Monday, August 27, 2012

Why Students Are More Irritating Today

I keep receiving reports that students seem more irritated,less patient, quicker to anger and less tolerant these days. That makes it tougher to work with them and help them. Though we may all realize that a student’s anger and even insults are not personal, they sure feel personal. This is especially so since students keep using that second person pronoun “you” since they believe you are the school when they speak or even may curse at you.

They see you as the representative of that cold, impersonal money grubbing abstract “’the college” that has caused some disaster in their otherwise imperfect life. They have not learned how to separate the particulars from the universal. And when they are talking to you, you are a true representative of the college. As such, you equal the entire collection of bricks, mortar, people, rules and offices that is the university. So, at that moment, in that encounter, the student believes you are responsible for any wrong done; especially is the wrong may have been committee by the office that underpays you.

Thus when he or she is snide, nasty or even shouts and curses at you, that action is not really at you but as you as a symbol of the college - unless you have done something to call for it. Yes it is irrational and even misplaced but it is real because the student is feeling some hurt or harm.

(The following is excerpted from The Power of Retention) Social critics and we in higher education have found the general lack of civility in our culture also exists on our campuses. This should be no surprise. The people who live in our Happy Bunny “It’s all about me” culture are our students and even some of our employees. They are our faculty, administrators and lo and behold, they are also us. 

As Walt Kelly had his cartoon character Pogo put it so well back in the 60’s We have met the enemy and they are us. The people who attend and work at our schools are the exact same people in the exact same culture we think we have left behind when we enter the retreat for intellectual and academic pursuit we know as a college campus. But what we find is that what attitudes apply in the so-called real world outside of academia also apply on a college campus. 

This reality can also explain differences in the ways we perceive and act toward one another. Our students come from a cultural group that has been immersed in a cynical, smart mouth me first attitude which has eliminated most of what older America grew up knowing as social civilities and courtesies. The Captain Kangaroo/Mister Rogers world of please, thank you and general polite regard for one another has been replaced by a hip-hop attitude that revels and condones a general rude incivility toward one another. Radio shock jocks use language and casually discuss topics on the radio some of our generation may well be taken aback by and even find anti-intellectual or uncivil. Language that might have been thought of as anti-social and rebellious is now everyday colloquial use in casual discussion even in classrooms and offices. Attitudes that would have been unacceptable and considered rude such as taking a phone call in class or napping during lectures have become the norm according to many faculty members.
Our parents and their parents and theirs all the way back to Young Socrates in the Platonic dialogues had difficulty understanding and accepting the current younger generation’s music, hair, language, attitudes, mores, actions. Each generation knew the student group was more out of control than the last.

Or as Paul Lind put it for our parents and grandparents about us in Bye Bye Birdy
I don’t know what’s wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They are so ridiculous and immature!
I don’t see why anybody wants ‘em!... Kids! They are just impossible to control!.... Why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way way? Oh,what’s the matter with kids today?
Actually, there is a difference in kids today. More than in the past perhaps and that is causing some service clashes on campus. We, the boomer and yuppie generations taught them too well. We encouraged them to take the next step in being more rebellious, more anti-authority, discourteous, disrespectful and become self-centered, demanding. 

In a large sense, we created the college students we encounter. Our generations rebelled against authority and carried that forward by replacing much of the processes of etiquette with a sense of privilege for the next generations. They were taught that they are as good as anyone else. You can be anything they wish to be. Don’t let anyone tell you no. Age is not necessarily an indicator that a person warrants politeness or respect. On the one hand, students were inculcated with a media and marketing liturgy of their importance in the quest for class-free equality. The motto of “don’t trust anyone over thirty” has continued though the age threshold has dropped to anyone older than oneself. We also turned them into cultural and consumer cynics as we taught them not to trust advertising, marketing or promotional media. Unfortunately for colleges that cynicism does extend to the marketing they do. As a result, we created the consumer mentality we not find so offensive when a student tells us “hey, I’m paying for your salary.” 

