WCU’s IT division honored for customer service

Western Carolina University’s Division of Information Technology will be recognized by HDI, a global IT service and technical support association as well as a certification and training body, as one of the top 50 performers based on customer satisfaction. The honor will be presented in April at the HDI annual world conference and expo to be held in Las Vegas.

“This is wonderful recognition of the exceptional work that WCU’s IT professionals are doing with respect to responding to reported issues and problems,” said Craig Fowler, chief information officer at WCU. “A key component is the IT Help Desk and their attention to metrics and the work they have done to increase their ability to respond to situations during a client’s first contact with the IT Help Desk.”

The IT Help Desk, with six full-time and three hourly personnel, provides phone, email and faculty and staff desk-side support while Technology Commons, with one full-time person and 30 student assistants, operates walk-up counter support and services for faculty, staff and students. The units form IT’s frontline that responds to many of the more than 2,700 incidents and service requests IT receives each month on average. At times, such as the beginning of the fall semester, the work can be particularly busy and stressful, said Candy Benson, total quality manager with IT.

To improve IT services, WCU began using HDI’s Customer Satisfaction Index service in October 2008. The service enables faculty, staff and students to answer a five-question survey after receiving help or a service from IT.  The customer rates on a scale of one to five the courtesy as well as the technical skills and knowledge of the analyst; the timeliness of the service provided; the quality of the service provided; and the overall service experience. HDI creates a performance index based on the ratings that enables WCU to measure its effectiveness and compare results with other agencies, businesses and organizations using the HDI CSI service.

WCU’s HDI results have consistently been well above the HDI benchmark for several years, said Fowler. In WCU’s last quarter, for instance, the lowest average score on any question was 4.88 out of 5, higher than the 4.73 industry standard.

Benson said each unit is responsible for reviewing weekly and monthly customer satisfaction results with their teammates. The information gathered guides reviews of internal processes and customer service issues and determination of additional training needs and communication. Meanwhile, alerts triggered by low survey scores or customer feedback are sent immediately to Benson and Dawn Brown, manager of the IT Help Desk, for review and forwarding for follow-up and action.

“Fortune 500 companies and large corporations strive to receive the wonderful marks we receive from our clients,” said Benson. “We feel fortunate to work in an academic environment, and we keep that in mind – why we are here and who we support – as we serve clients and make sure they are happy and satisfied.”

Anna McFadden, director of academic engagement and IT Governance Office of the CIO, credited Benson and Brown for their leadership in utilizing customer satisfaction information.

“IT is constantly reviewing and analyzing our performance metrics so that we can continually improve,” said McFadden. “We appreciate any feedback we receive from faculty, staff and students. We are here to support the academic mission of the institution. It’s an exciting time to be at Western and IT is proud to be a part of it.”