Faces of Nelnet: Bruce Ericksen, Outreach Advisor, Nelnet School Service Center
Jodi Miller: What does “superior customer service” mean to you?
Bruce Ericksen: Superior customer service means that first and foremost you do the right thing; and second of all, you do everything in your power to take care of the end-line affected person. If you do that, then all affected parties will be taken care of.
Jodi: Please describe a typical day for you.
Bruce: A typical day for the School Service Center Outreach Team (SSCO) starts out with a review of the previous day’s contacts along with a review of the day’s current contact list. Prior to starting our outreach activity, we “put our heads together” and analyze the successes and failures of the previous day’s activity. During our calls, we request updated contact information from the various school financial aid departments, to make sure that Nelnet has up-to-date and accurate contact information. As a result, we can then provide necessary opportunities, advisories, and updates to the schools. Based on our conversations, we also analyze and determine new outreach campaign opportunities.
The SSCO team also provides overflow relief for the inbound SSC team and will field calls as necessary to help schools with status inquiries and borrower account resolution.
Jodi: How does your job provide the greatest impact on Financial Aid offices?
Bruce: Our biggest impact, at this time, is in relationship building. Oddly enough, in light of how long Nelnet has been around, there are still a lot of schools that don’t know who we are and what we do. We have the opportunity to introduce Nelnet and to offer the schools information on tools that Nelnet provides for their use to enhance their financial aid programs.
Jodi: What has been your biggest work-related challenge during the past six months?
Bruce: The biggest challenge for the SSCO team is that schools who are unfamiliar with Nelnet perceive us to be a 3rd-party default management company or a telemarketing call center. This type of challenge impedes our chances of helping schools make their job easier.
Jodi: Describe one of your most memorable interactions with a customer.
Bruce: As an employee of Nelnet, I’ve had many great interactions with customers; from the Default Management team, to the CUnet team, and now as a member of the School Service Center team. The important thing for me is that the next call that comes in is the “most memorable interaction”. As long as I approach calls in that fashion, then the person on the other end of the line will get superior customer service, and we will enhance our relationship with that school.
Jodi: Tell me about your favorite vacation experience.
Bruce: I had the good fortune to travel to St> Maarten in the Lesser Antilles. The laid-back lifestyle, the wonderful weather, and the gorgeous Caribbean island setting made for a truly relaxing vacation.
Jodi: What are you most looking forward to doing this summer?
Bruce: In July, I’m going on a mission trip to Honduras with members of my church. We’re going down on a ‘building’ mission to assist in building homes for people that are currently living in dilapidated shacks. We are also going to build chicken coops to assist in sustainable nutrition/income opportunities for the villagers. We are also going to lay the groundwork for building a school in the center of the village, so the children of the village will have a real school in which to learn. Lastly, we will put on a medical fair to help educate the villagers on ways to become healthier.
Jodi: If you could describe yourself with one word, what would it be?
Bruce: Analytical – I enjoy the analysis of the requests we receive, the campaigns we design, and the problems we solve. I also enjoy the “de-briefing” and post campaign analysis that we do in determining what benefit we can provide to schools to aid them in their efforts.