How Students Serve Up ‘Goodwill’ with a Hint of Education

Posted by on September 18, 2013

Those who have a career in customer service related positions are some of the most patient and helpful employees, as they are expected to assist customers in a variety of ways. Students in the Customer Service Strategies class at Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville were able to experience the life of a customer service professional firsthand while working with the local Goodwill in Lakeville.

Goodwill is a nonprofit organization with more than 2,700 retail stores throughout the United States and Canada. The organization’s mission reads: Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.

Minnesota School of Business

Students in Customer Service Strategies class complete an applied learning project at the Lakeville Goodwill.

While visiting Goodwill, our students learned that the organization’s retail stores sell donated items such as clothing, furniture, household items, toys and more. The students were able to put the skills they are learning in class to work, while carrying out tasks for the stores and assisting customers. The store replaces unsold items with new items after a week. As part of their service, the students took unsold items off the shelves to make room for other items.

“The experience with Goodwill was great for the students in Customer Service Strategies because it provided an opportunity to practice necessary traits of a successful customer service employee,” Minnie Wagner, business and healthcare management program chair, said. “While working on the sales floor, the students were able to assist customers with their questions.”

In addition to providing information to the customers, students displayed active listening, an important part of communication in any business setting. Because most of the students were unfamiliar with the Goodwill location, they had to listen to instructions from the Goodwill staff to ensure they completed their tasks properly.

The applied learning project with Goodwill adds to the list of great community partners who offer our students a chance to apply important skills in a real-world manner.

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