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Customer Service


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Introduction


“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Kenneth B. Elliott

In 1946, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was formed in Geneva, Switzerland. This venerable group set standards for customer service. “The customer is always right” remained a popular adage until the 1980s. During the 80s, agencies such as the Service Quality Institute began providing customer service training with seminars, books, and videos, and the first use of electronics as a training medium emerged. During the 1990s, the focus was more on giving back to the customer and surveying customer attitudes and needs. In the field of educational facilities, things were changing as well. Three decades have brought additional concentration on service skills due to the proliferation of firms that outsource the facilities management function as a part of facilities management. In a time when college costs are rising rapidly, the days of in-house facilities resources as the sole option are past, and more and more frequently the facilities leadership is being asked to consider the business case for outsourcing. While outsourcing can be a viable option, most educational facilities professionals see value in an in-house capability.

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