Meshach Roberts | Staff Writer
Whether it is an ill tempered secretary or unwarranted “Not Financially Cleared” email, almost every student at Hampton University has had a bad service experience with customer service. Many Hampton University students have expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the school has handled their issues.
“This summer when I was trying to call student accounts about a balance I had on my account,” said Joshua Reed, a junior aviation major from Alexandria, Virginia. “I called everyday for two weeks and left messages and email. The only way it got resolved was when I was at the office in-person right before the fall semester started.” Contacting Hampton University seems especially difficult for students during breaks while trying to deal with financial problems before arriving on campus.
While some may say the issue stems from a lack of training, Hampton University steps for employment of staff members seems quite extensive. After completing a letter of intent, submitting resume and completing an application, the applicant is screened by the Office of Human Resources. If an applicant passes the initial screening, then their application materials are sent to the appropriate office for an interview and additional screening.
Many listings include requirements like “good interpersonal and human relations skills” or “Greet students, faculty and visitors on the phone, via email, in person, etc. courteously and with respect.” Still with the various complaints from the student body, there does not seem to be a system to hold the staff accountable to fulfilling those requirements.
While students can evaluate their teachers through anonymous forms at the end of the semester, there is not a similar process exists for other offices on. Red boxes across campus offer students an outlet to express their issues, but many students are unsure about how often these are read and whether their issues are being presented and acted upon by administration.
“They charged me $500, they had dropped all of my classes and my HU email was disabled,” said Dominque Conway, a sophomore political science major from Murrieta, California, about issues involving student balances. Dominque called the business office numerous times over winter break about a $55 balance and left voicemails even taking into account time differences in order to call at an appropriate time to no avail. By the time she sat down to speak to a representative the payment deadline had passed while she was unaware of such a deadline.
“Hampton needs to be more efficient and actually inform students of their balance instead of expecting them to somehow come up with a number on their own,” said Conway. Continuous issues with students being able to communicate with staff especially about being financially cleared will eventually lead to more students not coming back at all.
The issue of poor service to students is not just a problem that only Hampton University students deal with. Students at other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have experienced poor customer service as well. Earlier this year, Howard University students took to Twitter by the hashtag “TakeBackHU” to discuss issues including long lines and poor service in the Financial Aid Office. Texas Southern University students also created a similar hashtag “TakeBackTxSU” with thousands of complaints from students and alumni.
These issues can essentially be considered customer service issues since students are paying for this lackluster service. Without a system that accounts for these concerns, it is difficult to see if any progress will be made towards a happier and more helpful Hampton University.