Education | Customer Service Solutions, Inc. - Page 8

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

Investigate for FACTS - 7/12/22


Sometimes the issues that we deal with don’t have an immediate resolution.  There’s unknown information and conflicting stories.  Many individuals are involved, or possibly whoever is involved is not available.  You have to investigate. For situations where you have to be clear on what occurred, make sure you’re gathering all Read more

Become a Great Teacher - 7/5/22


Are you one of those people who really liked school?  School is always made more enjoyable by great teachers and professors. Do you love sports?  Many coaches in football and basketball, in hockey and baseball view themselves as teachers…teaching the game they love to their team. True leadership is about growing Read more

Don’t Assume Their Motivation - 6/28/22


The company was instituting new human resources policies aimed at holding employees accountable for being late to work.  Employee lateness had been rising, and management wanted to make sure they reinforced the need for people to be on time. At a meeting to roll out the new policies, a leader Read more

It’s Not Always About the Outcome - 6/21/22


We want the satisfied customer.  We want the issue resolved.  We want to be able to fix the error or save the client.  We want to feel good coming out of a conversation, or feel like we have accomplished something special.  We want the “win win.” But all those great Read more

Ask: What is your goal? - 6/14/22


Through these Tips, we’ve shared our technique about how to meet the customer’s need right the first time.  It’s a conversation – a give and take with the customer where you hone in on what their true need or concern is, seeking more clarity to more quickly get to Read more

Make it Sincerely Yours - 6/7/22


I’d like to hear more.  I’m sorry about the situation.  Resolving your issue is important to me.  We appreciate your business.  Thank you for bringing this to my attention. These phrases are generally well-received depending on the situation.  But we want to make sure when we’re speaking to others that Read more

Student Retention Solution – The Four Cornerstones of Retention-based Research

Posted on in Business Advice, Education 1 Comment

Western Illinois University wants to retain more of its students. Particularly for first year students, a WGEM.com article notes that “More than a third of Western Illinois University’s freshman last year didn’t come back for their sophomore year.” So their answer is that they implemented a new mentoring program – Building Connections. This program taps into faculty and staff to volunteer to mentor incoming Freshmen.

Now whether the program is highly successful or not depends on many things; consider these questions. What’s in it long-term for the “volunteer” staff to fully participate? How well-trained are the staff? Do the students even want a faculty/staff mentor? About what will they be mentored?

But the most important question is “What’s the root cause of the problem?” The article notes that “over half of last year’s Freshman were first generation college students,” but that’s a fact, not necessarily a root cause. I hope that WIU is really digging into research to identify what are the core characteristics of those who do not return v. those who do. The research needs to be based on their historical data, the perceptions of their incoming Freshmen, their current students, and those that left. These are the Four Cornerstones of Retention-based Research.

In other words, I hope they use data to point them toward the right solutions.

When you’re dealing with retention issues, you most likely have a myriad of data on customers who were retained and those who weren’t. Use that as the starting to point to get at the true root cause.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

Interested in our Education Industry services? See more at http://cssamerica.com/cssed.htm


Making Student Retention a Real Focus

Posted on in Business Advice, Education 1 Comment

Vincent Tinto, a Syracuse University professor, recently wrote a paper on Taking Student Retention Seriously. In the paper, he laments that most colleges/universities don’t take effective approaches to improving student retention. They too often think of a new program, a new activity, and a new offering to increase retention. Unfortunately, many of these new ideas result in “student experiences [which] are increasingly segmented into smaller and smaller pieces; their relationships with faculty, staff, and each other becoming more narrow and specialized; their learning further partitioned into smaller disconnected segments.”

So what does Tinto recommend? He suggests the need to create these 5 conditions which are supportive of Student Retention:

  • When students are expected to succeed, they are more likely to succeed. Success leads to retention.
  • When students are provided clear and consistent communications about requirements and advising on how to progress toward their goals, they are more likely to succeed.
  • When students receive “academic, social and personal support,” they are more likely to stay.
  • When students are involved “as valued members of the institution,” they are more likely to stay.
  • When students are in “settings that foster learning,” they are more likely to succeed and stay.

Tinto focuses on getting at the root cause of issues before defining the required action plans. But many organizations – when faced with customer or employee (or student) retention issues – often jump from symptom-to-solution. They offer the next great idea du jour…and hope it works.

Try to avoid jumping from symptom-to-solution. If you’re having student/customer/employee retention issues, get to the root cause first.

Find what makes students stick with you.

Check out our Education Industry Services: http://cssamerica.com/cssed.htm


Of Napoleon and University Retention…

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Apparently Napoleon and today’s higher education system have something in common…really.

According to Associate Provost for Curriculum Gregory Heileman from the University of New Mexico in the article ASUNM talks retention rates, “Student retention and graduation rates are similar to Napoleon’s march from Paris to Moscow in 1812. It started out with 400,000 soldiers but ended with only 10,000 soldiers.”

The point is – many students come in, but comparatively few graduate. Based on enrollment data from 2005-11, only 45% of students who had first enrolled in 2005 had graduated by 2011.

To resolve this, UNM plans to modify courses that have high failure rates to enable all students to “choose the pace of the course.” This teeters on the brink of lowering standards (or at least expectations) to make sure people keep moving through the system, but UNM assures that they “won’t let you move forward without knowing a concept.”

What else is interesting in the article is that the #1 cause of student loss if the cost of the education, but the main tactic being employed to address this is offering more extended pay plans.

It seems like UNM has decided not to focus on ways to build value but is instead trying to remove the near-term causes of pain (i.e., failing a class or having a higher short-term tuition payment). While these might concepts work to a point, they primarily support the philosophy of making things easier for the student as opposed to making the experience better or facilitating the student’s academic growth.

So let’s broaden this topic to ask a key question – What would you do if your customers were leaving because of an issue with a product or because of the product’s cost?

Would you look to build value or just extend payment terms? Would you look to make the experience better for the customer or remove their hassles? These are tough questions because a university which understands its role fully realizes it needs to grow the person (their willingness to take on challenges, be responsible, and hold themselves accountable) as it helps to build the student’s knowledge and abilities. Most other businesses aren’t trying to effect core changes in the makeup of their customers – such as making them more responsible or accountable.

So this is the approach that UNM is taking. What do you think of it?

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/