Five Essential Ws

The most important aspect of our client service function is being able to competently and promptly respond to a customer's concern or issue. This doesn't mean that you should provide an instant answer and shoo the customer out the door. But it does mean that you need to maintain a friendly and professional demeanor while answering the following questions for yourself.

  1. Who: Ask the customer for valid identification! Not only are the legal constraints of F.E.R.P.A. there to consider, but it isn't possible to respond to most questions without verifying the underlying facts. You absolutely need to know to whom you are speaking and about whom in every situation.
  2. What: To provide the right answer, you also need to clearly and fully comprehend the customer's question or circumstance. You should always repeat what you understand to be the customer's concern before proceeding.
  3. Where: Where is the resource that is required for you to respond to the customer's request or issue? It could be on our Web site, this manual, a resource at the front desk, the Communications Log, or a member of our staff. Be sure you know where before you go in search of information.
  4. When: You need to ascertain both when the customer expects a response to their issue or request, and when the customer can reasonably receive one. A customer's critical concern is not necessarily one we will perceive with the same urgency. We may not always have the ability to instantly address their situation.
  5. What Else: Once you provide a resolution to the issue or the steps the customer needs to take to resolve it on their own, always ask if there is anything else the customer needs. Being satisfied with an answer and being satisfied with our service are two different things.