Ask the Students
Instinctively, you may want to answer “yes” to that question. You are a college president, supervisor, or director that wants your students to be taken care of. You have mentioned it several times in staff meetings. You send email reminders to staff and supervisors about what great service does for a college. You know that your institution provides excellent service to everyone you interact with…. but how can you be absolutely sure that you are providing great service? Ask.
Student Service Is Subjective
Don’t ask your employees or lower managers. The only person that can tell you whether or not your company is providing great service to students is the student. Student service is subjective. It is like beauty or a fine wine. Customer service is in the eye of the beholder, and it is important for your college to service your students the way that they want to be serviced and not the way you want to service them. Understanding that customer service is an interaction where two parties have different subjective views of the interaction is the first step to understanding if your students feel like you are providing great service.
Nobody Wants to Provide Bad Customer Service
I have never heard of a person or company that wants to provide bad customer service. No company on the planet has in the mission statement “to not service the customer well” or “to provide horrible customer service,” and yet, there are a lot of companies providing bad customer service. They may not even realize it because they have never asked their customers for feedback. Viewing every transaction through the lens of the employee will leave you scratching your head when a complaint is submitted. Have you ever gotten a complaint and thought “there is just no pleasing some people?” That might be true with that specific student, but there is a way to provide great service that makes a student feel valued while still not giving the student exactly what they want. The customer is not always right, but there is a way to tell them that they are wrong with dignity.
If you finally undertake the process of surveying your students, there are two possible outcomes:
- You may find out that your institution is providing great customer service which is a testament to your employees and the culture of your company. Bravo! Well done! or
- You may find out that you are providing good or poor service to your students and hopefully want to improve.
(I suppose you may find that you are providing bad service and don’t really care to improve, but that would be a mistake as every article published in the past 10 years says that poor service experiences is the number 1 reason that customers take their business to another company.)
In part two of this series, I’ll give you three steps to take to improve the service you provide.
If you need assistance surveying your students or want to discuss how to improve your customer service, please contact the Higher Education Assistance Group.