10 Ways To Improve Customer Service In Higher Education

improve customer service in higher education

Research shows that customer service in higher education institutes (universities and colleges) is not optimal. Many institutions focus on bureaucracy in customer service. As a result, poor admission and dropout rates continue to increase. Higher education institutions can improve services by understanding who their customer is. They need to hire the right personnel and invest in modern technologies.

Institutions should offer training to improve their customer service teams. They need to improve response time and use a multiple-channel support approach. By doing this, they will get more customers and retain those admitted. Both students and parents will offer free referrals.

The institution’s reputation level will be higher. Here are different strategies to help improve customer support in your college or university.

1. Improve Your Customer Service Team

With the current generation of students, legacy customer service can no longer work. The modern generation is tech-savvy and they expect the same from you. They expect to see a well-equipped team. Improving your customer service team starts with good recruitment. Hire a team that portrays excellent soft skills. Ensure the hiring process targets a team that is well-experienced and educated.

Technological changes are fast-paced nowadays. Your team needs consistent training to make sure they understand modern trends. When the team is trained well, they effectively offer service even to the most complex issues.

Invest in skilling and reskilling. Offer rewards based on productivity. This helps keep the team motivated and to offer services beyond expectations. The institution can improve the customer support team by offering the right pay. Include the right benefits such as health insurance and retirement.

This makes the team feel you are valuing them and their input. Improving your team can also be done in terms of providing the right work tools. Avoid using legacy tools but invest in the latest technologies.

Students go through a lot of experiences daily. They need to get the best support from all the workers. After high school, students seek to join the best higher education institutions. It is important to streamline the college application process. In modern times, applicants have several options for getting help with the application procedures.

They can get help from EduBirdie admission essay writing service online. After admission, the freshman can order writing support from the service for all their papers. Support from experienced writers ensures students get the best papers. They learn tricks of writing well-researched essays and improve their essay skills.

2. Use Automation

The initial cost of investing in customer service technology could be high. In the long run, your institution will save a lot of costs. Using customer service tools improves the overall customer experience. Your support team will have a lighter workload which can help improve productivity. Adapting technology can help you establish a vibrant call center.

This ensures students get round-the-clock support from enthusiastic workers. Some of the important technologies for higher education customer support include.

  • Establishing a data center for college data and using analytics for insights.
  • Using routing services to direct queries to the right person.
  • Using voice search, live chat, and other technologies such as chatbots.
  • Use of immersive technologies such as AR and VR.

The use of technology allows you to implement automation in customer service. It is a strategy that helps save time. Your support team minimizes errors and response time improves. Automation avails customer support on a 24/7 cycle. The process creates an environment for engagement and satisfaction.

3. Use Outsourced After-Hours Support

The goal of using an after hours service is to make sure you are available 24/7. Customer service teams are usually available during official work hours only for academic institutes as its operations are not seen as critical as banking, telecom and other sectors.

Outside the regular hours, there might be no one to offer service to students, parents, and staff. That means there will be no one to solve issues that arrive outside the official work hours. Offering after hours support has a variety of advances to your educational institution.

  • Students and other stakeholders will get their issues solved on time with the help of after hour services.
  • It creates a positive impression that the institution is committed to customer care.
  • It opens doors for the institution to offer services at the international level.
  • Your customers will be happy and students will be seeking to transfer to another institution.
  • The institution will benefit from referrals and an increased student population.

You can adopt different methods to offer more hours of support and serve everyone who needs assistance beyond the usual timing. Discuss with the after hours call services provider to know their terms and agree with your terms. Another viable way is to upload pre-recorded videos.

These video guides should offer solutions to the most common issues. Your institution may also create a self-service round-the-clock support.

You may have a dedicated emergency number and automated support. All in all, an after hours emergency call center will put you one step ahead of your competitors as it shows to everyone that you are serious about the issues that others face.

4. Encourage Feedback

Your customer service team might be offering the best support to students and parents. However, expectations differ for each stakeholder. Due to this, satisfaction levels differ significantly. Some could be dissatisfied and walk away. Feedback helps you identify satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels.

It lets you know reasons for both and give you room to improve. Feedback allows you to know customer pain points.

You get ideas on which areas need focus for improvement. Many people might not be willing to give feedback for different reasons.

You can encourage it through a variety of strategies. One of the most effective ways is to create feedback surveys. Make the questions relevant and offer guidance in answering them.

You may allow free text feedback or provide feedback forms and widgets. Analyze reviews on social media, blogs, and other channels.

From time to time, organize group feedback discussions. These open forums can help gang the general feeling of customers. It helps you measure perception and how students view the institution.

5. Know What Your Customer Needs

No higher education institution can progress without understanding their customer needs. When you know their needs, you can easily offer solutions. You will meet them at the point of their needs. This is an easy way to attract them to your institution.

You can do this by finding out what motivates students to stay in your institution. Know what parents look for when looking for a college for their children.

When you understand this, make the institution that college they will look for. Different strategies can help you know what your customers need.

