Thursday, October 22, 2015

What Does a Campus Mini-Audit Look Like?

What Does a Campus Mini Inventory/Audit Report Look Like?

Numerous requests have come to me to see what sort of information could be in a one to two day campus service mini-inventory I or one of my group might do. So here is a sample of an actual executive summary that went with a full inventory i.e. audit.  It has been anonymized (is that a real word?) and some parts have been excised to assure that.  The pictures have been left out too for the same reason. As a result, it could be your college or there may be some aspects that will sound familiar to you. That's okay. Just look at the recommendations and solutions. If they work for you - great.

Customer Service Mini-Audit Report of
The College
Audit Conducted on date
By Dr. Neal Raisman
The mini-audit I performed on the three campuses of The College indicated that strides had been made in the five years since my previous customer service review. Of the 28 people I interacted with, 22 provided a quality of customer service which ranged between very good and excellent as I said at the presentation.  Two of the other six either tried to provide good care but were defeated by the system and the others need more help. It was my pleasure to be able to point out not just the way the 28 handled the issues but some of the individuals by name who worked with me. These I used as exemplars of how it can be done. Leadership and the people in student services are to be commended for the change. 

There do remain some issues and situations that could be addressed to increase customer service as well as enrollment, retention and morale. These concerns range from an old one mentioned five years ago – lack of or not fully helpful signs on campuses – to more difficult issues that effect both students and employees that may go to procedure and even policy. One of these could be having a negative effect on central aspects of customer service that affect performance and morale as well.

I recognize that in bringing some of this forward, I may be stepping into some policy or even political aspects at the College.  I do however believe it is my responsibility as a consultant asked to bring forward issues that may affect enrollment, retention and/or morale. 

1. As I mentioned in the presentation and in the one five years ago, the signage on the campuses is not helpful to students.  The signage that is on the campuses does not help students find where they would have to go to complete enrollment or find their way from function to function.  For example, the exterior signs that are on campuses may list locations by the names of buildings but there is not listing by functions such as admissions, registration, records, business office, or major area of study such as nursing, business, criminal justice, etc.    

The example below shows both the anonymous building names and the value of function naming as in Physical Plant – Shipping and Receiving. If functional helps vendors, it should help potential students and the community as well.

Students do not know where they need to go to do things by the name of a building. Moreover, none of the main entrances was clearly marked to assist or facilitate.  The closest to either naming by function or the main entrance was on the M campus where I did locate a sign inside a parking lot that listed functions within a building. 
  Unfortunately, if I did not happen to park in that lot, I may not have found other helpful signs on the campus. Moreover, this information was not repeated in front of the specific buildings with the functional areas within.  Redundancy can be helpful in signage. M campus was also the only campus with a sign over a door saying Welcome with some additional helpful information.  Without at least a welcome sign, there is not indication of a building’s front door. I had to wander about trying to figure out where the front door was of each campus. 

Moreover, the placement of signs is important if they are to be used and helpful. 

Inside building signage was described by a faculty member at M campus who stated “This place is like a labyrinth.  If you don’t already know where you’re going, you may not get there.” Variations of the statement were repeated to varying degrees at the B campus as one person told me that admissions was in the L campus Building. Though M campus again made some attempt to help out with a general sign inside the main building, it was still difficult to locate offices since some signs were overhead and small while others had different locations and some did not have. This is apropos for all the buildings at M campus and B campus. 

The L campus does provide interior signage that coincides with color coding that can help people new to campus find their way around. Though some of the individual function areas could still be marked better with signs to help people find their way around, especially to admissions, financial aid, business office, etc. 
L campus also has very good interior signs that are quite helpful.
I suggest a College signage master plan be created that will create signs that provide information by the functions that take place in buildings along with the building name. The committee should also study interior signage and address the needs for signs that will help potential and new students as well as any coming onto campus with the directions they need to find where they need to go in the buildings.

