Community college administrators say their students want better support when it comes to institutional customer service—and that they’re right for having high expectations, according to a report released Monday.
Published by EAB, an education consulting group, the survey results show that 85 percent of leaders agree student expectations have risen since the pandemic. Nearly 100 percent said improving customer service is key to student retention, results also show.
“Schools were already falling short in this area … so schools have a lot of catching up to do,” Tara Zirkel, director of strategic research at EAB, told Yahoo! Finance.
Lack of customer service results in confusion and unnecessary roadblocks, causing some students to drop out before classes even begin. Eighty-four percent of administrators acknowledged current students have trouble reaching enrollment staffers at least some of the time, and nearly two-thirds recognized that trying to get problems resolved can force students to take time away from their families and jobs.
“When a student encounters a confusing or difficult process, and that student lacks a strong support network or is juggling work and parenting responsibilities, they are more likely to turn away from college altogether,” Zirkel added.
The report includes the following recommendations for colleges to simplify registration and streamline other obstacles:
- Invest in customer service professional development.
- Audit processes to identify bottlenecks.
- Check in with students about their experience.
- Use technology to automate manual processes and decrease response time.
- Use data insights to identify and meet students’ needs.