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Improving Customer Service in Higher Education

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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 a variety of educational products and services that help higher education administrators tackle key, strategic challenges. Since 2002, AI has designed and directed hundreds of conferences and has served representatives from over 3,500 higher education institutions. Besides designing and leading events for cabinet-level officers focused on strategic planning, budgeting, and leadership development, Amit leads Academic Impressions’ ongoing research into the five- and 10 year challenges facing higher education and plays a lead role in outlining each issue of Higher Ed Impact: Monthly Diagnostic to highlight how college and university leaders can take an institution-wide approach to answering those challenges.

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 more than 350 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.