Additionally, technology has allowed the members of the current college student generation to isolate themselves from the larger community thereby greatly reducing the many social and face-to-face interactions one needs to learn social and cultural mores, codes and folkways. The Educause Center for Applied Research reported in 2008 that 80.3 percent of college students report using social networking sites regularly, up from 72.3% in 2006. The social networking sites are also the most used of all sites on the web attracting the largest amount of the average 16 hours of web browsing and usage per week. The social networks of YouTube, My Space, Hi5, Facebook, Friendster, chat rooms, download pirating networks like The Pirate Bay and Mininova allow students to be in a community without any need to ever be with someone physically. These communities have different mores, traditions, codes as well as greater tolerance for negative or boorish behavior than the analog world of higher education found on the campuses of colleges, universities or even career colleges where behavioral codes can be a bit more lenient. Emails also permit the student generation to communicate with others without ever having to deal with in live, face-to-face interaction.

As a result, they learn social codes that can tolerate anti-social behavior such as flaming. Wikipedia defines flaming as
…the hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users. Flaming usually occurs in the social context of a discussion board, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) or even through e-mail. An Internet user typically generates a flame response to other posts or users posting on a site, and such a response is usually not constructive, does not clarify a discussion, and does not persuade others. Sometimes, flamers attempt to assert their authority, or establish a position of superiority over other users. Other times, a flamer is simply an individual who believes he or she carries the only valid opinion. This leads him or her to personally attack those who disagree.
Flaming is not always tolerated on all websites or networks but it is common enough to be found on most interactive or participatory sites. Moreover, people can feel quite at ease with full freedom to flame without concern for retaliation since they can hide behind a user name or the oft used moniker anonymous that does not directly identify them in analog life. As a result of this anonymity flaming, bullying and an assertive nastiness that would not be well tolerated in a real face-to-face social interaction can be common. Furthermore, a communication problem can arise for student communicators when after either participating in or reading enough flaming messages the aggressive and mostly anonymous communication behavior transfers into real life interactions. Students do not necessarily learn or acquire the socialization needed to learn in person inter-personal skills. This lack of social communication skill development certainly limits them with the normative variations in successful inter-generational interactions. This can account for some of the clashes found in working with uneducated communicators and even trying to assist them on campus. Students with weak communication skills just may not know how to communicate appropriately with campus community members of a different age and role.

Technology is only one contributing factor that has blurred the distinctions between what the sociologist Erving Goffman described so well as front and backstage performances in his classic book Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. (1967) Goffman describes the social world of communication events as happening as if they were on a performance stage of a society. He divides the stage into its two major locations of front stage and back stage. As in a play, front stage is where the actors perform their formal roles. They are aware they are being observed and judged by the audience so they play the proscribed part. In society, front stage performers are aware they are being observed and thus perform using socially and culturally proscribed roles and language acceptable to the role they are playing and to the audience listening to it. For example, when a faculty member steps before a class to lecture, he or she does so using tone, language, gestures and the such that would be far different than when he or she is explaining how the day went to a spouse. He or she would use a very different tone, language and performance values when telling a child the same information just told to the spouse. The performance would be appropriate to the role and audience.

Backstage communications occur when the actors are off stage, behind the curtains so they cannot be seen by the audience. They can be more of their so-called natural selves as opposed to playing a specific part in the play. Their language does not have to be that used in front of the audience for example. Granted they are as Goffman notes, playing the role of a person in a play but not on stage at the moment. As a result, they are under less pressure to perform in a particular approved manner or speak specific lines appropriate to their formal performance role. Behind the curtains, they can be more relaxed and speak and act in a more relaxed manner if they wish.

Front stage social roles place pressure on the people involved to perform their roles appropriate to the interaction of the situation, the audience and social norms. If a young person is talking with a priest for example, there are normally restraints placed on the use of language, tone and attitude. If the actors realize they are involved in a front stage performance. The interaction is one that most academics have come to believe should be similar to that of a student interacting with them. But if a person does not realize that he or she is in a front stage performance or has not learned normative social interaction behaviors called upon for the role, there will be a resultant clash between the expected and the actual. 

