Baylor Human Resources to Launch Call Center

March 3, 2011
By Randy Fiedler

Baylor faculty and staff with questions about University employment matters will benefit from a new phone-based resource launching this semester.

On April 1, Baylor Human Resources will officially inaugurate its new customer service center, named "askHR." By dialing 710-2000, Baylor employees will be able to talk directly to trained HR staff whose goal is to efficiently handle the large majority of employment-related calls.

"This is a very sophisticated service center with a full-time staff whose primary job is to speak with callers and make sure that their questions are answered," John Whelan, associate vice president for human resources, said. "Our long-term goal is that the askHR staff will be able to answer 80 percent of all HR questions callers might have when they contact us."

The customer service center will be staffed Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., with web-based self-service assistance during other hours. Whelan said they have purchased specialized hardware and software that will allow them to make sure that callers don't get lost in the shuffle.

"Our software provides us a monitoring system designed to track each question that comes in," Whelan said. "We will keep an electronic record of each question we receive, and once that record is created the clock starts ticking. We'll be checking every day to see how fast we are closing out questions and which ones are not yet closed out. There will be accountability for our staff to check and make sure that no request gets lost on someone's desk."

The system handles calls or requests made in person in the order that they come in, meaning that questions left on voice mail should get an equally prompt response.

"Every now and then all of our customer service representatives will be on the phone with callers, so during those times, you might get a recorded voice asking you to leave a message," Whelan said. "However, your recorded messages won't sit there and be saved for the end of the day. They'll be answered along with live calls in the order they came in, meaning that if you leave a message during business hours you should get a call back from us within minutes, instead of at day's end or the next day."

Whelan said the new system is easier to use because callers now can dial one number -- extension 2000 -- and get answers on a wide range of topics. You no longer have to have the name of the person with knowledge of your specific topic. If for some reason a service center staffer is unable to immediately answer a non-routine question, they will research the answer and call back with the correct information, or in some cases provide suggestions about other HR personnel the caller might need to discuss the matter with in more depth.

The customer service center is just one part of a comprehensive reorganization of Baylor Human Resources over the past year designed to make it more efficient and user-friendly.

"We are trying to simplify everyone's experience with HR," Whelan said. "Our goal is to make getting information from us an easy thing to do."

Another goal of the reorganization is to free up HR personnel not involved with the day-to-day duties of the customer service center for long-range planning and organizational troubleshooting roles.

Three recently appointed client relationship managers are developing relationships with academic and administrative areas of the University and will partner with them in coming up with solutions to employment challenges.

"Their function is to build relations with the areas they work with and be attentive to their needs," Whelan said. "They can provide coaching and counseling, and they'll also try and identify HR issues down the road so that we can be proactive with a solution. We'd like to have everyone feel like their client relationship manager is an advocate who understands their business and can help them meet a variety of challenges."

Migdalia Holgersson serves as the client relationship manager for all academic offices and departments under the Provost's Office. Britni Searle is the client relationship manager for the divisions of finance and administration and University development, while the remaining Baylor divisions, including athletics, student life, University Libraries/ITS and University marketing and communications, is served by client relationship manager Janet Melancon.

A third main area of Baylor Human Resources are those personnel identified as "centers of expertise," whose job is to come up with new models and HR systems needed anywhere on campus.

"These people will think strategically and design things, whether that's a new program for performance management, benchmarking compensation plans or doing national comparisons of insurance," Whelan said.

The offices of Baylor Human Resources are located in newly redesigned space on the second floor of Clifton Robinson Tower.
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