable or necessary;
    o eliminating the need to “bounce” or give the “run around” of customers.

    • Employees should be ACCESSIBLE, including:
    o being available as scheduled to assist customers;
    o providing contact information to customers that promotes future communication.

    • Employees should be RESPONSIVE, including:
    o accepting responsibility for assisting the customer with any problem/issue;
    o responding to a customer’s request within 24 hours, whether it be via phone or email.
       Provide a resolution or status report and/or provide the customer with a clear
       understanding of the steps needed for a resolution. Give an estimate of the time needed
       to fulfill the request.
    o acknowledging any problem/issue, providing options/resolutions and offering sincere
       apology if at error.

    • Employees should be KNOWLEDGEABLE, including:
    o Becoming fully advised and aware of institutional and divisional policies and resources that
       will assist employee in providing accurate information to customers;
    o Soliciting additional information from the customer and determine if the problem/issue can
       be resolved immediately. If so, employees should take action to resolve the
    o Answering a customer’s questions accurately and providing appropriate support such as
       forms, directions, etc. If employees do not know the answer to a customer’s question,
       they should conduct research to determine an accurate response, and respond to the
       customer in a timely fashion.

Greeting Customers

  • Employees are encouraged to wear their University of Akron name tags at all times within  office and campus settings, whenever possible or necessary.  
  • Employees should smile and greet customers in person or on the phone in a warm and friendly manner. Make them feel genuiunely welcome every time!
  • If customers are in the office/division, employees should smile and make eye contact. If employees are busy with other customers, they should advise the newly arrived customer that they will be with them momentarily—acknowledge their arrival at all times.
  • Employees should provide quality assistance to customers present in their office/division before answering telephone calls.

General Telephone Service Standards

  • Employees should always be prepared to answer a phone call and always keep a pen and writing pad near the phone for messages. All messages should include:
    • The caller’s name and phone number;
    • If offered, the caller’s office/department/division/company, etc.;
    • The date and time of the message;
    • The nature of the message if the caller chooses to disclose that information;
    • The employee’s name or initials that took the message.
  • Employees should use a duplicate telephone message pad and give the original message to the person to whom the original call was placed and refer to the duplicate no later than the next business day to insure communication occurred.
  • The division’s goal is to have all calls answered by a live person, whenever possible. If an employee is going to be away from his/her desk for an extended period, calls should be forwarded to another employee to be able to provide assistance.  
  • All telephone messages should be clearly and promptly communicated, with follow-up to determine that appropriate return calls were placed.
  • Time away from the employee’s work station should be managed. The employee should ensure that there is ample telephone coverage and that the person standing in knows how to take messages and follow through.
  • The employee should speak in a clear, calm, upbeat, non-hurried, professional manner.
  • The employee should close the call with an offer for additional assistance or referral, if applicable or necessary.
  • Whether speaking with an internal constituent at the university or someone external to the university, the same professional service should be maintained at all times.  Remember that anyone you interact with is your “customer”.

Answering the Telephone

  • The employee should answer telephone calls immediately or at least by the third ring.
  • The employee should answer each call with the following information:
    • Identify The University of Akron and the appropriate office/division.
    • Identify yourself using at least your first name.
    • Offer to help the caller—How might I assist you today or direct your call?
  • Example script: "Student Affairs, this is Ginger; how may I help you or direct your call today?"

Placing the Caller on Hold

  • If the employee is answering a call for another employee, she should place the caller on hold before locating the other employee. Before placing the caller on hold, ask if the caller is able to hold only place them on hold if they say “yes”;
  • If the employee has placed a caller on hold, she should check back within the first 30 seconds and always say,
    “Thank you for holding.” If the caller does not want to continue to hold, the employee should offer to take a message or forward the caller to voicemail if available.
  • Example script: Will you hold, please?
    I am sorry, however, Mary Smith is currently away from her desk. Would you like to leave a message or be transferred to her voicemail?

Transferring a Call

  • The employee should transfer a caller only when absolutely necessary and provide the caller with the name and telephone number of the office or the person to whom the call is being transferred in case the call is disconnected.
  • In those instances when an individual calls with the purpose of being transferred or connected to another number, have relevant numbers handy to process the request expeditiously.
  • The employee should indicate to the person to whom the call is being transferred the caller’s name and the nature of the call.
  • The employee should transfer calls with care, being sure to check the extension, and always transfer calls to a manned telephone.
  • When transferring a call, the employee should not transfer a customer more than two times. The employee should always tell the person to whom the call is being transferred the number of times the customer has been transferred and, if necessary, take the customer’s name and number and take responsibility for conveying the message to the appropriate person for follow-up.
  • The employee should ask the customer’s permission before transferring his/her call to voicemail.

Using Voicemail

  • Voicemail should be used as a last resort during official university business hours.
  • A recorded voicemail message should provide an option for reaching a live person and should include expectations for a return call.
  • Employees should keep their voicemail messages current.
  • Employees are responsible for managing their voicemail to avoid having a full voicemail box.

Checking Voicemail

  • Voicemail should be checked at least twice each day. Voicemail messages that are left in the morning should be returned by the afternoon of the same day. Voicemail messages that are left in the afternoon should be returned by the following business morning, unless an alternative time frame is noted on the message.
  • The employee should apologize to the customer for missing his/her phone earlier phone call.
  • It is unacceptable if a caller receives a constant busy signal or constant ringing with no answer.

Email Standards

  • Email should be checked at least twice each day. Email messages received in the morning should be responded to by the afternoon of the same day. Email messages that are left in the afternoon should be responded to by the following business morning.  Many instances may require extra time to be able to respond to the message; let the person know that you are following up on their request and will get back to them shortly. The key is to check emails frequently and respond in a timely fashion so that individuals know that you have received , read, and are willing and able to follow up on their questions or concerns.
  • If an employee will be away from the office for several days, the email out-of-office-assistant should be deployed.  The out-of-office message should state the time that the employee will be out of the office and should indicate a contact for immediate assistance. When the employee returns to the office, every effort should be made to review all emails and respond by the end of the first business day back in the office.
  • Business-related email responses should include name, title, office/division and contact information.  Use the signature feature of Outlook to add this information.
  • If the email response involves a referral to another office/division or person, full contact information should be provided in the response.
  • Employees are responsible for managing their email account to avoid having a full in-box.

If we meet these expectations daily, then we have provided Exceptional Quality and Service every time! Let’s all WOW our guests with every interaction!

The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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