As George Mason University offices transitioned to a remote work environment in response to COVID-19, offices with significant walk-in traffic faced a difficult dilemma. How could they continue to provide excellent service, while protecting both the students and their frontline staff?
The Mason Student Services Center in SUB I provides one-stop assistance to an average of 200 students per day, and serves as the front-facing service area for the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Student Accounts, among others.
Through quick and creative use of technology, such as Salesforce, the university’s constituent relationship management system, remote student service began March 17.
“It was critical that the experience for students was seamless,” said Matthew Boyce, executive director of enrollment management at Mason. “For the health, safety and well-being of our students, as well as our staff, we needed to move quickly to this service model.”
Students can now submit their questions for any of these departments at mssccheckin.gmu.edu. Staff members receive instant alerts when a request is filed and can connect to students by email, phone or Webex.
The Office of Admissions quickly followed suit to provide an easy transition for the thousands of prospective students served by their staff, both in Fairfax and across the country.
“For all of our students—but particularly graduating high school seniors—their world has been upended and it’s incredibly stressful,” said Dean of Admissions Amy Takayama-Perez. “It was important to us to eliminate any barriers to students and parents getting the answers they need to make college decisions.”
Prospective students can easily reach an admissions counselor using the admissions-specific form at admissionscheckin.gmu.edu.
In addition, both MSSC and Office of Admissions expect to launch a web chat tool soon that will give students and parents another option for connecting with their offices.
“Virtual service has allowed us to adapt quickly,” said Boyce, “and will remain an important tool even after we are able to resume face-to face operations.”