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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
A newsletter header image with an image of Dan Bollman behind the title 'The Details with Dan Bollman'

The customer really is king (or queen)!

December 4, 2015

“The customer is always right.” If you’ve been in a position where you interacted with customers, you’ve probably heard this AND you’ve probably had times when you thought, “Baloney!” or something worse. We all have our customer horror stories.

Don’t most of us also have a story or two of not being able to give the customer the best experience possible? Right now you might be thinking about a process at IPF that seems to get in the way of providing a customer experience that is as fast, accurate, uncomplicated and budget-friendly
as possible.

Whatever that “gets-in-the-way” process is, we need to examine it as part of the second strategic objective: improve the customer experience by strengthening key IPF processes. Think about your customer interactions. Are there things you find yourself apologizing for? As in, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to fill out another service request for that.” If you feel you have to apologize to a customer, it’s time to stop and look at what we ask customers to do.

This involves working collaboratively so that customers don’t feel like they are getting passed around like a bag of chips! We already see this collaboration in PDC with the introduction of project managers who will see projects through from start to finish. It also involves getting past, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” thinking. Questions like “Why?” and “Can we do this better?” have to be asked again and again if we’re really going to strengthen key processes and improve the experience customers have with us.

We all work directly with our campus customers and are critical for moving the needle on this strategic objective. It is up to all of us to give our customers the kind of IPF experience they deserve.

IPF is a big place that does lots of things. That’s all the more reason to have streamlined, common-sense processes that give customers the sensation of stepping into a well-kept garden instead of a maze. If we want to make sure that the customer actually is right, let’s provide easy-to-follow processes for him or her to follow.

I said this last time, but it bears repeating. Get involved by being active in action planning. Talk to your supervisor, business leader or someone on the Advisory or Strategy teams about your ideas. Put something in the suggestion box in your building or submit something through the online suggestion box on the front page of the Hub under Quick links. As always, you can send me your thoughts through

Until next time,


P.S. Have something you want to share, suggest or complain about? Send it to