Undercover Students Pose as Secret Shoppers

Service Learning: Applying Customer Service Concepts at the Volunteer Center of Brown County

Business program students

Business students pose with Michael Schwartz-Oscar, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Brown County

What better way to learn than to jump head first into applying course concepts to real-life scenarios? Students in Nicole Virant’s Customer Service Strategies course did just that while providing useful information to the Volunteer Center of Brown County to help improve their customer service practices.

Michael Schwartz-Oscar, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Brown County shared, “The fresh perspective Globe students brought to our Volunteer Center team was most helpful. They were able to reflect the experience our customers receive and gave us strong recommendations on how to improve.”

The Mission:

Secret “Shopper”

Students were asked to call or email the Volunteer Center seeking a volunteer placement. Students tracked how they were greeted, what the staff did to assist them, how the process flowed, if they received a follow-up call, and how the customer experience was overall. Students then recommended improvements based on concepts learned in the course.

Customer Service Guidelines Manual

Students were tasked with creating a simple but effective customer service manual for the Volunteer Center. The manual pointed out best practices for each customer service interaction to serve as guidelines for staff

Customer Service Surveys

Students researched and wrote two customer service surveys. The surveys measured the level of customer satisfaction for two specific customer groups served by the Volunteer Center – volunteers and community partners.

The Organization:

The Volunteer Center of Brown County is a non-profit organization whose mission is “Building a Stronger Community through Volunteerism.” Serving over 200 community organizations and local schools in the Green Bay area, the Volunteer Center mobilizes volunteers to deliver creative solutions to address serious community needs

The Outcome:

“Globe students brought an impressive amount of enthusiasm to this service learning experience and were excited to learn about the Volunteer Center. They especially seemed to enjoy the “secret shopping” part of the project. During final presentations students reflected that what they learned during the project was highly applicable to course concepts,” said Schwartz-Oscar.

“As the Volunteer Center has grown with the collection of information, I have grown as well. I personally have spent a large portion of my working career in a field were customer service is key. But I have come to realize that customer service is key in any job.” Alex Gardiner, information technology student.