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Service standards in HE

 

Dilruk De Silva

Business Development Manager, South Asia at London School of Business & Finance

Are the Universities servicing students better? There is no clear answer can be given for the question. But could distinguish between the contrast between public sector and private sector. Where the latter, trying hard to retain students and build good impression among students the other lag behind due to various factors.

Public sectors HE should re-focus on retaining students rather than anxiously waiting the newly elected government policy changes.  Students contribute to the institution through positive word of mouth hence all the contact centers (i.e. student service department, accommodation support, welfare, program management office) at HE institution must do a synchronizing act and approach students in a friendly and honest way. These contact centers act as the face of the HE institution and for external parties and students it represents the institution as a whole.  Students contribute through positive word of mouth, which is much more influential than any marketing or promotional tool. It helps automatically yet gradually to build reputed brand of HE institution contrary, destroys the whole image and making is harder for the marketing and recruitment teams to attract students.  More often than or not students seeks multiple levels of information before taking up the decision to study, hence insights from existing students often has greater weight in the student decision making process.

Sadly though, many of the students I talked to and met during last couple of months said that the contact centers (i.e. student service department, accommodation support, welfare, program management office) had no intention of genuinely attending to their issues. Given the option to describe in one word the whole experience most come up with “hopeless”, “useless” and some then used the facial expressionsL.

This happens due to many reasons listed below;

  • Often don’t wants to go the extra mile
  • Happy with what they do on daily basis, love for the repetition of work
  • “Ignorance is the way to go” attitude. Many international students mother tongue is not English and that lack of communication skills taken manipulate or justify the staff’s ignorance
  • Subconsciousness that HE institution is government funded and therefore institution is protected and very well placed

Issue is HE institutions or Universities has to appreciate the significance of excellent customer service.  Service standards not only applicable to marketing, recruitment or sales teams, but it has significance important to all the departments and divisions within the HE institution whoever has in touch with external stake holders or students.

Small genuine gestures towards students could make huge difference to the way they look at the system and the institution. Staff needs to be reminded and trained to provides the best service and give explanation as to why if somethings could not be done rather than a mere NO.

© Dilruk De Silva


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