2.4, df = 193, p = .038). Second, “show confidence in other team members” (Student
Customer Mean = 5.8, Faculty/Staff Customer Mean = 5.4, t = 2.3, df = 193, p = .041).
Lastly, "be cooperative rather than competitive" (Student Customer Mean = 6.0,
Faculty/Staff Customer Mean = 6.5, t = 2.5, df = 193, p = .028). All three of the
significant items were related in the sense that they demonstrated teamwork. Therefore,
the customers of the Memorial Student Center feel that teamwork skills and cooperating
with your co-workers are important qualities to possess for a person performing a
customer-service oriented job. Furthermore, the employees of the Memorial Student
Center also had significant differences found in the area of teamwork. The Employee
Survey's data showed two significant items. These items included “show confidence in
other team members” (Student Staff Mean = 6.3, Permanent Staff Mean = 5.7, t= 2.2, df
= 183, p = .027). Second, “show trust in other team members” (Student Staff Mean = 6.4,
Permanent Staff Mean = 5.8, t = 2.3, df = 182, p = .021). However, over-interpreting
these differences in each phase needs to be considered in that significance at the .05 level
suggests that these differences would be observed (out of 39 analyses) simply by chance.
Factor analysis was used to identify and record component factors within the
items. Table 2 displays the rankings and factor loadings of the individual items. Four
factors resulted when Varimax rotation of the matrix was attempted after PC extraction.
The four factors included: Flexibility and solution as to getting the job done, team work,
individual and personal characteristics, and goal oriented. The four factors had the
following for Eigen values respectively; 24.56 and explained 63.0% of the total variance
across the 39 items, 1.7 and explained 4.4% of the total variance, 1.2 and explained 3.1%
of the total variance, and finally the fourth factor had an Eigen value of 1.0 and explained
2.6% of the total variance across the 39 items. An Eigen value simply explains how
much variance each component has when it is extracted.
18. Stay focused on tasks.
30. Listen effectively.
5. Find positive resolutions to problems.
37. Readily accept feedback on performance.
26. Respect the final decisions of the team.
12. Be willing to compromise.
20. Respond effectively.
6. Take the initiative to resolve issues before they
34. Show concern for the needs of others.
11. Be eager to try new approaches.
36. Gain the trust of the customer.
28. Exhibit open lines of communication with other
10. Maintain a positive frame of mind.
29. Be sensitive to the feelings of others.
31. Interact in a friendly, courteous manner.
39. Be tolerant to different points of view.
16. Follow through with commitments.
13. Be willing to collaborate.
7. Remain calm when things get hectic.
32. Display a positive self-image (one’s conception of
oneself or of one’s role).
21. Give continuous attention to customer satisfaction. .800
2. Know my individual responsibilities and priorities
and how they relate to others.
38. Be open to criticism.
24. Show trust in other team members.
4. Be able to resolve conflict effectively.
3. Contribute to an informal, comfortable and tension
36. Gain the respect of the customer.
27. Not to dominate others in interactions.
15. Pay attention to detail.
14. Display a high level of productivity.
9. Exhibit high morale.
25. Be cooperative rather than competitive.
22. Show interest in other team member’s
23. Show confidence in other team members.
17. Display knowledge of products/services
33. Understand other cultures.
8. Be enthusiastic about work.
19. Respond quickly.
1. Work toward the goals of the organization and the
Ideally, separate factor analyses would test for potentially different factor
structures across the two customer groups. Nevertheless, subdividing the sample created
group sizes that would not be sufficient for such procedures.
Next, a qualitative analysis was completed to offer the respondents an opportunity
to add any other comments or ideas that they feel are important customer service
competencies for the employee's of the Memorial Student Center to possess in order to
ensure their visit is the best that it possibly could be. Out of 203 total participants, 20
(10%) offered additional open-ended responses. One Faculty/Staff Customer offered
responses (5%), and nineteen Student Customers (95%) offered open-ended responses.
The unique comments that were made by the respondents are highlighted in Table 3
below. Comments that were related to existing items found in the survey can be found in
Appendix B. Some of the unique comments also touched slightly on a few of the already
existing items, but did not generalize into one specific category. It was determined that
30% of the responses could be linked to existing scale items (See Appendix B), while
70% of the responses were determined to be unique (See Table 3).
Be on time
Be on time
Not make the customer feel
alienated or stupid
Enjoy their job
Be able to enjoy their work/have
fun while working
Smile and greet customers with it
Clean and appropriate personal
Clean and appropriate personal
Clean serving area
Clean serving area
Bathrooms need cleaning
Desire to continually improve
Make employees feel
Make customers feel comfortable
Being on time and being efficient were both mentioned in the open-ended section
of the survey. Many of the responses had to do with simply being friendly and inviting to
the customers, and not making the customer feel "alienated or stupid". A few of the
participants also wanted the employees to enjoy their work and have fun while they were
Both student and faculty/staff customers mentioned personal hygiene of the
employees as an important issue that needs to be addressed. Cleanliness of the physical
facilities was mentioned as well. Smiling and being courteous to the customers was also
a definite unique category.
