Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Students remember how you made them feel. The colleges and universities that make students feel good about themselves and their school choice are the ones that build student loyalty. A great service experience reinforces that loyalty. And this is imperative in higher education because the current dropout rate of students in a 2 year college is around 70% and in a 4 year institution about 50%. This is not beneficial to the school or the student.
Three top reasons why service excellence is important to higher ed institutions are:
1. Prestige and image
2. Social, moral, and ethical responsibility
3. Financial viability
Prestige and Image: Today we see celebrities paying to have SAT scores changed, bribing sports coaches to “recruit” their kids, paying off administrators to accept their precious children, because undeniably there is a prestige and image associated with a college or university. Everybody wants to be affiliated with the institution that provides a sense of pride and status for being connected with them. This includes not only students and their family, but alumni, community support, and donor giving. If the perception of the school is poor, who wants to be aligned with or support it through advertising, funding and marketing? Service Excellence helps to create a positive image and brand.
Social, Moral, and Ethical Responsibility: Education is becoming an expensive franchise. There is a social, moral, and ethical responsibility that higher education has to the investment everyone is making. Student loans are out of sight with students now graduating with debt levels up to $200,000. Parents of students and society at large are impacted by these high debts. MOOC’s are becoming the wave of the future in processing as many students as possible through an institution. If this is the direction, then there is a huge responsibility on the institution to deliver excellent service in the technology of this medium and the ability for interaction between faculty, staff, and student in this type of college experience. Service Excellence plays a big role in this experience.
Financial Viability: The financial viability of the institution is directly related to the perceived value in the tuition and the ability to graduate with a degree and get a job. Low retention and graduation rates cost institutions millions of dollars in lost revenue and unnecessary high costs. Service Excellence touches on the entire student experience to ensure each touch point from the marketing, enrolling, scheduling, advising, financial aid, testing, etc. are all student focused on how to deliver an experience that makes the student feel cared for as a person who has chosen this institution.
Students will never forget how you made them feel. Service Excellence must become a part of your culture and way of life in your institution.