One of the biggest complaints I hear from students on college campuses is that they feel like they are just a number, they don’t feel they are recognized as being a live human being. What promotes this feeling? While visiting various colleges I listened to a variety of departments and the first thing I would hear from the staff to a student was “May I have your student ID?” or “What’s your ID#”, or “I need your ID #”. No wonder a student would walk away with this feeling!
There is no other word as important to a person as is their own name. One way you can make a student feel important is to call them by name. Start by giving your name first to make them feel more comfortable. For example, “Hi, my name is Teri, what’s your name?” Once they have given their name, USE it! “Joe, so I can look up your records, could I have your student id#?” At the end of the conversation, use their name again in closing. For example, “I’m glad to have been able to help you Joe, have a great semester.” There is nothing that will personalize a transaction more than the use of one’s name.
I remember the first job I had while I was a student going to college and working part-time for a very large company that had thousands of employees. I learned in orientation that everyone was on a first name basis no matter what title or position they held. It was a tradition that started with the founder of the company who said from day one that every customer was to be treated as a guest and every employee was important. Just “call me Walt” was how he introduced himself to all he met. Today that tradition is still carried on so that millions of guests never feel like they are simply a transaction, but a special guest. Has that approach paid off? Consider Walt Disney World is the number one vacation destination in the world.
Perhaps students would be more apt to stay at your college if they felt more like a human with a name vs. simply an ID#.