For many students today, the separation between front and backstage has eroded. Students have not been taught the front stage social roles that many academics desire and expect. Whereas academics expect some level of respect for their positions and/or titles, students do not show much deference to either. For instance, just because someone has the designation of Doctor attached to the front of his or her name does not impress students much. Being a PhD does not place much front stage pressure to conform to behavioral models including an automatic show of respect for our educational labels. This is a learned indifference that we have some responsibility for by the way. 

When educational attire went from suits, shirts and ties for men and dresses for female teachers, this shift in costume signaled a change in the way students were top address educators. The formal attire was a sign that the teachers were playing a formal role. It stated that we are dressed this way to signal to you that we are in our official front stage roles and you should be too. Just as a costume change in a play lets the audience knows that the character is in a different mood or role so the shift from formal to informal attire sent a message to the audience – students.

The change to more informal, more relaxed dress how one might away from the classroom backstage type of attire was a clear statement that the roles had shifted. The attempt to forge a less formal and more relaxed atmosphere worked. Perhaps too well because it also took away the pressures to perform in socially prescribed front stage roles and behaviors. That carried over to higher education in which the dress can be even more backstage than in K-12. Over time, the informal roles helped erase the academic lines between front and back stage roles. As a result, many of their communications with faculty and others on a campus are backstage behaviors which are similar to those they might use with friends. The college personnel might be using more front stage communication modes so there will inevitably be a clash which will be interpreted by the college member as a lack of respect when it is a lack of communication alignment.

If one realizes that what is occurring is a clash of front stage backstage expectations. It may become easier to deal with the clash. If one can understand the clash of communicating modes not as a statement of disrespect but what it really is - the variance in communication styles between generations. It should also be easier to predict the clash and it is hoped, not be taken aback by it nor simply believe the student is not being respectful and not deserving of one’s attention and help.


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“We had hoped we’d improve our retention by 3% but with the help of Dr. Raisman, we increased it by 5%.”Rachel Albert, Provost, University of Maine-Farmington

“Neal led a retreat that initiated customer service and retention as a real focus for us and gave us a clear plan. Then he followed up with presentations and workshops that kicked us all into high gear. We recommend with no reservations; just success.”
Susan Mesheau, Executive Director U First: Integrated Recruitment & Retention University of New Brunswick
“Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop at Lincoln Technical Institute. It served to re-center ideas in a great way. I perceived it to be a morale booster, breath of fresh air, and a burst of passion.” Shelly S, Lincoln Technical Institute

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Good Fit Bewteen School and Student is Essential for Retention

Wedding dress posed for displayNumber 17 of the 25 Principles of Good Academic Customer Service reads: 17. There must be a good match between the college and the student or do not enroll the student.  If the school admits students who aren't right, aren't a good match for the school, those students will drop out. The student must fit the school and the school must do the same. This is a basic rule of retention.(Get a copy of the 25 Principles by simply kicking here and asking.)

This aspect of retention can be understood in part by buying a dress. When a woman buys a dress she wants something that will be a good fit. She also wants to be attractive, for her to look good in it and for it to be worth the cost of the dress in her mind. Like buying that dress, the final decision to buy or not is not an intellectual conclusion It is an emotional one. It is a decision that is supposed to make you happy. (Unless you’re a bridesmaid and have to spend a lot of money on what is almost always a bad looking, ill-fitting and costly ugly choice. But in the analogy that is the same as having to choose a school which is a runner up and not the top choice.) If the choice does not make you feel as if it is a good fit which means it is does not provide an emotional, affective and financial (time, money and effort) return of investment, then the dress is one that is discarded or returned. For a school, that means a student leaves it hanging in his or her historical closet and walks away from it.This is an emotional not intellectual decision. The initial shopping can and will often be an rational one. I need a dress. I want it to be a certain color, size, hem length, style, price range and even brand. So I begin by looking for dresses that fit that initial logical set of considerations. Dresses that do not fit into the intelligent framework are not considered, at least at first.  For a school these considerations are often level of selectivity. location, size, majors, and name value. Those that do not fit into the schema are not looked at.

