Serving Higher Ed Faculty and Staff with Salesforce

By Salesforce.org | February 5, 2019 | Community Engagement - Higher Ed, Education, Education Cloud, Higher Education

By: Dave DeMichele, Associate Director, Force.com App Services at Yale University and Brian Karcinski, Salesforce Solution Architect at the University of Florida

Yale University – Old Campus. Photo Credit: Jack Devlin
Yale University – Old Campus. Photo Credit: Jack Devlin

How Yale University is approaching serving faculty and staff

At Yale, we have been leveraging the power of the Salesforce platform to help our departments better serve their customers, whether they be students, alumni faculty and staff or external entities. In fact, most of our Salesforce applications are NOT student facing! Instead, we focus on making our administrative departments and centers more efficient by streamlining their internal process flow and optimizing their interactions with the constituents they serve.

As an example, our HR team handles thousands of requests each month through their Employee Service Center. The requests are managed in Service Cloud, including email communications between HR and the requestor, escalation points and the ultimate resolution of the requests. Our Finance and Business Operations department has a similar setup in Service Cloud to support our many finance and operations workflows. These apps allow our administrative staff to provide a high level of customer service to faculty and staff.

Many of our departments and centers reach out to my team with similar concerns around providing better customer service to their constituents. The conversations often begin with “We are currently managing our process in email and spreadsheets, but we’re having a hard time tracking conversations and things are getting lost. Can a Salesforce app help with that?” You bet!

We’ve helped groups from nearly every part of campus create better, more transparent experiences for their customers. This includes our Libraries and Art Galleries, the School of Medicine, and more. Most of our customer service applications include a self-service component, allowing customers to submit questions or requests, view pending and past requests and provide additional information via comments and file uploads. Allowing customers to see the progress of their request and related information all in one place ultimately results in a better overall experience for the customer and the departments they are interacting with.

How to Make Customer Service for Faculty and Staff a Priority

With higher education professionals focusing their energies on students, it can be easy to forget about some of the other customers that colleges and universities serve, such as faculty and staff. While the idea of “customer 360” is often applied to students, it may be time to consider a Faculty & Staff 360, as these university employees are often direct customers to the university in addition to supporting the student experience. Similar to how student data and experiences have long been in a silo, the same can often been said for the systems that serve faculty and staff. Sometimes these systems are the same ones that students have used, but often there are many siloed systems that are used only by faculty and staff to get their job done.

At many universities, faculty and staff are asking questions on behalf of the applicants, students and other staff members they serve.

  • Has central admissions cleared the conduct flag of an applicant so a professional school, which makes the admission decision, can accept or deny the applicant?
  • What is the status of a change of grade from that a staff member submitted to the university registrar?
  • Can the staff member see the status of their personal HR ticket and easily get updates, thus saving time that can now be allocated to their students?
  • What is the status of the expense report a staff member submitted last week?

University of Florida

How the University of Florida is approaching serving faculty and staff

The University of Florida’s office of enrollment management (Financial Aid, Bursar, Registrar, Admissions) workload comes from not only applicants and students but faculty and staff as well. Like many universities, UF’s enrollment management offices used distribution lists and shared inboxes to manage communication with its constituents. There would also be communication that would find its way into employees’ personal work email. With silos between offices and internally within each office, we selected Salesforce.org Education Cloud as the solution to work towards a 360 degree view of enrollment management interactions.

To give you an idea of the scale in the first year: the office of financial aid had over 100k cases, with each of those cases containing multiple emails. As enrollment management offices were onboarded into case management, it became clear that staff were also spending a significant amount of time interacting with faculty and staff. The approach quickly shifted to using case management to track all interactions that a staff member in enrollment had managed during the day.

By putting all applicants, students, faculty, and staff as contacts in Salesforce, customer service or support cases could be tied to these contact records. When the project is done, we will be able to determine what percent of each office’s time is spent on each type of constituent. That type of data will better inform decision-making and also allow for proactive approaches to reducing case volume. We will be able to drill down to college or department levels to find out which ones are contacting us the most and what those topics are about. This will allow enrollment management to personalize communications and training to what each unit or college needs assistance with the most.

Join us at Higher Ed Summit in San Diego this April 2019. It’s a two-and-a-half day celebration of all of the ways our community is driving a wave of change. And, keep reading for more resources on how you can use Salesforce to create a connected campus:

About the Authors
Dave DemicheleDave DeMichele is Associate Director, Force.com App Services at Yale University. He has been working in various technical roles in Higher Education for the last 9 years. Dave is currently the fearless leader of the Force.com App Services Team, focused on the strategy and application development efforts for the Salesforce platform at Yale University. Prior to his current role, Dave was an Application Architect, serving as a key technologist and thought leader for SaaS/PaaS platforms in support of Yale’s Cloud 1st strategy. Dave is a Salesforce.com certified administrator, certified platform app builder, Trailhead ranger, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Central Connecticut State University.

Brian KarcinskiBrian Karcinski is a Salesforce Solution Architect at the University of Florida (UF) working on the enterprise CRM team. Prior to joining the enterprise org, he spent five years at UF’s College of Pharmacy working to consolidate twelve siloed academic programs onto Salesforce. Brian oversaw the College of Pharmacy’s enrollment management unit which is the first attempt by a college at the University of Florida to run all of their academic programs (Master, Ph.D., Pharm.D.) under a cohesive unit. By leveraging the Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, the College of Pharmacy is not only improving the student experience, but also streamlining business processes on the backend by eliminating competing technologies.

Prior to working in higher education Brian worked at Fidelity Investments on defined benefit and defined contribution plan administration. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida and is currently working towards is M.Ed. in educational technology. Brian is a Salesforce.com certified administrator, certified platform app builder, and Trailhead Ranger.