The University Record, May 22, 1995

Customer survey leads to changes in Plant Operations

By Jared Blank

Plant Operations has compiled the results of a customer-satisfaction survey designed to uncover the "baseline perceptions of our services from our customers," says Alan Stevens, coordinator of customer services for Plant Operations.

Results of the survey of 125 people in units across the University show that people are most satisfied with the courtesy and competency of Plant staff. Plant staff received a rating of 4.13 (out of five) when customers were asked about staff courtesy.

The survey did uncover some systemic problems in customer service, according to Stevens. "We have found that there are some problems in the ability of our customers to quickly access service. Unfortunately, after their initial point of contact a customer may speak with two or three people before somebody can fix a problem."

"There are things that are going to change," Stevens says. First, customer service representatives will be trained to direct customers to the person who can best help the first time they call. In the present system, a maintenance mechanic inspects the problem and possibly issues a work order, a visit by a supervisor may follow, then a tradesperson will fix the problem. Once customer service staff receive their new training, they will be able to cut down on the middle people. "This will save our customers and us time and money because it will cut down on the number of site visits by our staff," Stevens says.

Staff can sign up for a class offered through Human Resource Development (HRD) on how to access Plant services effectively. Lookin the HRD Fall Catalogue for further information.

MQ 'has made a major difference'

M-Quality is responsible for initiating many of the improvements in customer services in Plant Operations, according to AlanStevens. "It has made a major difference in several areas, most notably Building Services, Maintenance Services and Parking Operations. Plant Operations is the perfect environment for M-Quality teams and self-directed work teams. It's how many of our units are structured anyway." Stevens says that more open communications between supervisors and their staff is an additional benefit of M-Quality.

Unit-specific surveys within Plant Operations are another initiative spawned from the customer-centered approach of M-Quality. Grounds and Waste Management presently is surveying Northwood Family Housing units regarding its recycling services. Maintenance Services is conducting a telephone survey of completed work orders so its can continue to improve its services.