Deep in the heart of client services

Cynthia A. Murnan
2003 Proceedings of the 31st annual ACM SIGUCCS conference on User services - SIGUCCS '03  
Client Services", "User Services", "Customer Service": whatever we call it at our various colleges and universities, it's not just about fixing hardware and software. The biggest part of the services we provide is how we interact with the client, in person, on the phone, and/or via e-mail. It's one thing to have a staff of people who are extremely knowledgeable about the hardware devices and software applications at our institutions. It's another thing to be able to combine that with a sincere,
more » ... helpful manner, causing the client to walk away with a positive feeling about the Client Services group. We've all had experiences with client services groups, regardless of the product, that have left a negative impression on us. Let's ponder that for a moment. What went wrong? How could the experience have been made better? What would we have changed? We should think about that as we strive to make our services better, clientservices-wise, or at least not worse, in these times of budget concerns. A little tender-loving-care goes a long way toward creating a positive experience for both the client and the client-services staff. In fact, I submit that, while both technical expertise and peopleskills are required to be successful in the "We're here to help" business, the people-skills aspect is the more important part. In this paper, intended for any client/user-services staff member, I'll describe some real-world examples of negative and positive clientservices situations and explore how we might approach these situations to enhance the positive aspects. I'll describe the results seen with work completed by technical-only staff, people-oriented staff, and combinations of both. Then, I'll discuss how to continue providing positive, effective client services in times of decreased budgets. I'll also include the impact of staff personalities and conclude with final thoughts on the value of people-skills to a Client Services organization.
doi:10.1145/947469.947482 dblp:conf/siguccs/Murnan03 fatcat:p3477cmh7jenxgcnke2gweth7m