Colleges and universities can learn a lot from the private sector, especially when it comes to managing a student contact center. Though we don’t like to think of students as consumers, it is important to understand that they are consumers in every other part of their life. To them, a call center is a call center. They’re used to holding companies to a high standard of customer service, and they’ll put your contact center under the same scrutiny. Understanding these customer services statistics will give you a better idea of those expectations and what your school can do to meet them.
Complaints are like fleas
If you have one, then you have 100. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, only one in every 26 unsatisfied customers makes a complaint. The other 25? They’re either walking away from the company, stewing in frustration, or complaining about their experience to their friends. None of these are good things. Make it easier for your students to provide feedback and rate your services with end of the semester surveys or even asking a simple, “Did I satisfy all your concerns today?” at the end of a call. It’ll give you a baseline for how satisfied your students currently are and their responses will shine light on where your contact center needs improvement.
Frost & Sullivan found that 60% of all repeat calls are process or training driven, meaning the call center agents lack the knowledge, resources, and processes that make for efficient call handling. Similarly, a 2009 Genesys Global Survey reported that 78% of consumers reported that good customer service comes down to competent service reps. While this is an older statistic, the sentiment remains: customers want knowledge, experience, and efficiency.
Whoever is answering your phones—department staff, outsourcers, or student representatives—needs to be well-trained and have easy-to-access resources to answer calls quickly and with accuracy. Investing in more training and establishing frequently asked question scripts may take a little bit of work and time up front, but they’ll pay off in the long run.
Brad Tuttle, reporting for Time, learned that 80% of surveyed companies say they deliver “superior” service, yet only 8% of consumers think these same companies deliver “superior” service. Never go just on feeling or gut instincts. These companies assumed they were doing a stellar job and, given that 89% of consumers begin doing business with a competitor following poor customer experience, they likely lost a lot or repeat business. Yearly or semester-end surveys or even post-call surveys are a great way to get in-depth feedback directly from your callers.
Bad customer service experiences go viral
Last fall, The Huffington Post reported that consumers tell an average of 6 people about good experiences, but tell 15 people about poor experiences. As contact centers become more common on campus, what current students say about your contact center, especially online, could play a role in a prospective student’s decision to attend. This is particularly true for first-generation students who rely on contact centers to help make sense of a complicated financial aid and enrollment processes.
Self-serve demand is growing
In a 2015 survey, Aspect Software found that 73% of millennials want self-serve options to troubleshoot problems on their own. This is great news for schools. Making a few short explanation videos, providing a portal to download and upload applications and forms, and listing FAQ’s on your website can help divert contact center traffic, especially if you do a good job of promoting the offerings via text, email, and social media to your students.
Use a customer service lens to assess your student contact center. By putting yourself in your students’ shoes, you’ll uncover many of ways to impress, delight, and surprise them.