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CSU to get customer-service award this week

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Officials from Clayton State University's Client Support Service Help Desk, which is more commonly referred to as the "HUB," knew customer service training needed to be addressed when the department was established in 1997, but the department had other pressing issues to address.

At the time, the school was beginning to roll out a program in which every student would receive a laptop computer to use for class work. In the midst of that roll out, setting up a customer-service-training program got temporarily lost in the shuffle.

"It was basically on-the-job training," said Debye Baird, Clayton State's director of Client Support Services.

On Tuesday, HUB representatives will receive the Silver Level Award from the University System of Georgia's 2008 Chancellor's Outstanding Customer Service Excellence Awards program. The award presentation will occur during a meeting of the Board of Regents of Georgia in Atlanta.

The Silver Level Award recognizes the HUB as the second-best help desk in the university system. The name of the Gold Level Award winner, the top help desk/call center/service desk, was not immediately available.

"We're very pleased to have earned this," said Baird. "We're glad we had the vision to address this several years ago. No matter which award they [HUB employees] received, they are always No. 1 in my heart."

The HUB made the transition to a program which put customer service at the top of its priority list eight years ago, when officials realized they could no longer leave it "on the back burner," according to Baird.

Officials began to make customer service a priority when a campus survey revealed that students and faculty liked the fact that their computers were serviced quickly, but had a problem with the "attitude" they got from HUB employees.

As a result, the department began to introduce annual customer-service training to address the "attitude" issue. As a result, HUB officials created the L.A.K.E.R. Spirit program. L.A.K.E.R. is an acronym for Leadership, Approach, Knowledge, Excellence, and Responsibility, which are the areas HUB's leaders felt needed the most focus and attention.

The goal has been to reach a point where the HUB was providing the highest level of customer service possible. The HUB is the help desk for Clayton State's wireless Internet system. It has two walk-up help desks, as well as a call center, which is staffed by 35 students and six full-time employees.

The news was well received in the Clayton State community, where the HUB has consistently ranked among the top university departments in the area of customer service.

"Consistently, year after year, the HUB has been considered the most customer-service-oriented part of Clayton State University," said Clayton State President Thomas Harden. in a written statement. "... the HUB employees have exhibited a dedication to doing their jobs with courtesy, promptness, accuracy, and accountability -- and always with a smile."