Higher Ed Impact

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Improving Customer Service in Higher Education


Articles in this Issue

Diagnosing the Barriers to Improving Customer Service
Improving Your Enrollment Services
Improving Your Academic Support Services
Identifying Academic Policies and Procedures that Impede Student Success

Letter from Amit Mrig, President, Academic Impressions

There is a growing recognition in higher education that improving customer service is a critical step to ensuring students’ momentum toward a degree and to improving student persistence.

Yet, surveying professionals at 79 post-secondary institutions, we found that over half would grade their school with a “C” or lower letter grade for customer service. Customer service expectations from both students and parents continue to increase, and it is increasingly critical to meet that demand with a strong commitment to developing a culture of service.

Meeting the demand for improved service does not have to entail sacrificing the rigor of your institution’s policies and procedures because the core standards of effective service have little to do with promoting “customer satisfaction.” Instead, what matters most is responsiveness, efficiency, clear communication, and conflict management.

We asked past and current presidents, vice presidents, and department heads in student services and enrollment management to speak to the major barriers to improving customer service — including the “silo” structure of support services, inefficient policies and procedures, and staff training needs — and how these barriers can best be addressed. We hope their advice will be useful to you.

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About the Authors

Amit Mrig, President and CEO

Amit co-founded Academic Impressions in 2002 to provide research, publishing, and training on issues that directly impact the sustainability of higher education. Under his direction, AI has published hundreds of articles and papers, interactive training programs, and topical and timely webcasts, serving over 50,000 academic and administrative leaders across 3,500 colleges and universities.

Amit leads and manages AI’s research, programming, and publications on higher ed leadership development. Many of AI’s research and thought leadership papers have been authored by Amit, including The Other Higher Ed Bubble, Small but Mighty: 4 Small Colleges Thriving in a Disruptive Environment, General Education Reform: Unseen Opportunities, and Meeting the Challenge of Program Prioritization.

Amit has consulted with dozens of higher ed leaders, cabinet members, and board members—discussing current challenges and practical solutions while helping to identify which issues they can address to best impact change at their institution. Amit is a frequent contributor to Forbes, discussing issues in higher education. He also serves as an active board member of The Challenge Foundation, an organization helping low-income students successfully earn a college degree.

Daniel Fusch, Director of Publications & Research

Daniel provides strategic direction and content for AI’s electronic publication Higher Ed Impact, including market research and interviews with leading subject matter experts on critical issues. Since the publication’s launch in 2009, Daniel has written or edited more than 500 articles on strategic issues ranging from student recruitment and retention to development and capital planning. If you have a question or a comment about this article, feel free to contact Daniel at daniel@academicimpressions.com.