Higher education serves an almost captive customer. Institutions aren’t responding to customers off the street. But that’s all the more reason to shift the customer service culture, offering clearer communication that is instructive and preventative. For example, even if a problem is the student’s fault and he or she didn’t follow directions, front-line staff should see it as a teaching opportunity. These employees are more valuable to an institution when they bring humanity to customer service rather than reading policies and procedures.

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