You cannot make something better until you know that it is not its very best yet. You need to understand the situation and the way service and hospitality work on your campus. This is what we discover when we do a campus service audit but there is also a simple way for you and everyone else on the campus to start learning what students think about service at the school.
In an earlier article and in my book The Power of Retention I discussed Dean Bill Schaar and his habit of leaving his office each morning to walk the campus and say hello to everyone he met. I also discussed how I added to this by asking students how they are and listening to their response. This is a good way to start to gauge how students are doing and what they are feeling about the school.
Now I want to add to that with another suggestion that will start to unveil hidden issues that students are bothered by.
Get out of your office and walk the campus. As you walk the campus do say hello to every student you see and ask them how they are doing as has been suggested earlier. But now I want you to just go up to random students and ask a simple question.
Introduce yourself with the give a name get a name technique as has been discussed earlier. But then tell the student that you are interested in asking a question about his or her experience on campus. You would like to be able to help make the student experience even better. Then ask this simple question and then listen for the answer. “If you could change one thing starting tomorrow to make your experience at the college better and more enjoyable what would that be?”
The secret now is being patient. This is an issue that many students have thought about but have not really voiced so it may take a minute for them to put words to their issue or concern. So just listen. They also may simply say that they cannot think of anything. This may be because they may not have anything they would like made better though this is doubtful. Or it may be because they are not sure you really want to hear from them. So if they have nothing to tell you at the moment give them your email address and tell them to feel free to email you if they think of anything. You may well be surprised at the number of emails you will get.
If they do tell you something make sure you let them know you will pass on their concern and even get their email so you can let them know if any changes are to be made to maker the issue better.
Using this simple method of talking and listening to students you will start to build up a long list of issues that can be addressed to make both service and hospitality better. In turn you will make the students feel more appreciated and increase retention though to graduation as you make the school better and stay in touch with students. If you would like to discuss the technique more, or learn how to turn this technique into a DIY fuller campus service audit, feel free to get in touch with me at Nealr@GreatServiceMatters.com
There are still some dates available for opening convocation presentations and workshops to improve retention for the year. CONTACT US NOW!
IF THIS ARTICLE MAKES SENSE TO YOU, YOU WILL WANT TO OBTAIN A COPY OF THE BEST-SELLING BOOK ON RETENTION AND ACADEMIC CUSTOMER SERVICE THE POWER OF RETENTION: MORE CUSTOMER SERVICE IN HIGHER EDUCATION by clicking here
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