It takes a particular set of skills — empathy, patience, tenacity, and knowledge, to name a few — to provide first-rate customer service in any organization; skills that Virginia Tech employee Debbie Duncan has consistently demonstrated throughout her 36 years with the university.
As a financial reporting manager in the Office of Planning and Business Services, Duncan serves as a reference point for employees and supports the office through financial reporting and analysis. She is known by her peers for her altruistic spirit, positive attitude, and professional courtesy.
In recognition of her commitment to serving others, Duncan is one of six Virginia Tech employees nominated in 2016 to represent the university in the statewide Governor’s Award program. She was nominated in the customer service award category. The winners were announced in May.
“Debbie has a positive, can-do approach, and a genuine interest in helping people get the information and advice to get their job done,” said Frank Shushok, senior associate vice president for student affairs. “I find her dedication to the department staff, students, and the university to be of the highest quality.”
Duncan interacts with all levels of employees and students on a daily basis, offering ample opportunities to provide exceptional customer service. Her day-to-day responsibilities include providing financial reports and developing special reports as requested, as well as tracking, analyzing, and reconciling transactions to ensure their proper recording.
“All are treated to superior customer service to provide a satisfactory result in an expedient manner,” said Craig Gelbert, director for planning and operations. “Some inquires are simple in nature, while others require Debbie’s creative thinking skills to determine what departments or systems are needed to respond to the inquiry. It doesn’t matter if the inquiry needs an answer in an hour or a week, Debbie treats all of them with the utmost courtesy.”
Duncan constantly displays her unwavering commitment and willingness to go above and beyond to complete a task. She has been instrumental in converting in-house systems to Banner. This has allowed her to fully utilize the power of Banner to create reports in a timelier and more efficient manner; reports that are essential for decision-making regarding the operations of departments within her division.
Duncan now provides these reports to managers on the first of each calendar month, when previously they wouldn’t receive the data until the second or third week of the month.
She also lends a helping hand to her colleagues and takes on additional tasks when needed, including during a time when one of the division’s departments was down two employees.
“I had to quickly figure out the day-to-day operations, which included funds handling and financial transactions that I knew at a high level, but didn’t know the minutiae of the daily activities,” said Kenneth Belcher, senior associate director for housing services. “Debbie was quick to train and to take on some additional tasks so that we could more easily track payments and respond quickly to customer inquiries.”
While Duncan has held many positions throughout her 36 years with the university, each has involved providing exceptional customer service. She began her career at Virginia Tech in Facilities in 1980, serving in physical plant, the university architect’s office, and Virginia Tech Electric Service. She then worked in the bursar’s office from 1989-2008, when she transitioned into her current position in the Office of Planning and Business Services.
According to Belcher, it is Duncan’s personality and demeanor that set her customer service skills apart from others.
“She has never complained, but welcomed my hundreds of questions and was immediately responsive every time I showed up at her doorway with a stack of paperwork riddled with post-it note questions attached,” said Belcher.
Written by Katie Huger, employee communications manager.