  • Check social media to know what customers are saying. Closely follow the discussions from students and parents alike. Be keen to listen to both positive and negative discussions.
  • Search for keywords that parents and students are using to search for schools. This gives you an idea of the needs they have. Their search could be based on price, courses, amenities, student population, and more.
  • Create the persona of the type of customers you are expecting in your institution.
  • Analyze other schools to see the audiences they are targeting and the strategies they are using.

6. Offer Multi Channel Support

Nowadays, students and parents use many communication channels. They use social media, telephone, chat services, SMS, and many more.

Your institution cannot improve customer service if it focuses on one channel only. Traditionally, colleges use telephone and emails as communication channels.

In modern times, they need to include social media, chats, and video calls. They need to progress to the Omni channel and combine all channels with technology.

This ensures the institution delivers personalized services. It allows them to monitor customer behavior and customer service for each.

To offer multichannel customer service, the school needs to understand the customer. They should know which channels to find them. Bring all the channels into one platform to offer streamlined support workflow.

7. Create Your Customer Service Goals

Improving customer service creates a welcoming school environment. Better support could lead to higher performance in the institution. Based on studies, colleges that perform well attract more applications. The best customer service delivery should be expertise-driven.

The right way to deliver quality support is to have customer service goals. Know the purpose of offering support to your customers.

The main goal is to ensure every query gets a response in the fastest possible time. It should be done effectively and all issues resolved fast.

To create your service goals, understand your expectations. Know customer expectations and align them with yours. Let your goals be measurable and focus on improving performance. Create goals to improve quality and ensure customers are satisfied.

Have goals for enhanced efficiency and improving your team. Base the goals of multichannel support and using the current technologies.

Focus on developing ways to minimize response time and quality of response. There should be goals for enhancing advocacy and increasing loyalty. Make it your resolve to humanize every customer experience.

8. Improve the Response Time

Quick response time has a lot of advantages to colleges and universities. Customers feel happy and the satisfaction rate improves. When the team answers customer queries quickly, the institution gains trust. Students view the quick response as a commitment to their concerns. Due to this, they become loyal and ambassadors to the institution.

Slow response attracts agitation from customers.

It increases dissatisfaction and the application rate could diminish in a big way. Different strategies can help your institution improve response time. Invest in customer service technology to help with automation. Outsource customer support services from established companies. Offer training to your team to ensure they are well-skilled.

You may use chatbots to minimize response time to seconds.

Ensure to use analytics to measure how fast customers get responses. Create query categories and the best general responses needed.

Have an account for each social media channel to monitor communication in real time. Use technology to bring all the channels into one place. Create rules to establish the minimal time within which a response must be made.

9. Go Digital

The current generation was born at a time when nearly everything was digital. They have grown up with full internet access and the latest devices. Modern students are technologically advanced. They are digital natives and expect nothing less from higher education institutions.

If your college is still using old technology, modern students will view it as irrelevant. The school must transition by moving away from legacy technology.

It should adopt modern devices and ways of communication. This process calls for quick digital transformation of colleges and universities. They should not only adopt modern gadgets but also current software systems. It includes modern methods of sharing educational resources.

Going digital can include implementing gamification in education. It could mean the use of blended learning.

Colleges could use online and adaptive learning to improve service delivery. Instead of using legacy boards, they can use screens during lectures.

They may adopt virtual reality in teaching and communication. These approaches improve satisfaction rates. Going digital enhances communication and convenience.

It opens doors for analytics and customized recommendations. Institutions should invest in mobile-friendly websites and communication. Most students access the internet via mobile phones. Colleges can create mobile apps focused on offering improved customer services.

10. Use Personalization

Personalization in customer service looks at offering tailor-made support. The team understands the specific needs of each student or stakeholder.

Based on their needs, they offer support that makes the customer feel valued. Personalization covers a wide range of areas. The team needs to offer personalized content, suggestions, and answers.

The critical things that allow this to happen is to use data and analytics. Implement artificial intelligence in the institution. AI will help you follow the customer journey keenly. It will help you know where the customer is connecting from at different times.

When addressing the customer, do so by their name. Use data to understand their history and segment them.

Provide timely solutions all the time but make sure they address the specific need. You may connect with an after hours call center to help you offer custom-made customer care. Personalization may also require channel-specific customized content. When you offer customized customer care, you will attract loyalty.

Your college will gain a higher retention rate. You will have a community of happy students. During this process, make being organized your priority. Practice patience with your customers by understanding their needs. Keep the conversations going by becoming creative in delivering top-notch customer support.

What Next for Higher Education Institutions

Higher education institutions should not just focus on offering lectures. They should not just focus on admitting more students but to retain them.

The secret to this is to improve customer service delivery. Quality customer support should focus on personalization. Institutions should modernize their tools and train their teams.

They need to go digital and enhance their response time. Quick response time can help take customer service to the next level. Beyond this, institutions need to encourage feedback and focus on multichannel support.

customer service strategies for retention in online courses

Beyond Enrollment: Customer Service Strategies For Retention In Online Courses

CRM software

Top 10 Best CRM Software In 2024