Guidelines for Customer Service

Research on Quality Customer Service reveals

  • The customer defines what quality is and the target is always moving.
  • Don't assume you know what customers want, you need to ask them, gather the information and measure and track your results.
  • 1/3 of customers with problems do not complain, they just stop using your service.
  • An unhappy customer tells 10-15 other people.
  • Listening and problem solving ability that focuses on the customer is paramount.

Departmental Response Times

Each director with their staff will determine a general response time for email, voice mail, and written correspondence. Some common principles include:

  • Correspondence in general is desired to have a response within 24-48 hours unless otherwise designated by the message.
  • A rationale or agenda will be included to meetings scheduled.

Written Correspondence

  • Written correspondence often identifies timeframes for a return response.
  • Our goal will be to meet those timelines whenever possible.
  • If we cannot for some reason related to collecting additional information etc., we will communicate with the sender.

Voice Mail/Telephone Inquiries

  • Try to respond to all voice mail by the end of the workday.
  • Update your outgoing message regularly - including a description of your normal office hours (ex:  "My normal office hours are 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday").  Callers feel most comfortable leaving a message when they know when their message will be heard and their call returned.
  • Include information in your greeting that explains how callers can obtain assistance in your absence (especially important if you're not able to check your messages for a while).
  • Check for messages regularly. This doesn't mean every half hour -- but every two or three hours is recommended, especially if your greeting says you'll call back within a certain time frame.
  • Please end your voice message recording with the x key on the phone to eliminate the harsh ending to outgoing voice messages.

Change Voice Mail Message from Home or On the Road

  • Call (319) 335-1000, then insert your voicemail number (last four digits of your phone number).
  • When your voicemail recording begins, press the * (star key), and enter your password.
  • When the recording begins, select 8 for user options, then 4 for a greeting, then 7 to record your greeting.
  • Once your recording is complete press the # key to end your message.


  • It is important to identify a reasonable response time that your customers can expect. Generally, the guideline for responding is within 24-48 hours.
  • If you are not able to respond fully, please acknowledge receipt of the message.
  • If you are out of the office, please use the Out of Office Assistant (Tools > Out of Office Assistant) alerting viewers to know that you are away from email, identifying other options for service.
  • Remember, e-mail is not designed for immediacy; it's designed for convenience.
  • "Out of Office" ITS Resource page


Calendar Tool/Outlook

  • All calendars will be open to Rod Lehnertz and the director of your unit to see details of your appointments as requested. All calendars need to be open in general to your immediate supervisor.
  • Calendars need to be kept up to date as much as possible.  Work hours will be publicized and clearly indicated on written and Outlook calendars - this is especially important for staff working a flex-scheduling on a regular/recurring basis.  This can be done by clicking the 'View' tab in the Outlook calendar menu and updating Work Hours in the 'Arrangement' section or blocking weekday calendars as "out of office" immediately before and after your scheduled work shift on your Outlook calendar.
  • It is the responsibility of the person scheduling a meeting to identify an agenda or purpose and if the participants need to prepare in any manner.

Sharing your Calendar

  • Everyone has access to view your Free/Busy time from the Scheduling tab on the New Appointment display. This displays just the blocks of time you are busy.
  • To allow people to see details of your appointments, you must grant Permission. For further information about delegates and calendar sharing, select "Calendar Delegate" in Outlook Help.  Keyboard shortcut (F1).

Responses when you are on vacation or other absence

  • You need to identify that you will be out and who is covering for your absence.
  • A meeting prior to your departure is helpful with whomever is covering to ensure continuity of service to the campus.
  • Designate a delegate for workflow transactions.

Developed May 2003
Reviewed 2006
Revised 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013