A table was also compiled using a factor analysis to find the top ten responses of
Phase I and Phase II to test for differences between the importance of employee and
customer responses (See Table 4).
1. Interact in a friendly, courteous
2. Be willing to collaborate.
3. Listen effectively.
4. Follow through with
5. Be willing to compromise.
6. Show concern for needs of
1. Stay focused on tasks.
2. Listen effectively.
3. Readily accept feedback on
4. Respect the final decisions of
5. Be willing to compromise.
6. Respond effectively.
7. Take the initiative to resolve
issues before they become
7. Stay focused on tasks.
8. Give continuous attention to
9. Readily accept feedback on
10. Display positive self-image
(one’s conception of oneself or of
8. Show concern for the needs of
9. Be eager to try new
10. Gain the trust of the
Listen effectively, be willing to compromise, show concern for needs of others,
stay focused on tasks and readily accept feedback on performance were all mentioned in
the top ten responses of both customers and employees of the Memorial Student Center.
These items seem to all be related to the category of teamwork. Interestingly, in addition
to teamwork being the utmost priority for both the customers as well as the employees,
the employees had a secondary focus on positive customer interaction whereas the
customers saw being a proactive employee as a high priority for guaranteed satisfaction
for their visit at the Memorial Student Center.
In phase II, there were two types of external customers; the student and the
faculty/staff customers. Phase I encompassed the internal customers; the employees.
Through quantitative analyses, both the customers and the employees of the Memorial
Student Center recorded that teamwork is an important skill to have in a customer service
position. Personal characteristics such as being goal-oriented, friendly, and outgoing
were also shown at the top of the customers' lists. The qualitative analysis brought out
more unique suggestions such as smiling, personal hygiene of the employee, and
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cleanliness of the physical facilities. All in all, having an overall friendly attitude and
showing teamwork skills were of the utmost importance according to the customers of
the Memorial Student Center.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The purpose of this project was to assist the University of Wisconsin-Stout's Memorial
Student Center towards their goal of improving and maintaining their customer service
excellence. This was accomplished by surveying the external, as well as the internal
customers of the Memorial Student Center on what they felt were important customer
service competencies for the employees to have. In the near future, the data obtained will
be used to develop and improve hiring and training procedures. The subjects involved in
Phase II were the external customers of the University of Wisconsin-Memorial Student
Center, with the majority of them being traditional college students.
The present survey was designed in a consistent and simple way. As the literature
suggested, both qualitative and quantitative methods of research were used. Coming up
with a limited number of attributes and asking how important they were was an excellent
approach in retrieving the anticipated data (Motley, 1999). The instrument used was a
39-item questionnaire rated on a 7-point Likert scale and five open-ended or "other"
responses, which allowed the participants to give unique opinions. Descriptive statistics
(means, standard deviations, and median values) and t-tests were configured to determine
what the customers felt were important. Teamwork played a big role in what customers
perceived as important traits for the employees to have. A factor analysis was used to
identify groups of factors. The four most important factors that emerged were; Flexibility
and problem solving, teamwork, individual and personal characteristics, and goal
orientation, respectively. The unique, open-ended questions also contributed to the final
data collection. Being on time, being efficient, smiling, making people feel comfortable,
and having a clean personal appearance were some of the responses (see Table 3).
The results from Phase I, which assessed the internal customers opinions of customer
service, showed that the employees seemed to have more of a global perspective, and
encompassed every trait as being important. Therefore, the results obtained from Phase
II should be a nice asset to the refining of the hiring and training procedures.
During the hiring process, the Memorial Student Center should look for those qualities
that the customers deemed important. Such things that may be touched upon in the
interview guide could be efficiency in finding solutions to problems and teamwork
capabilities. Looking at past job experiences and length of stay can also be helpful in
determining types of employees (Goodman, 2000).
The quest for quality service is a never-ending journey; there is always room for
improvement. For future research purposes, surveying the customers again to see if there
is any change in their responses after the training of the employees in the suggested areas
takes place would be a good initiative. Continuing the research not only reveals progress
and strengths but problems and weaknesses as well. Furthermore, surveying the
customers as to their perception on the service they already receive could be critical and
useful information. For example, a question stating "How satisfied are you with the
overall business, why or why not?" could be practical. Organizations need to understand
if the customers are satisfied with the present service as well as where their concerns are
Managers should directly interact with both the internal and external customers, and
should become personally involved in listening to the voices of the customers. This
could be done informally throughout normal business hours or more formally in focus
groups. Listening to them in person makes it more "real" and nonverbal actions and
tones can also play a crucial part in determining the meaning behind the responses (Berry
& Parasuraman, 1997). As far as the employees go, a need for a new or improved reward
system that gives them incentives for improving their customer service skills could be
designed. This could potentially help give them more motivation and encouragement to
strive to do their best and be their best for themselves as well as for the customers. A
service is a performance, and it is usually difficult to separate the performance from the
people. If the people do not meet customer expectations, then most likely the service
organization will not either. To understand its potential in creating and maintaining
quality customer service, an organization must recognize the multiple dimensions of
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