If one looks at the signs used on all three campuses, (examples above) they are all different in style, color, etc. Signs are visual statements of identity as well as indicators to help people find their way to a location. It thus is suggested the signs should all have a consistent look, style, color and font to generate a coherent image and statement of The College no matter what campus an individual is on. 

2.  There is duplication and some inconsistency in forms used and provided. For example, when I was considering taking courses at two different campuses of the College, I had to complete two separate admission request forms. I was also told I would need separate and thus duplicate forms for other processes too.  This duplication of forms and efforts by the student should be eliminated and I hope that the new Datatel system will allow for singular input of materials to limit student and staff effort and work. 

On different campuses I was given different material.  For instance, there were two different FAFSA brochures provided; some different College generated information on programs; the payment plans and courses of study by major area. In this case, some people had out the older brochures (blue color) of major areas while another campus had some new ones (reddish) mixed in with the older ones. I am not sure if the information is different or the new ones have changes but information and brochures should be the same at all campuses unless there is a specific reason such as a specific program only at that campus. 

I suggest that a committee review all materials handed out to students. They should determine a common packet that will be used by all campuses to assure all forms, information and brochures be consistent throughout all three campuses of the College.  Without consistency of materials the College may be providing students at one campus lesser or better information than at another.  Moreover, it is possible that without a standardized information packet, students may be given incorrect information or direction. This would be very unhelpful but could lead to significant problems for the College not just for enrollment and retention but for inconsistency of materials provided to students to make decisions.

3.   .While on the campuses, I would act as if I were lost or confused to see the reaction of employees as they passed me in the halls. The hoped for results would be that employees would stop and ask if they might help me.  The outcomes were not as positive as one might wish. Granted there were not as many people in the halls as might have been during more populated terms at B campus and L campus.  M campus was in full session. 

At B campus, I entered six of the buildings and encountered at least one employee in every one. All but one woman in the Adams building either ignored me or looked at me and kept walking by.  Only the woman in Adams asked if I were in need of help. 

At M campus, I was passed by five employees. One faculty member whose name I recall as George stopped as I was looking around as if lost and asked if he could help me. After he directed me to the admissions office and I was walking about the halls again, he saw me and asked if he could be of additional assistance. 

At L campus, I was passed by six employees and finally assisted by a young man from the bookstore. 

There were then 17 employees who did not provide me any service and three who did; one twice. This became a subject of the presentation which I introduced with the story of Dean Schaar.  I then went on to show how to make sure that we all say hello to students and ask how they are as we pass them. There may be a need for more specific small group training for employees in extending themselves and greeting students. The structure of the large group presentation limited the specific person-to-person training though we did review the processes and manner to be employed. 

4.  There is a serious service concern that has to do with what educational services are made available to students as well as specifically to adult students at one campus.  Customer service looks not only at the processes through which one works with or assists the client.  It looks at the products that are created since it is the “products” of education, training and a degree/job that are finally a major determinant of student satisfaction. How we deliver a service can be quite secondary to what service we deliver. 

The College currently has a structure and program distribution that seriously affects its delivery of the most important service of all – the ability to gain the education and thus career a student seeks. The distribution also limits the College’s ability to expand enrollment and thus revenues by limiting the offering of programs to specific campuses separated by distances without public transportation.  Moreover, the scheduling of the classes with intermittent starts to twice a year or even to once every 18 months creates serious limitations on enrollment, retention and revenue. 

When I attempted to enroll in a graphic design course at B campus for example, the admission’s officer was very helpful and polite but told me that though I lived in B campus I would have to travel to either M campus or L campus to get one or another graphics program.  They were very different programs. The one in M campus, Graphic Design, was a  program which would require more artistic focus and ability while the one in L campus, Visual Publication, was more computer-based.  The two did not overlap and were distinct but not available at B campus.  This was more than disappointing because the College website simply states that The College offers the programs and not a specific campus.  The indication on the web and the College’s marketing was that it was available at the College and not just one, and only one campus. 

