Every customer values convenience, and students are no different.
We expect our service provider to be responsive, give us the information as and when needed, and let us manage our own engagement. If it is acceptable for us to have such expectations, then what’s wrong in students having the same from their education provider?
According to Jack Chen, Former Chief Information Officer at Adelphi University, students today behave like customers and—like everyone else—want on-demand access to information and service.
“Given that students can easily and quickly transfer bank funds or purchase an airline ticket, it is understandable that they want on-demand academic information,” he said in an interview with The EvoLLLution.
“A college student’s life does not fit neatly into the traditional 9-to-5 hours of administrative offices. Outside of those hours, a student might need a waiver to switch a class, request a transcript, file for graduation or address an outstanding payment. Even during those hours, a student would prefer to access the information on a cell phone while taking a break from studying rather than wait on a line.”
Meeting these expectations is easier said than done. You cannot do it with the right culture, people and processes alone. You need modern systems too.
But if you are already using technology, you may wonder why you need more?
The truth is that most education systems were designed to help schools serve “traditional” 18-24-year old students. Traditional systems—whether an ERP, a student information management system, or a number of specialized systems that manage different program aspects such as financials or access to courses—were intended to modernize paper-based processes for staff. They weren’t designed with the student experience, and don’t respect students’ experience as customers outside the institution.
Traditional approaches to institutional management complicate processes than simplifying them. With so many and disparate software solutions in place, staff are forced to bring together numerous systems manually and paper over gaps with inefficient quick fixes. As a result, students end up having to log into multiple systems or running from one university department to another to register, request transcripts or even pay fees.
None of this exemplifies a great experience.
In her article on The EvoLLLution, A. Sasha Thackaberry, Vice Provost for Digital and Continuing Education at Louisiana State University, discussed the misconception associated with using traditional systems to meet the modern demands of traditional and post-traditional learners.
“The unfortunate truth is that most institutions are ill-prepared to be student-centric. The infrastructure of a traditional college or university has typically developed over decades and involves the mythology of policy and practice, grounded in the limitations of systems and laws,” she wrote.
“These institutions were not designed to be student-centric; they were designed to work for their mission during those moments in their development when decisions were made. Those decisions lasted, often far beyond their original rationale. Like urban legends, they became the collective truth that feels known.”
Students today expect a seamless experience. The get bogged down by administrative red tape. They also prefer more control in their hands as it allows them to manage their own time and pace their learning.
Thankfully, there are efficient means available to foster an exceptional experience for your students. You can begin by exploring a student-centric system such as Destiny One Student Lifecycle Management software platform. Destiny One lets you offer your students with a streamlined experience that is built on best practices of the eCommerce industry, which has been recognized universally for its commitment to create a top-notch customer experience.
With Destiny One in place, students are no longer required to log into multiple systems and can manage most of the administrative tasks–reviewing course information, registering for programs, paying fees, ordering transcripts–themselves. The software has been built from grounds up keeping in minds the needs and experiences of modern learners. It’s features—from the digital shopping cart to online credit card payment processing—let you provide your learners with a simple and secure registration experience.
Prioritizing the student has become more important today than ever before. Students have high expectations of universities when it comes to the information they receive and how they receive it. For postsecondary leaders, this poses a unique challenge, but they can overcome it by adopting a system designed specifically to serve non-traditional learners.
Learn more about setting your continuing education division up for success using a purpose-built system–Destiny One–in our paper here.