Then the purchaser goes to the store to look at dresses that could work and to try them on. The schools visit, tour and even stay over. This will eliminate some contenders but the decision to continue to consider is now an emotional one. What dress fits well? What dress looks right on me? What shade of the color I want is really the right shade? Does the length look right for me? Does wearing it make me feel good? Attractive?  More appealing? Does it make my butt look big?

The same is true of schools now under consideration? Did visiting or applying to it make me feel good about myself. Will it make me look smarter? More fit for the job I want? Does it make my brain look big? These are not intellectual issues but purely emotional ones that go to the core issue of “is the dress/school a good fit for me?”

The salesperson in the store will of course try to make the buyer believe the dress is a great fit, makes the buyer look wonderful and by the way, you look just right in that dress. Cash of charge?” In a similar way, the admissions office of some schools try to make the school a good fit by tailoring the image to the students’ desires. In fact, some intelligent schools even use CRM to totally tailor the school to the specific shape of the student’s interest. These schools will even have current students who are similar to the prospective student email or call to reinforce the feeling of a good fit just like a salesperson in a store may call over another salesperson to give her “opinion” on how the dress looks. If there are any issues, the buyer is assured that the situation can be altered to fit better. They are after the sale so they do all they can to convince the student that this is the right school and fit so apply here now.

The decision is made.  The dress or school is bought and brought home. But if that initial sale and fit become questioned there is a problem. If the dress is worn and in the actual wearing it feels too big, or tight or the color is wrong or the neckline off, hem too short or long or the color is not complimenting the original feelings about it.  In other words it is not a good fit finally.. The purchase either gets discarded (dropout) or returned (transfer).  The buyer feels she was oversold quite often and loses faith in the store. She decides not to go back so the store loses future sales as well as the school loses revenue it would have gained from the student who leaves.

So what determines a good fit? Will I get an emotional, financial and affective return on my purchase? These three roi’s will determine if it is finally a good fit. Now it has to be granted that there are times when the label of the dress, the name of the school will override the balancing of the three returns on investments. Sometimes  a person buys a dress primarily because the label is a designer brand and that name alone will make the person fit into the dress even if it is not a really good fit in and of itself. And because the name and the cost are high, the person will likely continue to wear the dress even if it is tight for example. It is so affectively satisfying to say “the dress? Oh, well it is a NAME BRAND”. Or “I go to XXXX”

But there is an additional factor in the decision to buy. The way the store treats the customer. If the employee of the store or the college is not courteous, does not provide good customer service, makes you feel unworthy or sells too hard and gets caught at it there is an automatic decision that this is not a good fit. The potential dress buyer or student leaves quickly. Equally negative is indifference to the customer. That is also a form of bad service.

And don’t be fooled by the cost of the dress or school and the student’s ability to by either. If someone feels the fit is there, wants the dress of school enough he or she will do what is necessary to get that dress if they feel they need it. For example, that ugly bridesmaid dress discussed earlier, the buyer will get it even if it is much more expensive than it should be because the need for it is there. The dress may be ugly but it is a definite fit for the need. The school may not be all the student wanted but if it where he or she can get a major leading to a life goal, the student will by it even if it is expensive. There are credit cards and student loans for that purpose.

But if the fit is not there, believe it or not it is better to do what you can to dissuade the person from buying the school unless it is a choice or a necessity. Because if you sell the school and the fit is wrong, you have wasted your energy, will lose money and a customer who will tell at least twelve others that the buying experience was very disappointing. Don’t go there.

To paraphrase the late Johnny Cochran “If the dress don’t fit; don’t admit.”

