Campus News

Going above and beyond

The Bursar's Office earned a silver award in the outstanding customer service improvement Initiative category. Attending the award ceremony were (from left): Holley Schramski

Going above and beyond

Two UGA departments were recognized recently for outstanding customer service by the University System of Georgia.

As part of Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr.’s Customer Service Awards program, the UGA Police Department received a silver award in the team category for its overall commitment to public safety and customer service, and the Bursar’s Office captured a silver award in the outstanding customer service improvement initiative category for an electronic payment system implemented this year.

The presentations were made Sept. 28 in a special ceremony held at the chancellor’s office in Atlanta. Accompanying UGA staff members from the Police Department and the Bursar’s Office were UGA President Michael F. Adams and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Tim Burgess.

“I was pleased to join President Adams in congratulating our winners at the ceremony in Atlanta,” said Burgess. “I am continually impressed by the initiative and teamwork of our staff members who work to improve our processes and enhance the quality of service we provide to the campus community.”

Both departments report to Burgess.

The Bursar’s Office is responsible for the collection and custodianship of payments for tuition, fees and other expenses from students.

After searching for more efficient and innovative e-commerce methods of payment, staff from the Bursar’s Office positioned UGA to become the first university in the nation to offer Secure Vault Payment in 2009.

SVP is a process by which students and parents make payments directly to UGA from their bank accounts with no personal banking information divulged and no fees charged.

“While the benefits to the payer are obvious, the advantages for the university are significant,” said Lisa McCleary, UGA’s bursar. “With SVP, we are able to have immediate authorization of the transaction and receive guaranteed payment within 24 hours. In addition, we are not responsible for receiving or protecting any data, which relieves us of liability. The transactions are low cost, and future plans are to accept international transactions.

“This payment method has the ability to revolutionize the way payments are accepted by the university, with many more applications for UGA departments that engage in ­eCommerce,” she added. “Use of SVP could result in increased efficiencies and sales volumes as online customers become more comfortable with this secure payment option.”

The Chancellor’s Customer Service Award is one of numerous recognitions recently presented to the UGA Police Department.

“ ’Help is on the way’ means an event has just occurred and the proper authorities have been contacted to gain control of the scene and aid victims,” said Police Chief Jimmy Williamson. “But for the University of Georgia Police Department, ‘help is on the way’ is our culture and runs through every facet of the police department. Whether our officers have an educational role or an enforcement role, we operate as one unit to provide a safe and secure environment, with a commitment to being courteous, helpful, accessible, responsive, compassionate and knowledgeable during any event or situation.”

In response to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s launch of the state’s Customer Service Improvement Initiative, the chancellor has asked the more than
40,000 faculty and staff employed by Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities to provide faster, friendlier, more efficient service to customers, which includes more than 283,000 students.

The Customer Service Awards recognize USG divisions that have responded to this challenge. Last month, the governor’s office named the USG as its Customer Service Agency of the Year.