Many colleges are starting to host Open House Days for students that have been accepted for admission to their school and also inviting students who are still deciding on which school to choose. Most higher ed institutions are thinking about how they are being compared to other higher ed institutions and many feel good that they are ranked as better than the industry average. But, universities and colleges be wary. Don’t rest on your laurels. Students and their parents are not just comparing you to other higher ed institutions, they are also comparing you to the outside world.
When they are driving onto your campus and the line to find a parking spot is a winding mile long moving at a snail’s pace, right away they are comparing you to the parking efficiency of a Walt Disney World parking process. Hearing current students talk about an add-drop process that requires carrying around a 3 part piece of paper from building to building to get an instructor’s signature to drop and another instructor’s signature to add, seems archaic in today’s world of emails. Not that that is a reason to not go to the school, but it starts to create a nagging concern that if this simple process is so outdated, what about other bigger processes?
Students today who go to buy books from your book store are not comparing you to other colleges, but to Amazon. Students who use your on-campus banking services are comparing your customer service to their hometown banks that let them go to an ATM and withdraw up to $200 immediately without having to wait, so why should they have to wait weeks to find out about their financial aid? Students who regularly use your dining room for their meal programs wonder why they are not greeted with familiarity, when they can go to the nearest Chick-fil-A and be greeted with a smile and “it’s my pleasure” vs. “Next”.
Higher education institutions have been insulated for so long that they have been like a city within a city with their own rules and norms. With the advent of so much competition from the outer world, colleges and universities need to start bench marking those services that surround the learning in the classroom, with the best practices from world-class companies known for their exceptional customer service, in order to stay competitive and viable.