By limiting a specific program to one and only one campus denies a broader band of the community access to the program.  If I lived in L campus or in B campus, I would be denied access unless I had the mobility, time and money to drive the distances to the campuses that own the program. From B campus to M campus, for example was over 60 miles and took an hour and twenty minutes.  This is a de facto limitation on enrollment and access. Not only does it deprive potential students from the community to gain education and training in what is one of the hottest areas of study nationally, it deprives the College of revenue ands the ability to fulfill on its motto of No Limits on Learning.  
I was frankly surprised that a community college would limit its service to the community in this manner by making distance a restraint on access.  But I was even more surprised that after I made the drive from B campus to M campus to try and complete enrolling in Graphic Design that it would next to impossible to enroll and, if I were an actual student, achieve my career goal. 

As an adult with a job and family, I was informed that the program called for me to attend five days a week from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.  As an adult with a job and family, I would not be able to do so without great hardship.  I inquired about attending part-time and was told that I could speak with the program chair but it was unlikely I would be allowed to do so.  There were only 18 slots available and the odds of opening one to a part-timer were slim.  These 18 would start together and complete the program before another 18 could start.  I could not start by taking some evening classes since there were no evening classes at the campus. 

When I mentioned to various people that the campus was not very adult friendly and even seemed to discriminate against working adults, there were no disagreements. In fact, there were statements of agreement as well as sympathy and frustration.  The people I would talk with as I persisted in my attempt to gain all the information and material needed to enroll were quite sympathetic to my plight as an adult wishing to advance myself and family though education in a chosen field but their facial expressions showed they were powerless to help. 

Furthermore, even if I were admitted, I could not start in October as I had desired.  I would have to wait until the summer of 2008 before another class started.  A one year wait with no guarantee of being admitted! There are very few students who could maintain their enthusiasm that long.  They would either give up their goals and dreams or find another school that would to start the program. It is quite probable that the for-profit schools are benefiting from the inability of The College to serve the needs and desires of students placed in the situation I was. 

It is also not probable but assured that The College is losing revenue as a result of this situation of individual campuses owning programs, limiting the number of students as well as the number of cohorts to be offered. Not even considering State support, and supposing that there is some sustainable pedagogical rationale for limiting cohorts to 18, an additional cohort of 18 FTE would generate in excess of $21,000 which is more than enough to hire adjuncts to teach the courses.  Appropriate scheduling, such as a full time day and part-time evening courses at the campuses would provide enough tuition revenue to hire at least one, and perhaps two additional full-time instructors. 

The situation is not unique to graphics-focused instruction either.  There appear to be a number of the “campus, not College” owned degree programs that significantly limit the customer service to students and the community. The current program distribution also limits the College’s ability to maximize its facilities, fixed costs and revenues. Moreover, the defacto denial of access to the adult, voting population could cause a sense of disenfranchisement and increase the difficulty of community support for initiatives. 

The program distribution and ownership situation also caused employees to not be able to fulfill their objectives of assisting students and providing fuller service to potential enrollees. On all three campuses, I sensed a strong sense of frustration from employees at being forced to inform me that I would have difficulty obtaining the education promoted and advertised by the College since their campus did not offer the program. Though each was as helpful as they could be, they did indicate that they were sorry I could not achieve my goals without either disruption to my family and life or driving long distances to get to the campus which had the course of study and training I was seeking. 

I strongly suggest the campus-specific program approach be reconsidered to increase the actual range of service the College provides. Currently, there are very many potential customers who are not receiving any, or very limited service at all in specific study areas. Programs should be available at all campuses that can draw the enrollment to support the course of study.  Courses should be offered day and night, in a full-time and a part-time mode so as to not to discriminate against adults, and others whose schedules, families and lives do not readily permit a commitment to a full-time day only schedule even if it were not five days a week. If programs are determined to need to be limited due to a specific campus, there should be consideration given to having them at the L campus campus since that is the area population center as well as a more or less central location between B campus and M campus. 

