Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced the creation of a State-wide Customer Service Program designed to take Georgia to the top of the national rankings for “the best-managed state in America.” The major goal of the program was to ensure that interactions with State agencies became “Faster, Friendlier, and Easier.”
That same year, Chancellor Erroll Davis extended the Governor’s Program to the University System of Georgia (USG). USG training programs for staff were designed to enhance the provision of service to all internal and external constituents. Over the years, institutions launched hundreds of projects targeted to meet the Chancellor’s mandate.
In addition to the training programs, projects using the Lean/Six Sigma and Rapid Process Improvement methodologies were developed and deployed. The significant and successful efforts of the institutions were recognized by both the Governor’s Office and the University System of Georgia.
This program serves as both a catalyst and a vehicle to create fundamental change in our culture to encourage continuous improvement and recognize employees for performing over and above their responsibilities.
Over the past seven years, we have made great strides in our service efforts by developing several components.
- The first component was a continuous process improvement projects. Lean/Six Sigma and Rapid Process Improvement methodologies were launched across the System to implement projects that focused on Faster, Friendlier and Easier experiences for students and other customers of the University System of Georgia (USG).
- We have improved more than 250 processes that range from basic customer service training, improving health services, financial aid experiences, one-stop-shops to student advisement and dissemination of information. We have begun a culture for service.
- The second component was a program to recognize employees that have gone over and above to provide outstanding customer service and develop innovative methods to provide better customer service. The annual Chancellor’s Customer Service Awards were established, which is a system-wide nomination process to select candidates for recognition. We have nominated over 2000 outstanding individuals, teams and processes.
- Several of our institutions have received Governor’s Commendation Awards and individual awards. In 2010, over 40 State of Georgia agencies competed for the Governor’s Customer Service Agency of the Year Award. We were excited about the recognition we received for the Agency of the Year award.
- The third component was a training program that we designed and developed to enhance our efforts for building a culture for service. We have trained over 4000 employees in the “Art of Exceptional Customer Service.”
In February of 2013, Chancellor Huckaby requested an evolution of the Customer Service Program. In June of 2013, The USG Service Excellence Program (SEP) was established to provide the platform for a higher level of coordination of performance-based partnerships resulting in enhanced student experiences and success. This program provides a closer connection to meeting the needs of higher education and the USG’s goals to enhance retention, progression, graduation rates. The new USG’s Strategic Goals were approved in May 2013.