Working with the public 2013
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  • 1. Know how. Know now. Working With the Public Elizabeth Killinger UNL Extension- Hall County 308-385-5088 ekillinger2@unl.edu
  • 2. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Working with the Public  Things to Remember  Tips for Quality Customer Service  Methods for Receiving Questions  Finding Answers  Asking for Help  Practice Exercise
  • 3. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Dealing with the Public  Dealing with these taxpaying, stockholding customers is the same as any other service job.  Offering them good service is the best way to get repeat customers.
  • 4. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Dealing with the Public  Our product is information. We extend information derived from the research-based university.  Our customers have confidence in the reliability and credibility of our information.  This confidence is the foundation upon which the Extension Service is built.
  • 5. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Remember…  University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not discriminate. We offer services without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veterans status  UNL Extension offers impartial Research-based information and include all options
  • 6. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. A Quality Customer Service Experience A quality customer service provider is a person who: 1. Accepts responsibility for providing timely customer service in a courteous manner 2. Understands that the success of an organization depends on good customer service 3. Learns and practices customer service skills in a positive manner
  • 7. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Things to Remember Are customers always right? Of course not, but they always have rights.  They have the right to courteous treatment, a response based on respect, and an honest answer, even if the answer is “I don‟t know.” It is reasonable for them to expect us to research the question and formulate the best answer in a timely manner. Our customers do not have the right to abuse you or to be discourteous.  If you do not feel comfortable handling a question or responding to an individual, refer the question or the person to an Extension staff member.
  • 8. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Methods of Receiving Questions  Phone  Walk-in  Questions in passing
  • 9. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Phone Questions  Can be difficult due to no visual clues  Listening carefully is important, follow up questions may be needed  Every time a phone call is made or received as a Master Gardener, Extension is being represented.  The impression created is a lasting one and may be the determining factor as to whether or not the person will call or come back
  • 10. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Phone  Learn how to use the phone ahead of time  Hold the phone directly in front of your mouth  Answer the phone with „A smile in your voice‟  Listen closely to the client  Provide the best experience possible  Be sure to thank the client for calling, invite them to call back again if they have any questions
  • 11. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Phone Questions  Actively listen to the clients problem entirely without interrupting  Restate the issue as you have heard it for clarification  Follow up questions may be needed, ask either open or closed questions depending on the situation
  • 12. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Phone Questions Examples of follow-up questions  When did you first notice the problem?  How many plants or how much of the plant is affected?  Where on the plant are you noticing the issue?  Where is the plant located in the landscape?  Do you have supplemental irrigation?  What is your lawn maintenance program like?  How many insects are there?  Where are you noticing the insects?  What do the insects look like?
  • 13. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Phone Questions  If the answer is known  Relay the information to them and be sure to tell them ALL of the options  If the answer isn‟t known right away, ask for a sample or photo.  Take their name, number, and mailing address and tell them you will call them back or mail them the information once you know what it is Make it clear we don‟t share client information  If you need to put them on hold, ask for their permission and wait for a response
  • 14. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Samples Brought In  Determine what information the client wants and the best way to communicate with them  Listen closely to the client  Restate the issue for clarification  Ask follow up questions to gather more information  Utilize resources that are available for you for identifying the problem or sample  If you don‟t know right away, ask the client for their contact information, and follow up in a timely manner
  • 15. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Questions in Passing  Can be a slippery slope  Are they asking you the question as „you‟ or as „you the Master Gardener‟? If they are just having conversations with „you‟ feel free to give you opinion If they are asking „you the Master Gardener‟ remember you are representing the University and to follow those guidelines  It takes time to know which hat to wear
  • 16. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Pesticide Recommendations  The University is an impartial 3rd party  Try to give the client the active ingredient; then give examples LIKE… Glyphosate, a product like Round-Up or complete weed killer… Give multiple examples if they are available  Utilize the herbicide guide if needed
  • 17. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Finding Information  If you utilize the internet, gather the information from educational resources (ending in .edu) Start searching in UNL, if an answer isn‟t found at the UNL site, try another Extension site from the region, KS, MO, ND, SD… before going to others like Ohio State or Cornell  If you utilize a book, make sure it is 1. Recent or up-to-date 2. Makes similar recommendations of the University
  • 18. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Examples of Good Print Resources  Master Gardener Notebook  Integrated Turfgrass Management for the Northern Great Plains, EC97-1557  Guide for Weed Management, EC 130  Landscape Diagnostic Guide for Problems Affecting Woody Ornamentals and Herbaceous Perennials, EC 1260
  • 19. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Examples of Good Web Resources  Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management- http://icwdm.org/handbook/index.aspx#rod  Web Link for NebGuides- http://ianrpubs.unl.edu
  • 20. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Asking for Help Sometimes help is needed for problem solving or identifying the problem  Good photos aid in proper identification  Proper sampling techniques ensure good samples for further testing
  • 21. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Taking a Good Insect Photo  Make sure the insect is either still, not moving, or dead. Insects can be frozen for 15 min.  Place the insect on a piece of paper where they can stand out.  Provide a ruler or other item for a scale  Use plenty of light  Get as close as you can to the insect  Make sure the photo is in focus  Take several shots before uploading to the computer.
