Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cut the Lines with Great Customer Service and Increase Retention

A new semester is about to start up and that means lines for students. Did you know that colleges lose as much as 3% of potential enrollment from students having to wait in lines.

You don't have to.

Here are some customer service tips to succeed where others will fail.

         Appoint an service assurance person expediter or two. Place them smack dab in the middle of any line such as on-campus registration or financial aid.  Have that person continually moving in and through the lines talking to students to assess your process and check their progress.  Authorize the person to make changes to serve students better and faster. Have the person check to see if the student is just in line to drop off a form or some information. If so have the expediter collect that so the students can get out of line. Process the form or information later.

         If a student seems upset in line, the expediter should go right to him or her and try "Can I help you?"  Move him or her away from the lines before the grumbling becomes viral.  Save the person's place in line.  Go to a quiet place away from others and hear him or her out. If you can solve the problem, do it right then and there. If npot, hear the student out, settle him down, then walk the student back into line. Say "thanks for letting me help you" so others hear.  That's the message to get out.

         Have the expediter also act like an good service-oriented airline agent during busy  travel periods. Review student paperwork to see if they are correct.  An airline agent expediter checks tickets and boarding passes in line to see if all is in order and lets you skip the counter. If everything is in order, and sends you to the correct gate.  Do the same.

Consider allowing students to step out of the process if all their material is in order.  Let them drop off their paperwork and payment information for your people to enter then or later on. Mail the acknowledgment to the student with billing and everyone is happy.

         Sure, but what if it’s a registration line and a section is closed or the information delivered is not what was requested and they're gone?  Call them that day and offer another section or explain what information is actually needed. Closed sections are a major source for walkouts.  But, when you provide the service of making the decision for them, odds go way up that you will keep them.

        Turn on-line into a party.  Hand out candy.  Provide free coffee.  Pipe in some music.  NOT MUZAK. Make it feel more like fun than the drudgery of standing in line. And don’t leave the walls bare. Put up some artwork, posters or something for people to read while in  line. Staring at bare walls just increases the feeling of wait time lost.

 DO NOT FORGET THE WORKERS!  Keep thanking them.Encourage them.  See if they'd like some coffee, a coke, juice, cookies, whatever. Take over for someone and let the person take five.  Make sure they know you appreciate their work.  If they are happy and feeling appreciated, odds are better they’ll make students happier

NRaisman &Associates has been providing customer service, retention, enrollment and research training and solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them since 1999. Clients range from small rural schools to major urban universities and corporations. Its services range from campus customer service audits, workshops, training, presentations, institutional studies and surveys to research on customer service and retention. NRaisman & Associates prides itself on its record of success for its clients and students who are aided through the firm’s services. www.GreatServiceMatters.com info@GreatServiceMatters.com 


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