Shopping with a Mission: Applied Learning in Business Communications

Shopping with a mission to learn was exactly what 16 students enrolled in GU-Wausau’s
BS110 [Business Communication] did during Fall Quarter with Adjunct Business
Faculty Phil Handrick.  Students evaluated the level of Customer Service of ten stores located within the Wausau Center Mall. The stores were rated using a Likert Rating Scale of 1 to 5 (1-Very Dissatisfied, 2- Dissatisfied, 3- Average/Indifferent, 4- Satisfied, and
5- Very Satisfied) in the following categories developed by the students: Appearance,
, Competency, Efficiency, Experience-Level, Friendliness, Neatness,
Professionalism, Willingness to Help
, and Exceed  Expectations. The students were broken into six groups of 3 persons each, with one group having
four members. Posing as customers, they then visited the ten stores and rated their
overall experience in each of the ten categories. Once they compiled their
data, they presented their findings to the rest of the class during the latter part
of Fall Quarter.  A letter was sent to each store manager by Phil Handrick, Instructor with an invitation to hear the feedback. Sears Manager Cathy Woznicki
attended the student feedback presentations and shared that it was a helpful business collaboration. The stores we visited were:
American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, GameStop, Hollister Co., Hot
Topic, JCPenney, Sears, Spencer Gifts, Victoria’s Secret, and Younkers.
Students found value in the experience.  Here’s what they had to say:
“This field trip was a good way to learn how business communications affect the world
around us.” – Nancy Sommerfeldt
“It was a good experience and a great way to integrate in-class material and apply it
to the real world.” –Pheng Yang
“Customer service definitely depends on appearance (how you present oneself).”—Stephanie Williams.
“Inspecting stores, employees, and their skills with customers was a learning experience.” –Roxanne Deltrude
“I feel that this field trip taught us a lot about how customer service affects
companies and how customers view the companies as a whole, whether or not they
will come back..  This is an awesome
learning tool”—Amy Lang
“Going places while completing the customer service unit is very helpful to
understanding the material.”—Kesi Krueger
“One thing that thisfield trip helped me with is realizing more about customer
service and what people expect from them.
I will have a better outlook on being a customer service representative
in the future.”—Mike Gendron
“It [the field trip] was a great way to see first-hand how important good customer
service is and how it not only reflects upon the business, but the individuals
that work there.”—Melissa Cherette
“Good experience to view customer service first-hand when you are actually looking for
it.”—Josh Thompson
“It was nice to actually rate stores on their customer service because it is a good way
to tell the stores what they need to work on.”
Nkauj Thao (Molly)