A growing number of institutions are really pushing the envelope when it comes to delivering outstanding student services. Through an integrated “one stop” services model, these institutions are bringing a customer service mindset to higher education, and with staggering results.
Eduventures caught up with leaders from six institutions to hear what insight they have to share on the benefits of their model and its impact. Here’s some of what we learned…
- University of Minnesota’s students are overwhelmingly satisfied with the quality of services offered through “One Stop.” An innovator in the one stop shop philosophy, Minnesota bolsters an impressive 98% satisfaction rate in overall quality of service delivered. What fuels such a high percentage? Director Julie Selander cites a move from “a silo structured organization with a transactional focus and limited access to accomplish transactions to an integrated/cross-functional organization with a holistic problem-solving approach.” Minnesota’s students are empowered to transact business online and in person through cross-trained staff capable of solving most problems from start to finish.
- University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s students and parents alike are remarking that “One Stop” is a smart and timely investment for the University. Director Darren Curry recounts a story from June of 2013, days after the center went live. “Finally, my tuition dollars at work!” a student remarked. “This level of excitement and enthusiasm has been consistent,” Curry remarks, “and has become a salient talking point with students and parents alike about the University’s broader dedication to student satisfaction and success.”
- University of Alaska-Anchorage’s “Office of Student Information” has finally put an end to senseless student shuffle. Today “students are our only focus and quality customer service is our best tool in helping them reach their educational goals,” Director Mike Smith states. “Long gone are the days when a student comes to the university, only to stand in line and be shuffled from one department to another.” And the University remains more and more committed to this model through single point of contact representatives who greet students by name and help them with any services they need. “Whether it’s financial aid, admission, registration, or just to answer the many questions students have,” Smith notes, “a Student Information Advisor is able to provide personal assistance in a private, comfortable, supportive environment.”
- McGill University’s “Service Point” has cultivated a big picture approach to student services integrated within the whole of the student experience. Romesh Vadivel, Director of McGill’s “Service Point,” cites the University’s commitment to service as part of a “bigger picture view of the entire student life cycle,” which as a result has produces a “humanized” approach to service. The result? A more holistic approach to student service that impacts the whole of the McGill experience. “We have integrated more definitively into the larger academic advising spectrum, and consequently play a larger more direct role in the student experience on campus.”
- University of San Diego has made customer service a “top priority.” The improvement in the quality of service has been dramatic, Director Steve Schissler states. “Previously, home offices were not fully trained or staffed for great customer service. Just having three separate offices for students to visit to accomplish business tasks gave the perception that customer service was not a priority for the school.” That has changed. “Now students come to our one stop to review a bill, review their financial aid, pay their bill, review their registration, change their registration, review their progress towards completing their degree, order a transcript, resolve registration holds, and many other functions. Previously they had to visit the three home offices and often more than once – in one day!”
- Pepperdine’s University’s faculty no longer need to spend their time helping students navigate the “labyrinth” of administrative services. At Pepperdine, “OneStop is more than a place…it’s a philosophy” rooted in the distinctiveness of the student experience. University Registrar Hung Le states that given Pepperdine’s unique commitment to faculty-student mentoring, having faculty spend undue time helping students navigate the administrative structure of the University simply became untenable. With its one-stop model in place, “faculty are able to spend more time teaching, doing research, and providing career/life-mentoring.” OneStop has also yielded new commitments to continuous improvement, accountability, and quality control. The University is constantly assessing how integrating administrative functions can impact not only students but the University as a whole and the many constituencies its serves.
View a recording of our complimentary webinar One Stop Shop student services »