Teaming for Great Service
By Erin Barney
From Brief Extra, February 25, 2004
Teaming for great service focuses on strengthening the interdependent relationships within University communities. Anne Daly, administrative director of Student Support Services at the College of Continuing Education (CCE), applies the teaming concept both with customers and colleagues. "Teaming brings the pieces together," says Daly. "With colleagues, it is having a shared understanding of the service philosophy and service standards in order to address the changing needs of the customer. "With customers, teaming is finding out what people need and working with them to provide the right information and resolve issues." During the past year, Training Services has recognized the benefits of teaming for great service and is promoting the idea in training sessions. The concept of teaming for great service is easy to comprehend, but more difficult to put into action. "Defining requirements, identifying the players, and soliciting feedback from everyone in the organization on what it is that we want to succeed at, is essential in making the team concept work," explains Mannix Clark, associate director of Housing and Residential Life.
University Stores helps Extension Service offices openOn January 5 this year, 18 new University extension offices opened. At the end of December, University Stores received stock-up orders for all of them, to be delivered when the offices opened. Order levels were so high that, for many items, shelves were emptied at the University Stores warehouse as well as commercial suppliers. University Stores had developed teams over several years by practicing communication, engaging in team-building activities, holding regular meetings, and celebrating success. Time and effort spent on teaming played an important role in responding successfully to this challenge. Team members went beyond expectations and demonstrated accountability, finding creative ways to meet the deadline. According to Mark Teragawa, senior administrative director at University Stores, staff dedication to teamwork was truly highlighted when employees volunteered to work on January 2, a floating holiday. Approaching service from a team perspective can enable service providers to support each other in reaching goals. The result is satisfied customers.
Building a team for great serviceHow can a group start building service teams?
- The first step is to look around and recognize all of the players and the strengths they bring.
- Using those strengths, consider ways to develop the team.
- Anne Daly at CCE recommends team-building workshops delivered by the Center for Human Resource Development (CHRD), which helped their staff get to know each other and create a shared understanding of both college and unit-level service standards.