If it is necessary to continue campus-specific programs, the advertising, the web site and all materials should so indicate the specific campus at the very least. The 2007-8 Catalog does indicate the program location. 

5. Staff indicated that they did not have some of the information they felt they needed to be able to better serve me as a potential student trying to make some decisions. I was told by a couple of employees that “I would like to be able to help and I should be able to but I am just not given that information.” The issues ranged from what sections might be offered, to whether or not students were being accepted into a specific program prior to January 2008.  These are bits of information a student would need to have to decide on attendance or not.  In one case, an individual in a registrar office had to say she did not know the schedule for the next term even though it was completed, had been sent to the printer, and was somewhere on line in the College’s computer system. She did not have access to the on-line information to be able to answer my question.  She was clearly both frustrated and embarrassed. 

The feeling of being left out of the information loop became starkly clear during the break after the first part of the presentation. Attendees would sidle up to me in the hall, tell me the agree with all I had said but that they were not included in the information loop or as active participants in any decisions that affected their ability to perform their jobs.  They had worked hard to help install Datatel but had not belief they would be permitted access to the date within so they could do their jobs better. The individuals who surreptitiously spoke with me also said there was little communication with them from the College.  They also said they felt they could not comment or engage in discussion with me even when I asked a question in the presentation for fear of getting reprimanded. This at least helped explain why there was so little reaction or interaction from the attendees when I tried to engage them in discussion...

It would seem important the College seek ways to communicate and provide internal customer service more effectively with some employees.  It may well be that there is communication taking place but for one reason or other, there is a significant group that is somehow either missing the information or is indeed being left out of the loop. The result is the creation of a feeling of disenfranchisement leading to a diminution of morale that affects the providing of customer service to students...

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Building Retention One Hello at a Time

One thing we do when we audit a campus or do a workshop is see what the culture is like. It is also one of the first things we do before a workshop or a
presentation on academic customer service and hospitality. Is the current set of attitudes and how people treat one another impeding the development of a customer service culture on campus? Do people make one feel welcome and valued on campus? They certainly did at one college we recently audited. 

While doing a customer service audit on the campuses, I would act as if I were lost or confused (confused is something I can play well since I often feel it is a common state of consciousness for me) to see the reaction of employees as they passed me in the halls. The hoped for results would be that employees would stop and ask if they might help me.  The outcomes were not as positive as one might wish. Granted there were not as many people in the halls as might have been during more populated terms at B campus and L campus.  M campus was in full session.
At B campus, I entered six of the buildings and encountered at least one employee in every one. All but one woman in the Adams building either ignored me or looked at me and kept walking by.  Only the woman in Adams asked if I were in need of help.
At M campus, I was passed by five employees. One faculty member whose name I recall as George stopped as I was looking around as if lost and asked if he could help me. After he directed me to the admissions office and I was walking about the halls again, he saw me and asked if he could be of additional assistance.
At L campus, I was passed by six employees and finally assisted by a young man from the bookstore.
There were then 17 employees who did not provide me any service and three who did; one twice. This became a subject of the presentation I gave to the entire college.which I introduced with the story of Dean Schaar and Gordon Gee. That's the one about how to say hello to people and make them know you care. I then went on to show how to make sure that we all say hello to students and ask how they are as we pass them. 
Saying hello is so easy and so important. Businesses are catching on to this. Just a litt;le while ago I went into a CVS and everyone who worked there that I came into the slightest cpontact with said hello and asked how I was. This is something that should be done on all campuses by everyone on them.  But is also seldom done. 
People pass one another with nary a nod of the head to one another and certainly not to students. Just walk your campus and see how many pople say hello to you. Even more, look at the people who work at the college as they p[ass by and see how they most usually do not have a smile on their faces.
This is unfortunately too common on too many campuses. People just do not know to greet one another and certainly not how to stop and ask someone if he or she is in need of some help.  You can assess this just by walking through the halls of your own school. Though I do not suggest doing this as a habit, a bad one, just smile at people without saying hello. See how many smile back or say hello. Of course you shouldn't count the ones who know who you are. That's cheating and we don't want that. Do we? Then, act as if you are confused or lost. See if anyone stops to help. Keep a count of those who just rush by versus those who stop to help to get your school's helpful culture batting average.