  • 22. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Taking a Good ID photo  Make sure the specimen is either still, not moving, or dead.  If the sample is brought in, place it on a piece of paper where they can stand out.  Provide a ruler or other item for a scale  Make sure the photo is in focus  Take several shots before uploading to the computer.  Try not to shoot photos into the sun.  Plant material- take close ups, and distant photos
  • 23. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Sending in a Sample  Send several whole plants, roots and all that represent all stages of the symptoms being expressed (when possible). Often what appears to be a leaf problem can be a root-related problem.  Include "normal" plants from the area near the symptomatic plants for comparison.  Enclose the root ball in a plastic bag to keep the soil from touching the leaves.  Place entire plant sample in a plastic bag to reduce drying with dry paper towels.
  • 24. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Sending in a Sample  Providing the following information allows more accurate diagnosis:  Planting Date  Symptom Description  How many plants in the area are affected  What is the symptom distribution (sunny spots, edge of planting, scattered plants, etc)  Fill out "Submission Form" and include it with the sample.
  • 25. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Lawn Samples  Before applying any pesticides, cut a 4” X 4” square or a 6” diameter circle from your lawn at the edge between the healthy green and the brown or affected area, including the roots and soil  Completely dead grass does nothing  Wrap the sample in paper towels or newspaper and place immediately in a closeable plastic bag to keep any insects in the sample and to keep the sample fresh.  The blades should still be attached to the runners and make sure the sample grass is not completely dead.
  • 26. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Lawn Samples  DO NOT ADD WATER, excessive moisture can cause rapid deterioration of the sample  Provide background information; when the symptoms first appeared, variety, chemical history, patter & distribution of problems. Pictures of symptoms can be helpful  Place wrapped sample tightly in a box to prevent soil from dislodging.  Ship early in the week (Mon-Wed)
  • 27. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Woody Plant Sample  Collect samples from a branches that are showing symptoms but are not dead  Canker Samples: include portion of the branch broader between discolored and healthy bark  Dutch Elm Disease, Oak Wilt, or Verticillium wilt: branch specimens should consist of 4-6 pieces, with each piece measuring 6-8” long and ½-1” diameter  Pine Wilt: wedge-shaped sample of wood from the lower trunk or base of large lower limbs that is a minimum 1” thick. Branch from affected area that is a minimum of ½” in diameter and 6-8” long
  • 28. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Woody Plant Sample  Provide background information; when the symptoms first appeared, variety, chemical history, patter & distribution of problems. Pictures of symptoms can be helpful
  • 29. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Insect Samples  Soft-bodied Specimens: place in a tight-sealing bottle with a liquid preservative like alcohol or vinegar  Hard-bodied Specimens: wrap in loose tissue and place in a crush proof container  Living Specimens: place with the host plant or damaged material along with loose tissue into a ventilated container.  Do not: tape specimens to paper, place loose insects in envelopes, or use water or formaldehyde as a preservative
  • 30. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. There are times…
  • 31. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Practice Time!  Use what you have learned to answer questions and identify the problems.  Split into pairs- one is the client, one is the Master Gardener Clients can „call in‟ (ask the question without showing the photo) or „walk in‟ with a photo or sample Master Gardeners will answer the questions or identify the problems Use the resources that are available for you  Swap roles and „questions‟ or samples with others
  • 32. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Know how. Know now. Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension educational programs abide with the nondiscrimination policies of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the United States Department of Agriculture.