Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Why Should I Care About Customer Service?

Two simple reasons- students care about it and they act on it. So, if you are in admissions, population management or have any budgetary concerns, or reading the question and nodding as if to say “Yuh why should I care? That’s touchy feely foolishness that businesses talk about. This is not some retail store after all. This is a college, an academic environment, not a business.”

You may want to brush off your resume. If service is not a top priority throughout the school, it may have a tough time making enrollment and retention goals. And if population goals are not met, fiscal objectives cannot be met. And, everyone has to be concerned about the school’s fiscal condition. Lost revenue can mean frozen or lost positions, budget cuts, postponed equipment, defrayed maintenance, decreased levels of maintenance… Bottom line, more work and less money.

Quick momentary reality check. Right now, many of you are looking at the population projections for next semester. Some of you are happy. You'll hit your goals. But from the phone calls I have been receiving, many colleges are concerned that their numbers may not hold or even if they do… They aren’t quite good enough.

For them and even for the successful schools, would an additional 12% increase in potential enrollment have helped? That is the percentage of enrollment lost in the enrollment process due to perceived weaknesses in your customer service. Research shows that 12% of potential enrollment is lost as soon as a potential student who had indicated an inclination to attend makes direct contact with the college.

These are enrollments the school had – but lost. All the hard work was done and the money spent to attract the students. Then they came into contact with the campus and…..It could been an additional 12% initial enrollment with just a bit additional attention to customer service for students and staff.

Would an additional 12% make for easier meetings with your staff, colleagues, supervisors, Board members…. Twelve percent more?

Take your projected enrollment, multiple it by 12%. Than multiply that number by tuition cost. That number, those revenues are not touchy feely. That is a clear statement about the value of customer service at the college now.

And not to scare anyone, but customer service will have a 72% affect on your ability to retain the students the school just worked so hard to bring in. Seventy-two percent! You do the math.


Anonymous said...

Great stuff. I am going to share it with the entire college. Do you do workshops to help colleges improve their customer service?

Anonymous said...

This is utterly amazing stuff. Just absolutely "on the mark." You talk plain sense in a time of verbal overkill.

Anonymous said...


I am always impressed with the depth of your knowledge about education. Very on-target and no BS. Time for you to write another book and give Malcom Gladwell a run for his money!