In my early days as an admissions counselor, I knew that my job was to help students get into their best-fit school. However, if anyone had told me then that I was working in customer service, I probably wouldn’t have defined my role in that way. Looking back, that connection is much more clear to me now.
As lead trainer and a client services team member for TargetX, customer service and customer loyalty are a huge part of my job. That’s why I love the article “5 Ways to Take Customer Loyalty to the Next Level,” by Joanna Lord of Entrepreneur magazine. It had a lot of value for me and I see many parallels to higher ed. Here are a few highlights worth noting:
Improve your “Thank You.”
In admissions offices, we don’t necessarily have repeat customers, but we do have repeated interactions with the students we are recruiting. If a student sees a common thank you page, or is redirected to a main events calendar, you’re missing out on an opportunity. Use the thank you page to encourage them to continue interacting with you. Suggest additional activities that may interest them, encourage them to apply if they’re inquiring, etc. Show that their effort is recognized and appreciated.
Optimize your feedback channels.
Odds are your school has a general email@example.com email address, a Facebook page, Twitter handle, etc. Be sure to monitor these regularly and respond to students through the same channels.
Evangelize the gains and losses.
This basically means that you should be sharing with the rest of the company (and in our case, campus) your “customer loyalty scores,” however that’s measured. In higher ed terms, while admissions offices are on the “front lines” in the recruitment process — your campus should be part of that process too. Lord states, “companies have a number of opportunities to build trust and loyalty by making their interactions with customers the best they can be.” The same goes for higher ed. It’s the responsibility of the entire campus to recruit and retain your best-fit students.
These tips are definitely a good reminder to us all of what we should be doing in our respective “customer service” roles. Everyone should always be putting a happy face forward to students, giving them the best experience possible with your institution. Whether it’s in admissions or across campus, strong relationships are what keep students happy.
Read more about our authors. Jill Clark is the lead trainer for the technology division and a member of the Client Support team.