I think we can all identify times in which we have experienced mediocre customer service. A specific time that sticks out in my mind occurred about ten years ago…isn’t that crazy– that I can still remember this poor experience? I was craving a chocolate shake, I went to a local ice cream shop, and as I entered, the employee looked at me, then walked away. I asked if they were open, because that was such a bizarre way to welcome a customer. The employee said, “Duh. What do you want?” I was so taken aback from that response. I ordered my shake and awkwardly stood at the counter while the employee made my treat. Unfortunately for me, the employee messed it up. I asked them to fix it, they scoffed, and I just decided to leave, as that space was super uncomfortable. Because of that experience, I never went back to that establishment, and ten years later, I can still vividly recall how weird that experience made me feel as a customer.
You may be asking yourself, Why are we talking about customer service? I’m an RA. Well, arguably, as a student leader that lives on campus, you are consistently expected to provide experiences to your residents so that they feel supported. Similarly to me needing support through a chocolate shake, residents need support through relationship and community development, and YOU are the customer service representative that gets to provide those services.
So, the big question here is: How do you provide amazing customer service so that 10 years later, your residents remember you as an amazing leader and not a poor chocolate milkshake maker?
As a former RA and now supervisor to RAs, I can say that the best customer service that RAs provide requires RAs to be good listeners, communicators, and conflict management heroes. If these skills are unfamiliar to you, that’s okay! They take some time to develop, and future posts will focus on supporting those skills.
So, specifically for this post, we will rely on you to reflect on past experiences to identify what makes someone a great customer service representative.
Consider asking yourself the following questions:
- What is a time that you experienced amazing customer service? What was so great about that experience?
- What is a time that you experienced awful customer service? What made it poor?
- How can these prior experiences inform your customer service skills in the future?
- What ways do you foresee yourself utilizing customer service while in the RA role?
- How do you plan to develop customer service skills?
- Why is customer service important to the RA role?
- How can I engage in promising customer service practices based on my past experiences?
Want to learn more about customer service? Consider listening to Roompact’s ResEdChat podcast and learn from Craig Kuehnert, the Director of Residence life at University of Colorado, Boulder, about the importance of providing exemplary customer service to residents and parents.