If this article made sense to you, you may want to contact N.Raisman & Associates to see how you can improve academic customer service and hospitality to increase student satisfaction, retention and your bottom line
UMass Dartmouth invited Dr. Neal Raisman to campus to present on "Service Excellence in Higher Ed"  as a catalyst event used to kick off a service excellence program.  Dr. Neal Raisman presents a very powerful but simple message about the impact that customer service can have on retention and the overall success of the university.  Participants embraced his philosophy as was noted with heads nods and hallway conversations after the session.  Not only did he have data to back up what he was saying, but Dr. Raisman spoke of specific examples based on his own personal experience working at a college as  Dean and President.  Our Leadership Team welcomed the "8 Rules of Customer Service", showing their eagerness to go to the next step in rolling Raisman's message out.  We could not have been more pleased with his eye-opening presentation.    Sheila Whitaker UMass-Dartmouth

If you want more information on NRaisman & Associates or to learn more about what you can do to improve academic customer service excellence on campus, get in touch with us or get a copy of our best selling book The Power of Retention: More Customer Service for Higher Education. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Students and Staff are the Most Important Stakeholders and Customers on Campus

A college or university has five major stakeholder groups when it comes to hospitality and customer service:
1.      Students
2.      Staff
3.      Faculty
4.      Administrators
5.      And the community the college is in.

Let’s spend a few minutes on the first two groups which too often get overlooked as to their real importance.

Most colleges get this wrong. They seem to think that the students are not stakeholders and certainly not customers at all. They are people we have to educate and collect money from.  Staff are just people that work at the school and they are to serve everyone else without much more than an annual recognition award for one of them. They believe that the faculty are among the most important stakeholders to be served. That administrators are very important and the community is a group we try to keep happy so they don’t complain. This is all wrong.

In fact, the students are the most important stakeholder group on the campus. First off there would be no college or university without them. If there were not any students to serve there would be no school. They are the ones who actually pay money into the school. Without their tuition there would be no revenue for anyone else at the college.  They are the primary customers.

They need to be number one in everyone’s mind. Period.

If we do not serve them well and make them feel welcome and valued on campus they will go elsewhere and take their tuition money with them leaving the institution that much less well off.

And they are doing just that because we do not position them as our most important customers. In fact, after six years of attending college, only just over 50% actually graduate from the school they started at. Fifty percent leave and most of them leave because we do not treat them as valued customers. And of the fifty percent which is the national average 76% of them leave specifically for customer service issues ranging from poor service to poor scheduling.

While we have a chance, let’s settle an issue once and not for all I am sure. Students are customers. They satisfy a basic economic definition of a customer. They provide payment for services offered by the school.  Not always all the services that are promised. Not always services that are done well. But they pay money for services and that makes them a customer. And a customer is someone who exchanges money for goods or services.

Call them clients if you will. Call them students if you want but that does not change the fact that they are customers. Nor does it change the reality that they see themselves more and more as customers who are paying the bills., And that makes them demand more and more from a campus community that is too often reluctant to provide the services and hospitality the customers are paying for.

Students are our business; our primary business. And they are thus our primary customers.

Staff are the next most important stakeholders in customer service. They provide the most immediate service outside of the classroom. Granted the classrooms and the teaching that takes place in them is one of the most important services a college provides. But students encounter and take service or lack of it from the staff on the most continuing basis. Therefore they are the ones who need to be considered next for importance of receiving customer service.

When we talk with staff members when doing a campus service audit for example, we hear over and over again that they are not given service from other members of the campus. That in fact they feel they are treated rudely and at best as an afterthought from members of the college. Yet, as primary providers of service they need to be treated with great appreciation and hospitality or they will learn that being of service is not of value and they will take their poor treatment out on students.

Think of staff as the waiters and waitresses at the college as a restaurant. Staff are the ones who provide the table-side service to our customers, all of them by the way.  If you don’t treat them well or treat them rudely, your food will be served more slowly for example. Service will be slow and not very good so your entire meal experience will be lessened. In a college that could mean that for faculty who rely on staff, Xeroxing might not be done on time, typing can take longer to get done or you might just be told that a staff member is too busy to help you with a task.  This is if you don’t treat the staff with basic customer service such as being polite, smiling at them, saying please and thank you and showing general appreciation. 

