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Sherron Stevens

A few weeks into Sherron Stevens’ 2015 spring semester at Columbus, the 19-year-old’s book arrived on Amazon.

As “Undercover Customer: 100 Ways to Fix Your Broken Customer Service” hit the digital book shelves, Stevens was hitting the books in pursuit of his Associate of Science degree.

“I was always ambitious; I always had my eyes open because I always wanted more in life,” said the Springfield native. “I’ll be the first in my family to graduate college, ever.”

To realize his goal, Stevens took advantage of Columbus State’s TRiO program which seeks to assist low income or first generation students via financial assistance, special workshops, tutoring, and advising.

“They walk you through the college process, make sure you’re on the right track, and make sure you’re comfortable with someone on campus – because you can’t really talk to somebody in your family if they’ve never been to college,” Stevens said.

Attaining a degree is only one step in a plan Stevens has been formulating for some time. Stevens is thinking about transferring to Ohio University to finish his education and toured the campus recently. The Associate of Science degree fulfills the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, which can then be completed at a four-year college.

He hopes to start his own business focusing on customer service or manage customer service for a corporation. He might even extend his book into motivational speaking engagements and even a “full blown training program.”

For now, Stevens’ is focused on excelling in class and at work where, at 18, he had the opportunity to meet Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman and CEO of Donatos pizza due to his work ethic. He now works for Chick-fil-A.

The book swiftly delivers page after page of best practices and tactics employees can use to give great customer service – ideas Stevens calls common sense.

“It’s 100 tips that make a huge difference, so it doesn’t need a lot of research. That’s kind of what my point is, it’s simplicity,” Stevens said. “One hundred tips that are simple that most people don’t do on a day-to-day basis; like smile, eye contact, staying connected with the customers.”

Stevens’ perspective comes from past and current experiences working at the cash register. His practical view of life helped inform his decision to attend Columbus State when considering his career plans.

“The quality of education here is awesome. It’s flexible – the instructors really care. They’ll take time out of their busy day to stay after class and help you or be enthusiastic and answer questions when you need help.”

Columbus State’s small class sizes offer the opportunity for more personal contact with instructors. And taking advantage of opportunities is the biggest piece of advice Stevens said he would impart to incoming students.

“Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Why say no? Go do something. You’ve got to take the full experience of college and not just walk in the doors and leave. Meet people, connect with people, find opportunities,” he said.