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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Service Excellence takes an extra mile

April 12, 2018

Last month, I invited you to share great stories. I got an excellent one from Tim Potter about the MSU Bikes Service Center. He wrote:

I was delighted to receive this Google review recently. Kudos to Larry Lentz (our shop manager) who helped get this young mother back on the road so quickly!

“MSU Bikes was able to service two BOB jogging strollers for me in under an hour! They had warned me turn-over time could change depending on traffic through the store, but they were incredibly efficient. Everyone was incredibly nice to my 1 year-old daughter that I brought with me, even helping me to keep her entertained with bike bells. Great experience. I will not only use them again but I would definitely recommend them to friends and family!!”

This is a great example highlighting one of our key values: service excellence.

What made it successful? We followed a few key steps:

  1. Figure out what the customer wants – both what they say they want, service two jogging strollers, and what might also benefit them: help me to keep my daughter entertained.
  2. Get it for them: accurately, politely and enthusiastically. We were incredibly efficient, and provided important information: turn-over time could change.
  3. Go the extra mile. It doesn’t take much to be incredibly nice to my 1 year-old daughter. The return on that simple expression of care was tremendous.

It’s possible to follow this recipe for great customer service in a lot of what we do. I learned these steps in a seminar last summer: The Art of Giving Great Service, presented by Zingerman’s. We can learn from them, even though our business is very different.

Why is it worth spending time and energy on service excellence?

It’s because we want all of our customers to become partners.

We have hundreds of customers every day across campus: people who decide to invest resources in IPF’s services. Over time, they develop an opinion of us based on how we treat them. If we treat them well, they see us as partners.

My hope and goal is for us to become trusted advisors to our campus partners. They’ll turn to us for deeper understanding, with confidence that we’ll steer them in the best direction. When we go the extra mile, we show our commitment to the university’s mission. We do our part to advance knowledge and transform lives.

All the best,


One final thought: If you read the idea behind Zingerman’s recipe for great service closely, it sounds a lot like mapping our key business processes in Promapp. How’s that going for you? Send me a note at