July 25, 2006

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Sementha Mathews Manager of Public Information and Media Relations

Valdosta State University expands focus on improving customerservice

Effort supports University System and Governor's "Faster, Friendlier, Easier" Initiative

Valdosta State University, which launched its own unique campus-wide customer service initiative called "Partners for Campus Excellence" six years ago, is joining University System of Georgia (USG) efforts to improve efficient service to customers system- wide. VSU, as well as all of the University System's 35 public colleges and universities, is striving to provide faster and friendlier service to customers, including VSU's more than 10,500 students. There are more than 235,000 students within the University System.

The VSU and USG effort is in coordination with Gov. Sonny Perdue's launch today of the state's 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.

"Each Georgia citizen who walks through our door for a government service is an opportunity," said Perdue. "It is my intention that Georgia government employees will take advantage of those opportunities, showing citizens that we respect and value their time."

"We at Valdosta State University applaud the efforts of Governor Sonny Perdue and Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. in leading our state and our University System with this customer service initiative," said VSU President Ronald M. Zaccari. "We feel, in some ways, that we are pioneering in this area with VSU's creation of the Partners in Campus Excellence program. It has set us on course for improving our service to our students and our entire community."

VSU's Partners in Campus Excellence program began in 2000 and was officially launched across the campus in 2001. It has been coordinated by Becky Murphy, VSU's assistant director of human resources for employee development. Murphy was named earlier this year by President Zaccari and Governor Perdue as VSU's "Customer Service Champion." In her role she is assisting USG on the Basic Customer Service Focus Group.

"Since we launched the Partners for Campus Excellence program our personnel and departments have received service training focusing on quality, teamwork, proactive leadership, service excellence and a strong recognition of the role of the student and faculty to each other," said Murphy, adding, "We recognize that we are in an extremely competitive market and the style and manner in which we do business is important."

Murphy said the new state initiative reinforces and recommits VSU to Service Excellence emphasis that began earlier.

"It serves to unite our focus by developing standards and accountability measures that can be applied throughout the University System." said Murphy.

The customer service champions, including Murphy, have been directed by the Chancellor to launch, guide and manage improvements that will make the services provided by each campus "Faster, Friendlier and Easier" to access.

On Aug. 1, USG officials will launch a new web site (www.customerfocus.usg.edu) that will allow faculty, staff, students and taxpayers alike to monitor the progress being made with customer service improvements, and to view the customer satisfaction scores of USG campuses. Officials say the visitors to the web site also will be able to submit their suggestions and criticisms via an online comment tool.

VSU's Partners for Campus Excellence initiative also includes an "I Caught You Caring" Campaign allowing customers to pass out rewards. Customers can fill out a card on campus which is used to reward service above and beyond the call of duty either by a student employee, staff, faculty, or administrative member of the University. The card is then forwarded to the employee's supervisor who is able to recognize the employee for outstanding work.

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