• Ask students how they heard about your center and keep track of the information.
  • Be liberal with your business carduse in marketing and customer service.
  • Regarding the WebDon’t just give out the URLs for Web sites (ICN site and other distance learning sites), give them a walk-though and show them it’s features.
  • When prospective students tour a campus, include the learning center, continuing education office, and/or distance learning office as a stop on the tour.
  • Include information about learning centers/distance education in mailings to alumni.
  • Include information about learning centers/distance education opportunities in internal communications (employee newsletter, etc).
  • Have posters up and schedules on tables in all rooms where students take classes.
  • Use seasonal activities and themes in your mailings to emphasize anytime/anyplace concept (e.g. “take classes in your swimwear”).
  • Learning center/distance education/continuing education could have a booth at week-long or other short-term courses offered at the same site or nearby.
  • If you learn that a distance learner is coming to town and/or to campus, arrange for them to meet relevant people during the visit.
  • If Internet students drop a course, hold exit interviews with them via email to find out why.
  • Take advantage of all opportunities to make presentations in your community.
  • If you will be giving a presentation on your center or distance learning opportunities, talk to distance students (in person, by phone, or electronically) to find out about their experiences to include as examples in the presentation.
  • Arrange to speak at meetings of community organizations, etc. ... and if a student from your center is experienced in what you're talking about, invite them to come along.
  • An Internet-based course can be personalized by personal mail messages from the coordinator of the learning center a student uses as well as from the faculty member.
  • Set up a booth at a local mall when they are having a relevant promotional opportunity (for community organizations etc.).
  • Exhibits at county fairs allow you to assess community needs.
  • High school and transfer fairs.
  • Internal marketing to academic advisors.
  • Make sure faculty have the information about your center and what it has to offer ... do not just send them a mailing about what your center offers and where it is located, but include some ideas about how they can use your services.
  • Talk with ministers and community leaders.
  • Contact staff development coordinators at local hospitals and businesses about your center and what it offers.
  • Send mailers to businesses in your area.
  • Host special events.
  • Place radio and newspaper ads.
  • Press Releases and Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
  • Seek opportunities to broadcast information on the local cable channel.
  • Advertise on bank envelopes.
  • Our customers market the program to other students; word of mouth advertising.
  • Be aware of changing demographicsolder students as customers.

Customer service tips

Why are customers dissatisfied?

Survey says:

14 percent dissatisfied with product/service
69 percent feel, think, or perceive that you dont care!
17 percent others

So . . . send a positive attitude!

Three general elements essential to a positive telephone image:

1. Attitude

  • Overall body posture
  • Smiling
  • Energy level

2. Skill

  • Paying attention
  • Voice volume
  • Language

3. Knowledge

Key elements of every ICN phone conversation

  • Know your phone! (how to put someone on hold, answer another line, transfer a call)
  • Repeat order back to caller.
  • Ask for any additional information.
  • Repeat address back to caller.
  • Get zip code from every caller.
  • Ask them how they heard about ICN.
  • Use the callers name, people enjoy being recognized by name.
  • SMILE! Speak in a warm and friendly tone.
  • Strive to concentrate on their concerns with a personal touch.
  • Make the caller feel your sincerity and desire to help.
  • When taking the customers information, clearly repeat the information to show you understand it.
  • Use courteous expressions, such as Thank you for calling.

Forbidden phone phrases

  1. I dont know. A better choice: Let me find the answer to that question.
  2. We cant do that. A better choice: We dont perform those services from the hotline, but let me put you in touch with someone who can help you.
  3. Youll have to... A better choice: Lets look at your options.
  4. Just a second. A better choice: Can you hold please?
  5. No. A better choice: Yes, I would be happy to do that.

Three primary types of customers

  1. Those who need information
  2. Those who call to get action; who want something done
  3. Those who are upset

Dealing with the unhappy cCaller

Rule #1 Realize that an unhappy caller is not unhappy with you, but with the situation. Do not take the callers hostility personally. Never engage the callers emotional level. Stay calm!

Rule #2 You can do a great deal to diffuse the callers anger before you even pick up the phone

  1. Smile before you answer the phone.
  2. Answer in a friendly voice; an unhappy caller will find it more difficult to be rude to someone who is warm and friendly.

Four steps to handling irate callers

  1. Apologize and acknowledge the callers feelings. With most irate callers, it will take some time to get to problem, just let them vent.
  2. Sympathize with the caller. Empathize. Put yourself in the callers position. How do they perceive the problem?
  3. Accept the Responsibility. As a Hotline Specialist, you take responsibility in helping every caller with their problem, either solving the problem yourself or finding someone that can.
  4. Prepare to Help. After getting to the problem, create a solution the caller agrees with.

Helpful hints

  • Dont make excuses to the caller.
  • Write down keynotes and repeat the key points back to the caller to make sure you understand the situation.
  • Avoid transferring the call. If you have to transfer an irate caller to someone that has more experience with the situation, make sure to explain the situation to that person so the caller doesnt have to tell the whole story again. Also tell the caller the name of the person you are transferring them to and reason for the transfer.