Referring Enquiries and Requests

Enquiry handling

SSiD is one-stop information service that handles general, student related enquiries and requests. On occasions we are unable fully answer an enquiry or meet a request. This is when we need direct someone to a different place or person for information, help, or action, often to a person or group with more knowledge or power.

We refer an enquiry to specialist service  when we have limited information, where we are unsure, or if we do not have the authority to decide or provide information.

When referring student enquiries and requests we also need to consider our internal customers i.e. those individuals, groups and departments who we are referring customers to.

A Referral Procedure

Once you have decided a referral is the appropriate course of action we:

1. Make a statement to the customer about the department/service we are referring to.

2. Explain to the customer why we need to refer the enquiry:

  • That it is not our area of expertise
  • That they will get the correct and complete information and we don’t want to guess or waste their time guessing or searching
  •  It will save their time in the long run because somebody else could solve the problem quicker

3. Express confidence in the department we are referring queries to commenting that:

  • They are the specialists and they have the relevant information
  • They will provide the complete service regarding the issue

4. On occasion we may give the student a referral slip.

This is particularly recommended where the referral is unusual, complicated or you anticipate some confusion when the customers arrives at the destination.

5. If the customer appears hesitant, upset or unsure about the referral we may:

  • Direct the customer to the customer phone so that they can make the initial contact call themselves
  • Offer to contact the department ourselves while the student is still at the desk
  •  Offer to accompany the student-customer to the department, if appropriate, and if you feel comfortable doing so

6. We may give the customer printed information about the department or service to take away with them. If we cannot find appropriate printed material, write down additional information on the referral slip.

Unhappy Student-Customer

If the student is unhappy with being referred to another department or service, we:

  1. Stay calm and try not to take the customer's frustration personally but
  2. Focus instead defensive in working towards finding a solution to the problem.
  3. Listen without interrupting and let the student finish making their point or explaining their concern.
  4. Ask further questions to get a better understanding of the issue being raised.
  5. Summarise the objection from the customers’ point of view to show that we understand the issue.
  6. Avoid blaming anyone else such as another team or department
  7. Emphasise what we can do for the customer rather than what cannot do.
  8. Emphasise the benefits of following the course of action you have suggested
  9. Emphasise the benefits going to another department/service

If we are unable to resolve the matter to the customer's satisfaction, get help from your colleagues.

If the customer does become abusive or unhelpful, direct them to our customer care policy which states: “We expect our customers to treat us with courtesy, using appropriate language and behaviour which cannot be construed as racist, sexist or abusive,”

Scott Castle
12 July 2006
latest update 1 February 2018