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How Emory University mobilized its card office experience

In a recent entry to NACCU’s Positive IDentity Blog, Emory University’s Kim Pfeffer discussed ways she and the card office staff have improved the customer experience, including taking card issuance out in the field and introducing the idea of a card fee amnesty day. Pfeffer also shared her office’s success story in a video presentation to NACCU members.

The customer service improvements at Emory’s card office have been a long time coming. “At the start of the Fall 2018 semester, the EmoryCard office had hundreds of students and staff waiting an average of 20 minutes in a lobby less than 600 square feet; the longest wait clocked in at 1 hour 36 minutes,” recalls Pfeffer, director of the EmoryCard Office. “There must be a way to get the crowds out of the lobby and bring our services directly to the locations where they are needed most.”

The solution came in the form of EmoryCard’s “mobile unit.”

To address the increase in customer traffic and lengthy wait times, Pfeffer and the EmoryCard staff put together three mobile units that could be easily transported to remote locations across campus. The units, up and running since May 2019, are full card production terminals stocked with laptops, printers, laminators, cameras, backdrops, as well as the miscellaneous wires, power strips, and printing supplies.

The total cost for the three mobile card offices came in at just over $33,000. Even more impressive, the entire mobile operation can be packed into two, rolling Pelican cases that can be handled, set-up and managed by just one staff member.

“As our mobile units run on our campus Wi-Fi, we can bring services directly to orientation programs or host extended pop-ups in our Student Center during move-in, orientation and semester start,” explains Pfeffer. “Between 2018 and 2019, thanks to the mobile units and increased promotion of our online photo upload service, we saved patrons 19 hours of wait time and 13 hours of service time.”

EmoryCard’s mobile units also opened the opportunity to host “Free EmoryCard Day.” A first for the card office, Free EmoryCard Day saw card office issue over 800 replacement cards in one day, free of charge, to students, faculty, and staff.

The mobile units were sidelined in 2020 but Pfeffer and the EmoryCard team brought them back to full capacity in 2021, and the future looks even brighter. “We continue to see a decrease in traffic at our office and an increase in the satisfaction of our customers and campus partners,” says Pfeffer.

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