For supervisors this means going up to staff members and simply saying something nice and complimentary to them. It means treating them as real people with value and purpose. Let them know you appreciate them.
A simple start is to spend the first few minutes of the day asking everyone, individually please, how was your Labor Day weekend? Do anything interesting? I mean managers and administrators will ask one another so why not ask everyone else? If you feel that talking with staff like clerical folks is somehow below you, you need to get your head out of your butt and realize you depend on them to make you look good. Head up butt is never a good look by the way And the view is not pretty.

Take the time to engage your staff and one another no matter what your job is. Smile at everyone and just ask how their weekend was. Not just this first day of the week; but every first day of a week and a random Wednesday or even Thursday just ask how the family is. "How's little Billy doing with his first year of work? Hear that Sarah is enjoying school. Is Sam still in jail....Well, maybe not that but you get the idea.

You can even be creative and as if someone has anything interesting planned for the weekend on a Friday. And them here’s the full circle part. On Monday as how it was. You will be amazed at how the people who you work with will want to work more and better with you. It’s that old engagement stuff.
Try it. It works.

If this article made sense to you, you may want to contact N.Raisman & Associates to see how you can improve academic customer service and hospitality to increase student satisfaction, retention and your bottom line
UMass Dartmouth invited Dr. Neal Raisman to campus to present on "Service Excellence in Higher Ed"  as a catalyst event used to kick off a service excellence program.  Dr. Raisman presents a very powerful but simple message about the impact that customer service can have on retention and the overall success of the university.  Participants embraced his philosophy as was noted with head nods and hallway conversations after the session.  Not only did he have data to back up what he was saying, but Dr. Raisman spoke of specific examples based on his own personal experience working at a college as  Dean and President.  Our Leadership Team welcomed the "8 Rules of Customer Service", showing their eagerness to go to the next step in rolling Raisman's message out.  We could not have been more pleased with his eye-opening presentation.    Sheila Whitaker UMass-Dartmouth

If you want more information on NRaisman & Associates or to learn more about what you can do to improve academic customer service excellence on campus, get in touch with us or get a copy of our best selling book The Power of Retention: More Customer Service for Higher Education. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Increase Enrollment by 12% by Attending to Points of Contact

Colleges lose at least 12% of potential students as soon as they make actually contact with the school. These are potential students who were interested enough and motivated enough to contact you for information or even come to the campus to learn more. But because of poor or weak initial customer service and hospitality as well as the college’s POCmarks, 12% additional enrollment was lost.


Yes. That’s right. POCmarks. Like when you had chicken pox and Mom said don’t scratch them because they would leave permanent scars. Like the acne you worried about when you were in school. Afraid that people would judge you by your appearances. That’s them. POCmarks. Things that can scare students away from looking at your school and attending. And your school or business very likely has some and they are turning new students and customers away. 12% of them in fact. 12% do not choose your college because of your POCmarks and their first encounter with academic customer service at the college itself.

POCmarks. That’s what we call them in our POCmarking analysis of a school we call campus service audits. These are the POC’s – Points of Contact. The front line initial contacts that potential students, parents and others make with your school. They include your

These are all of the things and people who create the first impression for a potential student, her family, his friends and the community. These are the first impression point of contact factors that either build interest or turn potential students away. BTW, not all POCmarks may seem to be equal. Wouldn’t an actual interaction with someone be a stronger imprinting factor than an objective correlative aspect on campus? It seems logical that a rude receptionist would turn off students stronger than say than dead shrubs? But if the dead shrubs, scruffy grass, poorly designed or maintained signs, isolated parking lot, litter or fading paint create the first impressions, the potential student may never make it to the rude receptionist.

A poorly designed, difficult to navigate or DIY website can block the call for an appointment to discuss coming to the college. A catalog…well, most every catalog generates a huge POCmark if the school is not using a personalization program such as Leadwise.

So it is equally important, sometimes even more important to investigate any potential POCmarks that ARE hurting your ability to succeed and perhaps even surpass your enrollment and population goals. So, let’s discuss some POCmarks and what you can do about them.

Let’s start with a quick discussion of one of the more common potential POCmarks – the college website. We have just about completed our annual study of college websites with the assistance of COREacademics Group and are not pleased to be able to say that out of the fifty randomly chosen websites of two and four-year not-for profit and for-profit, public, private and career colleges, 84% look and perform as if they were created by the Hoover Group. Hoover? Well, you know what Hoover vacuums do? They suck up dirt – right? Well, take it from there.

