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Behind the Scenes: Student Business Services

Isabel Garrido, Assistant Director of the customer service and cashiering divisions of Student Business Services, uses RT to manage day-to-day functions in her office.

For Isabel Garrido, providing support to the UMBC community is all in a day’s work. As Assistant Director of the customer service and cashiering divisions of Student Business Services, she oversees operations to ensure that the quality and efficiency of service is as high as possible. Similar to the Registrar’s Office, Garrido and her team previously used an email account to answer any questions related to tuition, billing, or payments.

Because the email address was published in many pieces of university literature, Student Business Services received a high volume of inquiries daily. Garrido and other staff members used a variety of email management techniques ranging from having one person in charge of the account to rotating the responsibility. “We couldn’t keep track of anything,” Garrido admits. “We even had to count emails by hand in order to make spreadsheets of the number of requests we were receiving.” There were also other limitations to using the email account, including the risk that submissions were sent to spam or even not received at all.

RT was already being used in UMBC’s Finance department, so Garrido was familiar with the system and had even submitted tickets on occasion. But once she saw the success that the Registrar’s Office was having by exclusively relying on RT to facilitate customer service, Garrido decided to implement the ticketing system in her own office in 2010. At first, she wasn’t sure if it would be intuitive enough for an easy transition. “RT was a different look and feel from what we were used to,” Garrido explains. “But it actually ended up being easy to use, and we mostly only have troubleshooting questions now and then.”

The new ticketing system for Student Business Services has also been well-received by students and parents. If a student sends a question in the form of an email, he or she automatically receives a response asking for a ticket submission instead. “I thought we would get lots of negativity, but that wasn’t the case” Garrido says. “I think students are more interested in getting help than the mechanism they have to go through to get that help.” The transition has also been smooth for parents who have questions, as tickets are automatically created for emails not coming from @umbc.edu addresses.

Overall, RT has been a great asset for Garrido and her team. They are able to receive questions quickly, as well as organize those tickets into different queues. Since RT’s implementation in 2010, Student Business Services has been able to maintain a two day turnaround time for the majority of requests. In 2012 alone, Garrido has overseen the resolution of over 4500 tickets that have come into her office.

One of the features of RT that Garrido likes the most is the historical information that’s available. Each ticket is saved in the system even after being resolved, allowing for easy access if the same issue occurs later on. Furthermore, Garrido and her staff can see the number and types of requests they receive at a glance. “This makes it easier for us to articulate to upper management the reasons why we need the resources that we do,” explains Garrido.

Another useful feature of RT that Student Business Services relies on is the walk-in queue. When a student or parent comes to their office on the third floor of the Administration building, there are sign-in stations that prompt users to enter their name and reason for visit. Although there was a similar sign-in system before, it was not connected to RT. The new version, which went live in June 2012, automatically creates a ticket that staff members can pull up at their own computers. “People used to argue about who got there first,” Garrido remembers. “Now, we can automatically see the time someone arrived and we already know why he or she is there when they come up to the counter.”

Garrido believes that RT has ultimately provided Student Business Services with a more efficient way of handling operations. “Every now and then you hear that other departments are hesitant to try RT, but it’s really painless,” explains Garrido. After the success she has had transitioning to the new system, Garrido is looking into attaching a customer service evaluation to tickets to even further ensure that customers are satisfied. She also plans to familiarize herself with REX, UMBC’s data warehouse system, so reports can be created using data from the RT tickets. The university may be growing, but Student Business Services is determined to continue giving customers the quick and personalized service they are accustomed to.

–Article and photo by Laura Lefavor ’13, Summer 2012