I read this article this morning and couldn’t help but share some thoughts.
1) Totally eliminate your industry’s persistent customer pain points.
Seems to me that higher ed’s pain points are; orientation, registration, and graduation.
– Orientation: Let’s get every single department on campus to speak with our incoming students and families. They will TOTALLY remember everything we told them which will enable us to use our favorite comeback to a student issue, “Well, this was covered at orientation.”
– Registration: I’m sorry, only your academic advisor who has 50-200 other students to advise can help you. I’m not trained in the curriculum, process, or authorized to do so anyways.
– Graduation: You didn’t pay a parking ticket? You get no degree. You can only have 2 tickets. No your families cannot rush up to take a picture. Please keep your applause until the end.
– Orientation: Cut the fat. Keep it simple. Keep it about the EXPERIENCE and not about info overload. Students want answers to three things: With whom & where am I living?, What classes am I taking?, Where can I find said classes?
– Registration: Cross train those who are “in the trenches”, this means residence life, public safety, and student activities should be trained on the basics of registration.
– Graduation: Within reason, stop with the empty threats. Create a PHOTO section for families to stand and take pictures. People want to celebrate their student’s accomplishment. Are you really going to make a student choose between Grandma and her step-sister?
2) Dramatically reduce complexity
Registration: First you need to clear your bill with the bursar. The bursar needs your forms from Financial Aid. Financial aid needs to make sure you are enrolled. Registrar needs your ID. Your ID info is at public safety. Public safety only does IDs on certain days, on off-days check with residence life. Residence life can help but what building do you live in? You’re a commuter? Oh, check with admissions. Admissions needs proof that you are paying, go to the bursar. Headmeetdesk
This isn’t rocket science. If your campus allows for it, create a one-stop shop. I’ve been on campuses where a student might as well have run a marathon while trying to get an answer to a question that required other boxes to be checked first. If your campus doesn’t allow for it, get creative. If a student is still FAXING forms, you’ve got issues.
3) Cut prices 90 percent (or more)
Impossible in higher ed. Oh wait, Khan, Stanford, MITx…maybe not so impossible. Of course, it costs $5,000 – $225,000 to have the president of your institution sign a piece of paper that says DEGREE.
If we don’t come up with one, a whole population of students are going to create their own that doesn’t involve us. You’ve been warned.
4) Make stupid objects smart.
ID cards are first photo IDs, then (sometimes) building and room keys. That’s all? Really?!
ID cards are now not only keys but packed with linkage to your student profile. Need to go the bursar to pay a bill? Swipe your ID and EVERYTHING shows up on their screens so they see the complete picture. No more “oh that record is on this form in DATATEL while this record is on that form in BlackBoard and this one is in JANIS.”
5) Teach your company to talk.
New employee orientation is usually – here is a campus tour, here is a schedule of people you will meet in the first two weeks, here is your office. If you have questions, just ask.
Make new employee orientation a two month process with a week spent in each office around campus to learn the processes of each office. This is an investment. The new employee now becomes a mobile one-stop shop of answering questions and has built a repoire with each department.
6) Be utterly transparent
I don’t know how that works. I can’t help you. I have no idea. (None of these are acceptable responses.)
Teach humility. “I honestly have no idea how that works, let me call them for you so we can both find out.” This may mean, for example, inviting academic advisors to your RA training, not to train but to be TRAINED by the RAs
7) Make loyalty dramatically easier than disloyalty.
Does your staff have an institution related t-shirt, sweatshirt, tie, pin? Do your students?
A campus champions team is assembled. They are stocked with free giveaways ranging from pins, pennets, buttons, shirts, sweatshirts. See a student wearing swag from another school? Give them some swag from their campus. There should be no reason for students to NOT want to wear your school colors/logo. Same goes for staff, give them a day a month to rock school colors. This means they may get to wear jeans (OH NOES!) all professionalism out the window. Sigh.
Did you read the article? What do you think? What point stuck with you?