The value of honest feedback

We request feedback in many ways.  One of them is via the surveys that are sent out when we close a ticket in Footprints, our service request management system. Over the past year, we’ve seen a definite increase in the number of people who are filling out those surveys.

Whenever we receive feedback, I ask “what can we learn from this?”. If the feedback says “excellent service”, then we have learned that we got things right.  If the feedback identifies some problems, then we can ask what aspects of our procedures, guidelines or systems may have led to the problem.

I wanted to call out some of the feedback we’ve received this past year and thank those who took the time to give it to us.

Peter Saeta recently said it would be nice if we could let people know when an update was available for software such as Mathematica.  Jeho is now gathering the information we need about what software to include in our list.  Elizabeth told me that she used to use an m-software-l list for this purpose, so we may revive that, or create a calendar (or both!).

Stephanie Graham ran into a problem with an event that was scheduled for AV setup before 8am.  She was unable to contact anyone at CIS when the staff member was unavoidably late and the staff member did not have Stephanie’s number.  We changed our checklists for events so that we are always giving out a contact number and requesting a contact number from the event organizer.

Xanda Schofield told us about the challenges of being the moderator for students-l and suggested that we put something more modern than majordomo and easier to use than mutt in place.  So Xanda is going to help us review list software in the New Year (we’re very interested in Google Groups and in Sympa).

Many students have given us feedback on the new PaperCut print management system, which was taken up with great enthusiasm by the students in the early Fall.  We are working with the company to get some of the requests into the next version of PaperCut.

Similarly, we received lots of feedback when we launched the Fischer password management portal.  We have been working with Fischer and will relaunch this portal in the new year.  The new version will be at a HMC url  and will have much more flexibility with respect to the security questions it allows you to ask and answer.

Mark Ashley and Lauren Kim gave us a spreadsheet filled with detailed suggestions for improvements to the portal.

To these and all the other folk who have given us honest feedback we say “thank you” and please keep it up in 2013.


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