These 42 sites had significant issues in design ranging from just plain boring which is a large POCmark for students to so poorly designed that a potential student would have real difficulty finding what she needs to be able to learn about the school because the site was not designed as a sales tool for potential student but to please an internal audience. Boring is a sin today. Your website homepage is in competition with not just other local schools but with the major commercial and social networking sites that students use to gauge all others. When a person uses a set of websites on a regular basis and they find some level of pleasure in them, they become imprinted as the standards against which to judge others. That means your website is in competition with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, even Ebay and Google.

Tough competition you say. Not really if you just learn from them. There are definite success characteristics in all of them. First, they are designed for the customer; not the internal company users. They have been created based on what the customer wants and needs. They have studied their clients and then provided them ease of usage to help them execute quickly and easily from the homepage to where they want to go and what they want to do.

The homepages are clean, uncluttered and have no extraneous boxes, buttons, dropdowns, rolling information or videos, links, words, pictures or anything for employees. They provide just what is needed; no more, no less. So what do students look for and need? Students are after a job so they want to be able to get to information on the programs and degrees that lead top jobs. They have to pay so they want to know about costs and even more important, financial aid. They want to apply so they need application information. They want to be able to contact the school, administrators or offices for more information. They also want personalization. 

If they are not, the website becomes a major POCmark for the school. By be on the page I mean a clear link to the information. Not any specifics. Give them the way to the information. And when they get to the information. Keep it simple, non-technical, devoid of our insider jargon and with a student orientation.
If you are interested in having your website evaluated and then designed top be one that’ll help and not be a POCmark, we can arrange for a free website analysis through our partners. Just let me know and I will make arrangements.

As for the other items on the list above, they are all serious POCmarks that will keep you from hitting all your goals and that includes 12% of all potential students. If you’d like more information on how you know if you have POCmarks, contact me and we’ll talk. If you’d like to get rid of them, I recommend an application of information from my best selling book The Power of Retention as a strong starting point for a DIY study as well as the links I have identified in this article. 

If you wish greater expertise with an expert analysis plus solutions that will work, contact me. Be glad to help you gain that other 12% or at least a large chunk of it.

UMass Dartmouth invited Dr. Neal Raisman to campus to present on "Service Excellence in Higher Ed"  as a catalyst event used to kick off a service excellence program.  Dr. Neal Raisman presents a very powerful but simple message about the impact that customer service can have on retention and the overall success of the university.  Participants embraced his philosophy as was noted with heads nods and hallway conversations after the session.  Not only did he have data to back up what he was saying, but Dr. Raisman spoke of specific examples based on his own personal experience working at a college as  Dean and President.  Our Leadership Team welcomed the "8 Rules of Customer Service", showing their eagerness to go to the next step in rolling Raisman's message out.  We could not have been more pleased with his eye-opening presentation. Sheila Whitaker UMass-Dartmouth

The University of Toledo was able to really get its customer excellence focused after Dr. Raisman and his team performed a full campus service excellence audit of the University. Dr. Raisman’s team came on campus for a week and identified every area we could improve and where we are doing well. The extensive and detailed report will form a blueprint for greater customer service excellence at the University that will make us an even better place for students to attend, study and succeed. Thank you, Dr. Raisman, for doing a great job. We unreservedly recommend his customer service audits to any school looking to improve customer service, retention and graduation rates.    Iaon Duca, University of Toledo
The report generated from the full campus customer service audit that N.Raisman & Associates did for our college provided information from an external reviewer that raised awareness toward customer service and front end processes.  From this audit and report, Broward College has included in its strategic plan strategies that include process mapping.  Since financial aid was designed as the department with the most customer service challenges that department has undergone process mapping related to how these process serve or do not serve students optimally.  It has been transformational and has prompted a process remap of how aid is processed for new and continuing students.                            Angelia Millender, Broward College (FL)

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