Posted by: endithinks | September 5, 2007

On Customer Service

This morning I had to play the heavy.

The school that I work at has a guest sign in policy that is a way of us securing the building.  Every guest who is not a student or a staff member needs to sign in with their name, reason they are here and time of visit.  This is a very basic form of security and lets us nod our head and say to ourselves non-convincingly that everything is A-Okay in the neighborhood.

This morning I had to go and enforce that rule on a couple that I have seen breaking it numerous times the last few weeks.  I went for a consultation with other employees and asked what the policy was for significant others on the campus.  They told me what I thought the policy was in the first place and that was that significant others should wait outside with a harmonica, a hat that they pre-funked with a couple bucks and beg for spare change. 

So I decided to do something about it.  I approached the couple and very professionally informed them of our visitation policy sans colorful exaggeration and they seemed okay with the news.

Fast forward to the afternoon and the same one half of the couple is in student services saddened.  Now I don’t know if my informing them of the visitation standards had anything to do with said sadness, but even if it did I was doing the informing for their own benefit.

Safety in schools is a huge issue and any type of policy we have regarding said safety needs to be addressed and adhered to.  So I don’t feel bad about that, but I do feel that my professional approach was perhaps not friendly enough.

Some of the students expect a fun, hip atmosphere and that is good to want to be happy in your work place, but the level of rule breaking has begun to reach a significant distraction point. 

That long winded introduction is for the discussion of customer service.  How was I exemplifying customer service when I took the initiative and approached the couple? 

I think about it as a nod to the desire to want to know what the regulations and boundaries are.  People want to know where they stand, what to expect and how they can bend and pry through those rules.  I wanted them to know what they could do from a if not “hey how ya doing!” standpoint at least from a professional standpoint that they were not following the policies set up for their benefit.

If we do not know what we cannot do, we do not know what we could do.

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