September 15, 2021
The Highlands University customer service group, Power of Service, will celebrate its fifth year with a virtual lineup of speakers to kick off a new year of training across campus.
The Power of Service kickoff event will take place on September 23 from 9-11 a.m. and will be accessible via Zoom.
Power of Service is composed of Highlands staff and faculty who are invested in improving students’ experiences on campus. To measure their success, the group collects data from a student survey each year to track successes and areas for growth. According to Michelle Bencomo, student relations coordinator at Highlands, survey results for last year will be available at the kickoff event and will help shape the trainings that are offered throughout the year.
The lineup of speakers for the Power of Service Kickoff will include Power of Service committee members, President Sam Minner, and the co-owners of DesertGate Internet, Ron Doss and Eric Alarid. Bencomo said Doss and Alarid were asked to be speakers due to DesertGate’s dedication to customer service.
“DesertGate has on-call phones and they’re on top of notifying the community if the internet goes down and providing updates,” said Bencomo. “Their customer service is outstanding.”
President Minner, who launched the Power of Service in 2017 along with Denise Montoya, will open the kickoff event.
“I applaud the dedication the Power of Service committee members have demonstrated toward making Highlands more responsive to our students,” said President Minner. “The quest for a better student experience will be ever-evolving, and I’m pleased this year’s event will feature inspiring service leaders.”
Bencomo said the team’s goal for the coming year is to continue to promote trainings on campus and to increase attendance at the trainings. She said more staff members attend the trainings on averages, so she’d like to encourage more faculty participation.
“We really want to push the idea that customer service is super important even in the university community,” said Bencomo. “It’s really our goal to get increased participation and to have our survey results skyrocket so that customer service is number one on campus.”
Bencomo said that ideally, more faculty and staff will attend at least 10 trainings throughout the year. Those who do will receive a small monetary award at each year’s kickoff event, which is made possible through the support of the NMHU Foundation.
“The trainings are offered for those that just want professional development and want to improve customer service in their department,” said Bencomo. “Students just want responsiveness and answers to questions. They want help and guidance. So, our trainings are geared to that.”
Popular trainings in the past have included topics such as stress relief, self-care, and emotional intelligence, among a range of other offerings, but Bencomo said that even trainings in Microsoft Excel can enhance efficiency and customer service that will benefit students.
Two training opportunities will be offered once a month on the last Thursday of each month. The trainings will be held virtually on Zoom, and all recordings are accessible for individuals to watch at a later time. In addition, faculty and staff are invited to participate in a Power of Service book club. The featured book, Be Our Guest by the Disney Institute, will be introduced at the kickoff event.
“We have a lot of things available for individuals to gain professional development and improve customer service in their departments,” said Bencomo. “The kickoff event is going to be really fun and will hopefully motivate those who are interested in extra professional development opportunities.”