You may find that there may be a need for more specific small group training for employees in extending themselves and greeting students. The structure of the large group presentation limits the specific person-to-person training though at this college we did review the processes and manner to be employed. And we asked people to use it and supervisors to keep track of who did and did not say hello properly. Of course we asked employees to keep track of their supervisors too.

It'll be interesting to compare the older hello average to a new one if people actually do say hello to one another and proffer assistance. Bet it'll be higher than any batting average of a so-called baseball star. And he gets $millions. Forget that last point, You'll get millions of good feelings and definite percentage growth in retention through simple greetings and inquiries as to how another person is. . 
Other simple ways to improve retention are found in the books The Power of Retention and From Admissions to Graduation, both by Dr. Neal Raisman. ORDER THEM BELOW NOW BY CLICKING ON THEM.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Costs of Attrition

Hardly a day goes by without a college announcing it is cutting jobs, programs or spending. You’d think with all the brainpower at our colleges and
universities they would be able to come up with better solutions than lopping off people, sections and services to students. But they don’t seem to.  Why not?

For organizations preparing students and society for the future, they are still stuck in the past. The churn and burn focus on continually bringing new students through the front door, and then just watching them go out the back door is killing college enrollments. As well as individual and collective futures. And as they leave, the budgets, employment, class sections, services and the ability to meet the educational mission go down as tuition and fees go up.

In Ohio for example, the average non-graduation rate for all colleges and universities is about 48% over six years.  That means the average Ohio college or university loses almost half of its population every year.  The average state assisted four-year school has a slightly higher 53% six-year attrition rate. These are four-year or more selective schools. They choose who can be accepted; who they believe is capable of succeeding. Two year community college attrition rates are higher but they are non-selective and cost both the students and public less. They accept any student who wishes to try to succeed and that is going to open them up to as many of much greater attrition.

The cost of attrition to students who leave (most drop out rather than flunk out by the way) is extremely high for them, our society and culture. Most leave feeling as if they failed in some way even though 72% usually leave because of what has been identified as weak to poor academic customer service. Their educational and personal needs as customers or clients of the schools were not met. Many of the dropouts have also used up much of their college savings, financial aid and ability to obtain a college loan. As a result, many will not go back to school and become part of the State’s employment problem.

When students drop out and do not graduate, the schools lose their ability to meet their educational mission as well as their chance to assist people and our state to meet career and intellectual goals. And they lose billions of dollars a year; something neither individuals not taxpayers can afford.. 

It costs an average of about $6,000 to recruit, enroll and process each new student to a college or university. So, every student who leaves takes at least $12,000 out the door with him or her from day one of coming on campus. The dropping student takes the $6,000 average financial investment the school made to recruit and enroll him or her initially.  The lost student must also be replaced so that will cost another $6,000 recruitment and enrollment cost. And since not every drop out is replaced immediately, tuition revenue is also lost equal to the number of dropouts times tuition cost.

To demonstrate what I am writing about I look to one of the largest and successful schools in the country, Ohio State University. OSU loses an average of over $6.9 million a year from attrition. So, if OSU were to increase retention/graduation rates they could easily save many millions of dollars each year. This is money it could use to fund programs, new faculty, additional course sections, and equipment; whatever it needed and without the cuts and freezes it is currently incurring. The taxpayers would save millions of dollars the State needs for other programs. Moreover, since the total attrition loss to the State supported schools calculates to $115,678,232, focusing more on helping students meet their goal of graduation would have significant positive results for the State of Ohio, its citizens and economy.  And this is true not only for Ohio but every state.

This is revenue that colleges need to survive in to many cases. OSU is an outlier because of its 83% graduation rate but still they lose millions on attrition. Imaging what your school is losing. Better still calculate it. Take the total enrollment and multiply it by the attrition rate (1005 minus the graduation rate. Taka that number of students lost and multiply it by the tuition and see how many millions you are losing.

