July 31, 2017

FE Customer Service

Customer Service: Charging extra for a knife and fork is not good.

Charging extra for a knife and fork is not good customer service

The Biggest Single Difference Between Outstanding and Poor Providers is Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction

In a recent featured article on FE News we explored how the UK supermarkets that were growing sales market share fastest also topped the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI).

There is a direction correlation between customer satisfaction/service and business performance.

What successful providers understand is that customer service is not the remit solely of the student services/customer services team. Everyone has a part to play in providing good customer service. For example the speed in which assignments are marked and returned are part of customer service. Staff punctuality is part of customer service. The speed at which enquiries, by phone, letter or email, are answered is part of the required service level. Getting interview dates and exam results out on time is also part of service level expected by customers. The quality of food and service offered in the refectory is part of customers’ service expectation.

So imagine what happens when emails are not promptly answered, when students have to email chasing interview dates or exam results. Imagine the annoyance and frustration students encounter when staff are late for classes or when students are charged 10p for a plastic knife and fork in the refectory. Sadly these are all real examples of problems we encountered with providers.

However we also experienced very good service from staff and managers that felt empowered  and were able to provide top-level customer service.


The 30 FE Customer Service Standards

When mystery shopping we use 30 standards we have developed as a measure of expected service levels. These standards are not hard to meet but significantly impact service levels .. and the mindset of staff.

In many cases a small change to a present process can make a huge difference. For example some providers now use online chat software to handle some enquiries. But because they only staff this during office hours a lot of inquirers aren’t answered for a considerable time. By simply changing the chat software to one that includes AI, and is capable of automatically answering 30-50% of queries without human intervention, customer satisfaction can go through the roof.



You can read more about our thinking on this site and on ProviderMasterMind.com