Customer Service is Our Priority

As a Resident Director at NMSU, I interact with many students who already are familiar with the institution and with parents who hear through the grapevine what services their students are receiving. While I work for the institution, and can often be a face of the institution, I sometimes forget how important that is to provide spectacular customer service as though the college is a business.

I know this seems like an obvious examination of Student Affairs, but it truly hit me this past week as our halls closed and summer conferences began. With parents hustling their children home, I was on constant watch to protect my CAs from any parents that may be upset with damage charges or complaints they had bottled up all year. As Resident Director, I found it was in my, along with my department’s, best interest to be the buffer for the parents to complain, make comments, or whatever they felt appropriate at the time. While I did not always agree with these parents, it was my job to be respectful, remain calm, and try to explain the policies and procedures to my best ability. Because I am a representative of the institution I work for, it was best for me not to lose my cool, but rather stay calm and provide quality customer service. I also found that a lot of the time, the parents were either exhausted, hot, cranky, hungry, or just needed to vent.

This role as NMSU representative shifted slightly as our building closed on Saturday and I was put in charge of Summer Conferences Monday. Part of my role in supervising conferences is representing Housing and ResLife at our New Student Registrations (NSR), our version of Orientation for incoming students. Orientation has always been something that I have a passion in working with and I absolutely love working with young adults that are excited to embark on the next chapter of their life, as their parents nervously stand by.

This past Monday was a typical orientation Monday. The golf cart didn’t want to wake up at 6:30 am, our computer at our table wasn’t working, we were tabling in the wrong place, my staff didn’t show up on time, and worst of all my name tag fell off and I lost it. Now, I know it seems petty to think losing a name tag is the worst thing that could happen, but if you know me, you know how I look like a freshman, and the name tag really helped me steer away from that problem. But that’s another post for another day. While the day seemed to start off as stressful as possible, as this was my first day dealing with NSR in my new position, the minute I started talking to students and parents about the benefits of living on campus and attending NMSU, my day turned right around. Students are excited to leave home, or at least get out of high school, and parents stand nervously by as they really can’t do too much when they hear about FERPA being in place. Both students and parents rely on the information that my staff and I are giving to them, and in turn, we earn their trust as a representative of NMSU. This constant customer service is key to developing those relationships that will hopefully transfer on to the fall semester and beyond.

In what role do you represent your institution? What do you think you could reflect on and improve this summer? I know my department and myself have some improvements to make, but it is always so promising to see students that I work with excelling at providing great services to students, either current or future, and being a representative of NMSU themselves. 

Katie Ericson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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