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Creating a ‘culture of service’: University Registrar Services

It’s an office many ASU students return to time and again throughout the Sun Devil lifecycle. An integral part of the university experience, University Registrar Services (URS) assists with registration, academic records, residency and graduation. It serves all campuses and students, as well as staff, alumni and members of the public.

URS was also among ASU’s early adopters of Salesforce. The office launched its Knowledge Base in December 2013 with answers to frequently asked questions and communication templates developed for staff members to use in their responses to student queries. A subsequent launch for case management was initiated in May 2014. Overall, URS has been very pleased with the rollout thus far.

“It really helps us live the culture of service that we want for our staff and the entire university,” says Jennifer Glawson, senior associate registrar. “The segmented tools we used previously were fine, but Salesforce has helped us provide a holistic service that we couldn’t have done otherwise. It’s one tool that gives us a 360-degree view of our customers and our data.”

At the onset of the case management launch, URS had four primary goals:

  1. Track in one place all correspondence the office receives from its constituents
  2. Use the tool to collaborate internally
  3. Better measure service and service satisfaction
  4. Help better distribute the workload among staff members.

To achieve these objectives, the office set aside some initial time for training and later, began checking in with staff members through user groups that meet quarterly.

“Tracking our progress is really about asking whether our staff is using the tool,” says Glawson. “We’ve created reports and dashboards that help us understand how the tool is being used, who is using it, when they are using it and how long it takes for cases to be closed. We want to make sure we are collaborating internally versus using outside tools like email and telephone.”

Prior to implementing Salesforce, the office faced several challenges without the aid of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Among them was a lack of visibility into how its constituents interact with other offices.

“The business of being a student means you end up working with a lot of different offices on campus,” Glawson says. “Having a CRM tool helps us understand how our students are working with these offices, and I think we can provide better service when we know that, particularly with regard to finding and tracking issues, and then following them through to resolution.”
Additionally, Salesforce has enabled URS to manage its workload distribution in real-time, making the office more efficient at distributing incoming cases and inquiries. As a result of this up-to-the-minute data, the office has been able to put measurable standards in place to track service successes, and can now also track by type of service.

“From a management perspective, this has helped us know when peak periods are coming and adjust our level of support accordingly so that we are still able to meet our goal of resolving all cases in less than two days,” says Glawson. “We also know what types of questions to expect during these peak times so that the staff is ready to convey accurate information to constituents.”

University Registrar Services - Cases Opened by Month

In December 2014, URS took its case management to the next level by implementing a system for tracking in-person service.

“We create cases as customers come up to our front counter, on any campus,” explains Glawson. “We’ve always tracked this information, but are now able to do it directly within Salesforce. Depending on the nature of the inquiry, we are then able to quickly create a case about the issue and track that service.”

Customers are able to see and follow any case that is created on their behalf in the My ASU Service Center, and may be asked to fill out a survey about their in-person experience. Through these surveys, URS was able to address an issue the office hadn’t been aware of prior to using Salesforce: improving the service experience during times when customers need to be redirected.

"When students would send us a long, complicated question, we would respond back asking them to call us,” Glawson explains. “We noticed a pattern in the surveys we were receiving in these cases where students didn’t understand why we didn’t remediate the issue over email and realized we needed to better convey the reasons why it was necessary for them to call. As a result, we were able to identify template responses that were not as clear or as helpful as they could be and improve communications around being redirected, alleviating a lot of frustration."

Service satisfaction is measured on a six-point scale — with six meaning “excellent” service — in the areas of speed, knowledge and professionalism. With Salesforce, URS can see trends in case satisfaction by month, allowing the office to explore what they did right on months where satisfaction levels are high, and ways they can improve when levels are lower than desired.

Looking back, the one aspect of implementation URS would have approached differently is staff training. Salesforce is a complex tool that can be intimidating at first glance, and Glawson feels a formalized system of training modules may have been a more effective approach. About a year after launch, URS decided to assign one staff member primary duties with regard to learning and understanding Salesforce, so that it is no longer up to every individual to learn everything about the tool. The staff member decides what is important, sits down with people for trainings and can be relied upon as the go-to for solving problems.

“We didn’t want staff to stumble around and get different answers from different people,” says Glawson.

It’s not a model that is feasible for every office. But at the very least, Glawson advises, spend some quality time with the onboarding process.

“Take the time to explain the tool to your staff. Not just how it works, but what the benefits are. Help them understand the big picture, as this will help with adoption.”

As URS demonstrates, when your staff embraces the tool, a culture of service is within reach.