CSU Re-Emphasizes Customer Service

COLUMBUS, GA. - The number of students living on campus at Columbus State University has doubled during the last six years, aiding in CSUs transformation to a school with more traditional students.

Keeping those students in school and in on-campus housing aids in their education and future success, while also helping build CSUs retention rates.

So, with more than 1,100 people expected in university-controlled housing this fall, university leaders quickly identified an important group of students to focus on when Gov. Sonny Perdue asked state agencies to identify customer-service efforts. University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. asked the 38,000 faculty and staff employed by Georgias 35 public colleges and universities to provide faster, friendlier, more efficient service to the USGs customers, including more than 253,500 students.

CSUs offices of Student Affairs and Residence Life have been adding programs and activities for housing residents each year since the first campus housing complex, Courtyard I, opened in 1991 with 246 beds.

But with hundreds more students in housing and the statewide customer-service initiative hitting this year, a flurry of activity is being planned to educate, entertain and retain housing residents. Although focused on main-campus residents of Courtyard I and Courtyard II, but open this fall to other students also, housing residents will:

  • Find alumni and staff waiting to help them move in when they arrive on campus
  • Attend mandatory safety meetings
  • Go to events designed to specifically introduce them to their Residence Assistants and Residence Life staff
  • Be invited to a series of programs during their first week in housing: some will be strictly social, but some will have some educational elements mixed in, such as how to prioritize your time or diversity awareness

More and more, we are a university where our students are away from home for the first time, said CSU President Frank Brown. They, and their parents, are looking to us for guidance and assistance. We have a good record here of serving students needs. We need to continue to do all we can to make them feel at home, let them see that we are responsive to their needs and help them understand that it is their success that is our ultimate goal.

In coordination with Gov. Sonny Perdues launch today of the states new Customer Service Improvement Initiative in which all state agencies have united in an effort to make Georgia the best-managed state in the country, Davis announced that every USG campus is poised to implement a plan for improving customer service beginning Aug. 1.

Student Affairs Vice President Larry Kees said Browns message is especially important for his staff when dealing with housing residents. Kees is CSUs Customer Service Champion, appointed by Brown to launch, guide and manage improvements that will make the services provided by CSU even faster, friendlier and easier to access.

We are trying to improve our customer service to residence life students and provide them with the important information they need to make good decisions during their time here, Kees said.

Focus groups and surveys throughout the year will be used to measure the effectiveness of the new initiatives and programming for students. Kees said he expects that the lessons learned from this smaller group of housing residents can be used and translated to larger groups of students.