Institutional Expectations

It is the institution's expectation that staff members will provide faster, friendlier and easier service to every internal and external customer at every encounter.

Customer Assistance

  • Employees should be COURTEOUS. Examples include the following:
    • listening to the customer with respect
    • maintaining a pleasant and professional tone
    • focusing on the customer's perspective
    • demonstrating empathy with the customer's feelings,
    • giving the customer full attention and not being distracted by background noise, such as other customers, typing on keyboards, etc.
    • never using a condescending tone or arguing with a customer's point of view
    • thanking each customers and letting them know employee was glad to help.
  • Employees should be HELPFUL. Examples include the following:
    • using reflective listening skills, such as paraphrasing for clarity and/or asking probing questions
    • closing each customer encounter with an offer for additional assistance if applicable or necessary
    • eliminating "bouncing" or the "run around" of customers
  • Employees should be ACCESSIBLE. Examples include the following:
    • being available as scheduled to assist customers
    • providing contact information to customers that promotes future communication
  • Employees should be RESPONSIVE. Examples include the following:
    • accepting responsibility for assisting the customer with any problem/issue,
    • responding to a customer's request within 24 hours. 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.
    • acknowledging any problem/issue and offering sincere apology
  • Employees should be KNOWLEDGEABLE. Examples include the following:
    • Becoming fully advised and aware of institutional policies and resources that will assist employee in providing accurate information to customers
    • 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 problem/issue.
    • 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.

Greeting Customers

  • Employees are encouraged to wear their Gordon State College name tags.
  • Employees should smile and greet customers in person or on the phone in a warm and friendly manner.
  • 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 her momentarily.
  • 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
  • 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 institution's goal is to have all calls answered by a live person. If an employee is going to be away from his/her desk for an extended period, calls should be forwarded to another employee or to voicemail.
  • 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.
  • 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 if applicable or necessary.

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 Gordon State College and the appropriate office/division.
    • Identify yourself using at least your first name.
    • Offer to help the caller.

Example script: Gordon State College Registrar's Office, Martha speaking, how may I help you?

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.
  • 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 Mary Lincoln is out of her office. 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 all of us meet these Institutional Expectations every day
- we have provided Exceptional Service -
Every Time!