After you gasp at the revenue being lost, do something about it. Increase the retention rate.

To learn how to increase retention contact us at Great Service Matters and get a copy of our new bestseller From Admissions to Graduation by Dr. Neal Raisman by clicking here.
  Dr. Neal Raisman is the leading researcher and consultant on academic customer service, a proven way to increase retention and graduation rates. 
Contact him at 413.219.6939 or email

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Customer Service Workshop on YouTube

I get many requests to see what a customer service and satisfaction workshop is so they can decided 
whether or not to have one at their school. Here is a recent example from the College of the Mainland which hosted two workshops to improve student satisfaction and thus retention. It is on YouTube at the following address

Every workshop is different, tailored to the needs and culture of your school after we study your retention and attrition at the institution. So this is an example of what you might expect but not the same. But, it will give you a solid idea of what a presentation and workshop is and can do to help improve student satisfaction and thus retention at your school.

After you watch, please let me know what you think of it and whether your school could benefit from a presentation/workshop at

Get a copy of Dr. Neal Raisman's best selling book The Power of Retention and get a copy of Customer Service Factors and the Cost of Attrition FREE as a school opening gift. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Can Academic Customer Service Improve a College?

There is a central concern that I hear from college presidents about academic customer service. “Does it work to increase student satisfaction and retention?" 

A fair question that I am very pleased to answer with a simple yes. And then prove it through a university that has fully embraced the concepts of academic customer service.

Does academic customer service work? If increasing a graduation rate by more than 11%, increasing enrollment by over 2,500 students, increasing applications by 31%, having the funds to more than double the faculty, obtaining investments to start three more schools of study and four new buildings, and jump from 15 to number one in the US News and World Report rankings, then academic customer service works. 

High Point University in North Carolina under the leadership of Nido Qubein has proven that academic customer service, seeing to the reasonable needs and responsible expectations of students and parents in the classroom and across the campus, works.  

When Qubein took the helm of High Point, it was a decent enough school with the same sorts of problems most other universities had. The economy was in the deepest recession it had seen since the great depression eight years ago. Its enrollment was down bringing its revenue with it. It was not able to invest in new teachers because the school’s population did not support the expenditure. Enrollment was down to 1,450 students and getting to the point of cuts in the school’s programs and employees. Its graduation rate (the real retention rate) was at 51.4% (6 year rate) and is now at 63% for the first cohort to go through the academic customer service changed university and expected to rise considerably with future cohorts.  There were 107 faculty before Qubein introduced an academic customer service culture into the school. Now there are 260.

What High Point did was change the university from a traditional ”enroll ‘em and let them sink or swim” indifference to students, to a university fully focused on students and their academic success. He made the students one of the primary centers of everything the University did and does. He not only met their expectations to be treated with dignity and concern, he exceeded it.  And he expects them to respect the protocol of the academy and its traditions.

He began with recognizing that the students and their parents were indeed customers of HPU who had needs and expectations. They needed a solid education and meaningful success. They expected an energetic campus life. So he focused on both. After he did an audit of the campus and its academic programs, he saw for example that the grounds and facilities were not up to the standards of students and employees to make them proud of going to HPU. This is looking at the objective correlative of a university, the setting in which learning takes place. He knew if his motto of “be extraordinary” was to take hold at HPU everything about the school had to be exceptional. So he went ahead and upgraded what was there and added three new buildings.  The construction was led by $230 million in gifts that Qubein secured. Yes, he made the school leveraged by borrowing the money for the buildings but he knew that to fulfill student’s affective ROI, they had to feel proud of the school’s facilities and grounds. In addition he had the campus grounds enhanced to now have 300 types of trees, 2,000 types of plants, 22 gardens for students and others to plant and adds about 600 plants a year now. What is important to note is that the plantings have become part of the learning environment. For example, classes in botany, biology, environmental science, plant taxonomy and other courses use the plantings as a living laboratory.

