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Where Credit is Due: Transforming Service and Team Performance in Academic Transfer Credit Solutions

Transferring to a new institution is a significant transition for a student that is often complicated by the added anxiety of whether existing academic credits will match with ASU’s course equivalencies. In an effort to better serve this student population, ASU’s Office of the University Provost established the department of Academic Transfer Credit Solutions to support transfer students in their academic transition. This department helps prospective transfer students better understand the articulation process so they may transition smoothly and achieve their academic goals.

While the department strove to deliver quality service, several of their systems prohibited them from effectively responding to student inquiries. The department relied on tools such as Microsoft Outlook, degree audit reporting systems, and retention dashboards to manage transfer credit inquiries and student communications. The team felt limited by Outlook’s search capacity and struggled to archive student communications with advisors. They also wished for a better system to track the team’s performance of addressing student inquiries.

Snapshot taken during transfer meet-up

In Fall 2015, the Academic Transfer Credit Solutions team reorganized and launched Salesforce’s Knowledge Base and Case Management systems. Several team members were trained as Salesforce users and developed customized case metrics and quality dashboards to address issues affecting their department. The entire department was cross-trained with Salesforce, and they began to implement the tool with evaluators, advisors, and students.

The integration of Salesforce entirely transformed the productivity for Academic Transfer Credit Solutions. The team resolved existing issues and detected other ways to improve their efficiency. The tool also ensures a 48-hour response time for student inquiries, offers insight into the student experience from feedback surveys, and helps guide strategic planning. Not only were they able to eliminate prior setbacks, but the department also used Salesforce to establish a quality assurance process to track performance and help troubleshoot issues.

Victoria Palmenberg, Program Manager for the Academic Transfer Credit Solutions team, oversaw the transition to Salesforce and shared that the benefits of using Salesforce are innumerable.  In addition to improved productivity, staff motivation has also increased since the launch of Salesforce. “The team has reorganized and grown with the ability to provide a higher-level of service and support the advising community to deliver solutions to our students,” said Palmenberg.

She continued, “Team members take more ownership of their cases and work with other departments to resolve related issues and try not to redirect students. The ability to look up a student and see the full picture has allowed for better teamwork, informed decisions and communications.”

Palmenberg said that she was pleasantly surprised by the level of support from Salesforce and Student-Centric Initiatives. With these added resources, the Academic Transfer Credit Solutions team has successfully adapted their routine and incorporated monthly team meetings to discuss Salesforce updates, trends, best practices, and new solutions to further their mission of supporting transfer students.