Training for Student Service Specialist As a part of the president’s initiative

Training for Student Service Specialist
As a part of the president’s initiative to remove “barriers to learning” at a regional Midwestern university, an analysis of student services operations was conducted. The analysis revealed that the barriers deemed most important by students were those that would delay or prevent them from registering for classes. These barriers fell into three areas:
1. Resolving issues relating to fines accrued over the previous terms (e.g., library, parking, late fees)
2. Completing forms accurately and meeting processing deadlines for financial aid in time to enroll in classes 
3. Acquiring appropriate advice so that they enrolled in the right classes (avoiding the problems associated with drops and adds) 
As a result of this analysis, the university decided to create a new position called customer service specialist (CSS). The job description is presented here:
Classification Specification Supersedes: 
New Classification Title: Student Service Specialist 
Grade: PT08 
General Summary 
Supervise, support, monitor, and assist with the continuous improvement of the work unit’s customer service functions and related operational activities. Ensure quality student service, both in person and over the telephone. These activities require a working knowledge of the work unit’s program policies, procedures, and regulations and an understanding of other departments and systems that interface with the work unit’s activities. 
Essential Duties 
Personally provide and ensure that student support staff provide positive student service practices throughout the work unit, including greeting departmental students in person or over the telephone, identifying their needs, obtaining necessary and appropriate information, and processing customer requests in a manner that will best meet the needs of the student. 
Monitor staff and ensure that students perceive staff as treating them with courtesy, respect, tact, and a sincere desire to meet their needs. 
Provide mediation and resolution to student complaints and requests within delegated authority limits and consistent with departmental policies. 
Communicate to students the departmental policies and procedures related to their needs, and provide students with the appropriate forms and instructions. 
Design and implement systems to ensure that forms turned in by students are the correct forms for their service request and that they are complete and as accurate as possible. Work with the appropriate departmental administrator to identify the training needs of designated support staff in the work unit who provide direct customer service. Where called for, provide OJT and coaching.  Work with the designated department administrator to identify suitable training experiences for student service support staff. 
Recruit, interview, and make recommendations in the hiring of student support staff. 
Identify processes and procedures in the department that are causing problems for groups of students (not individuals), and work with department management toward their improvement. Where authorized, implement improvements in systems, processes, and procedures that will increase the student satisfaction capability of the department. 
Develop and maintain a network of contacts with other university departments that commonly interface with the work unit.
Interact with other university departments to resolve a student’s problem, or meet the student’s needs. 
Interpret and reconcile account records related to area of assignment. 
Receive, read, and interpret correspondence, and determine proper handling. Perform other related duties as assigned. 
Supervision Received 
Supervision is received from the designated departmental administrator. 
Supervision Exercised 
Supervision may be exercised, as determined by the appropriate departmental administrator, over student service representatives, clerical support staff, and student support staff in the work unit who provide direct student service.
Qualifications 
Ability to read, write, interpret instructions, perform basic arithmetic, and communicate orally and in writing at a level typically acquired through the completion of a college degree is necessary. 
Personal computing skills sufficient to use word processing and spreadsheet applications and to perform file management and data input/retrieval functions are necessary. Knowledge of specific software applications and university information systems utilized in the work unit assigned is desirable. 
Supervisory skills needed to provide direction to sub-ordinates, monitor and manage subordinate performance, and to plan, organize, and coordinate the student service activities are required, and supervisory experience is desirable. Preference is given to those who master basic customer service and problem-solving skills as listed:
• The ability to communicate accurately and pleasantly with customers (across a wide diversity of cultural 291 backgrounds) as necessary to identify customer needs and solve customer problems. 
• The ability to communicate moderately to highly complex policies, procedures, and regulations and to ensure understanding of these while working under pressure (e.g., handling several requests at the same time) is required. 
• Effective problem-solving abilities are required to (1) identify and prioritize customer service problems, (2) conduct a root cause analysis to determine the cause(s) of a problem, (3) develop a range of alternatives that will remove the cause(s) of a problem, (4) identify the alternatives that are most effective, and (5) develop an implementation plan for carrying out the alternative selected. 
• Effective conflict management skills are required (e.g., defuse emotionally charged situations, clearly identify issues, and clearly communicate procedures for resolving the issue, and working with the student to develop a resolution acceptable to the student and the work unit). 
• Knowledge and understanding of university, state, and federal policies, systems, procedures, and regulations as they pertain to the work unit’s ability to meet student needs and to areas of the university that interface with the work unit in meeting those needs. 
Those hired without the preceding competencies will undergo training before assuming job responsibilities. During the training period, these individuals will be considered temporary employees. Upon successful completion of the training, the classification will be changed to permanent. Failure to complete training successfully will result in termination of employment or reassignment to another position, at the discretion of the university. 
Working Conditions 
Work is performed in a typical office environment.
After the position was posted and advertised, 25 applicants were selected. Unfortunately, only seven applicants were assessed as demonstrating the desired level of problem-solving and student service knowledge and skills.
CASE QUESTIONS
You are assigned the challenge of designing the training program for the temporary CSS employees who must complete training before they become permanent CSS employees.
 
Tip: From the case information, it is clear that the KSAs lacking in the 18 people selected without the full complement of desired competencies, are those associated with problem solving and customer service. Thus, these should be the areas of focus in the questions. 
What are the training objectives for the CSS training program? Indicate how these are tied to the KSA requirements. Assume that all trainees have college degrees but need KSAs in all other areas listed in the Qualifications section.
Based on the training objectives provide a training agenda, indicating the time allocated and order of modules in your program.
 For each module, describe the goals of the module and the training methods you will use to accomplish it. Provide your rationale.
 How will you evaluate whether each person in your training program has mastered the knowledge and skill levels needed to perform as a CSS? Describe the types of questions you would ask of those supervising the CSS employees graduating from your training program.
 
QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW
Using Word or Google Docs, respond to the following questions:
What is a learning objective? List and explain its three components.
What can be done long before the trainee attends training to ensure that the trainee will be motivated to learn?
How does knowledge of operant conditioning assist you in designing effective training?
How would you present training material in a manner that facilitates retention?
If a particular task were critical to saving a life (police officer shooting a gun, pilot responding to an emergency), what factors would you build into the design of training to ensure that the behavior was both learned and transferred to the workplace?
To help ensure transfer of training, what would you do outside the training itself? Who would you involve and how? What would you do about the organizational structure/ environment?
Suppose you are designing a training program for a group of 40 employees. These employees come from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and have different educational and experience backgrounds relative to the content area of the training. What training design features would you use to address these constraints?
Discuss the Gagné–Briggs theory of design and its relationship to SLT.
Explain elaboration theory and how it would help you design a training program.
Questions for Review: Electronic Training Methods
Using Word or Google Docs, respond to the following questions:
How is e-training different from e-learning?
What are the basic types of e-training and its delivery?
How does programmed instruction allow the trainee to work at his or her own pace?
How does ITS differ from programmed instruction?
What learning processes are most influenced by interactive multimedia? Which are influenced the least?
What is the most expensive part of developing an e-training?
What are the factors associated with calculating the cost of e-training?
How effective is e-training in maintaining control over learning processes and training content? Provide your rationale.
What is the purpose of an LMS?
How are ITS and LMS related to each other?