This is an important point here. Qubein did add student focused amenities such as a concierge service for students, free ice cream delivered in a truck that serves as a community outreach experience for student volunteers, and live music during meals to increase student engagement at HPU among other things but he more importantly realized that a great part of customer service for students happens in and for the classroom. The school was selling that to potential students and Qubein realized they had to come through with great learning for the world ahead of graduation.
He further realized that one of the important things that students needed and fully expected was success. They came to school to learn and graduate to get jobs after college. So he had HPU first focus on making certain that students succeeded. He was not going to take the point of view that they are adults who can have the right to fail. He realized they paid to get an education and diploma so he was going to do all he could to assure they received them.  Not by coddling, grade inflation or having faculty dumb down their classes as critics of academic customer service believe customer service causes but by devising an effective Early Alert system to assure success in the classroom and in life.  The assistance and cooperation of faculty made the program effective.

He insisted that classes be conducted at their highest level. That students be challenged and that if any indicator of a student not doing well occur, they be entered into the Early Alert system. That system is similar to the ones we have discussed earlier and suggested for schools. It can be accessed by anyone on campus but especially by faculty. If a student misses classes, faculty are called on to immediately notify the early warning advisors that this has occurred. If a student seems to not be doing well, the faculty member is called upon to approach him to offer help as well as enter that into the Early Alert system so an advisor can contact the student. Moreover, Early Alert is conducted the fourth week of the semester and attendance and any grade information that might suggest a student to be at risk is to be reported. Freshman tutors, and Learning Excellence experts aid in the process. Advisors and students are requested to follow up with a conference and course planning to improve performance and attendance. 

The Early Alert system has counselors and advisors who then reach out to students who are at risk and do all they can to help them resolve any problems and gain the learning they need. This system is an intrusive service the University provides to assure that students are fully served and their expectation of being successful can be met if at all possible. The University does not withhold services at all and let the student sink or swim on her own. They make sure that all the services of the institution are brought to into play to assure student success. 

President Qubein credits the Early Alert system for much of the University’s retention success. “The best ROI (financially & behaviorally) comes from the Early Alert program in the classroom where every professor watches and reports each student’s success patterns (and we follow up to ensure each student attends class, does work, gets tutoring, etc) and the Excellence In Learning program which provides significant personalized attention to students who need it.”

Learning Excellence  is a service that assures that faculty interact with students and provide individualized help for any student who is having trouble. Learning Excellence is a unique program that provides an individualized, formal support system to assist students in achieving academic success at High Point University. The program is open to any HPU student and offers extensive support to students with learning differences as well as those who want to organize and improve their academic abilities. A student does not have to be in academic trouble to access the service. It can be used by any student who wants to achieve at her highest level.  Learning Excellence develops a learning action plan specific to each student so she receives the personalized attention and encouragement needed.

As we have suggested many times, the University asks faculty to be the last ones out of a classroom and be assertive with students as the exit to be sure they understand the materials covered. Learning is not just a selling point but a promise at HPU. This is just an additional customer service that helps assure students succeed. 

These are all academic customer services that can be implemented at any school that wants to be more successful. These are a large part of HPU’s success though the free ice cream, live music and student concierge get most of the attention. They too are obviously customer service that make High Point a university that students want to stay in. The total package makes the students believe they are receiving a full return on their investment.

And does it prove that academic customer service works?
An 11.6% jump in graduation rates
Enrollment increasing by 2,850 students
A 31% increase in applications
A more talented student body
3 new academic schools
46 new buildings
A reinvigorated campus
A jump of 15 places in the US News Report rankings to be ranked number 1
A better and greater revenue stream to afford new initiatives and growth
And national recognition for the University…

I’d say that academic customer service works very well indeed!

For more on customer service's benefits to an institution, get a copy of 
Neal Raisman is the president of NRaisman & Associates, the leading provider of academic customer service for increased retention training and consulting