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grade FAccording to a U.S. News article, last week we saw two colleges announce they will close due to financial reasons. The article states that while the number of applications increased dramatically for one of the colleges, Sweet Briar College, a school of less than 1,000 students, as did the discount rate offered to students, the number of students who chose to attend the school continued to fall. Why is that? One reason could be that the schools were not listening to the students and what they were looking for in a college. A truly service-focused educational institution sees things through the “lens of the student.” This approach asks, “How does our student see us?” Looking at the organization from the student’s perspective is one of the things that separate outstanding educational institutions from the ordinary.

Sweet Briar College had a 43% attrition rate. That means they were losing almost half of their population each year and had to recruit a new class plus enough students to make up for the attrition. If they had retained the students they had enrolled, they could have stayed in business.

Most colleges tend to look through the “lens of the institution”; often resulting in wait lines, voice mail trees, delayed responses, excessive documentation, etc. The student ends up being disappointed, angry or frustrated. Using the “lens of the student” in decision-making, increases the likelihood the student will feel like you care.

When a student feels like you care, they will more than likely stay.

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