The “it” I’m referring to is poor customer service. On the plus side my bad experience provides the perfect opportunity to offer an important reminder as you continue to assemble your next class of students.
Last week I had an appointment set up with an auto glass company to replace the windshield on my wife’s car. As you can see in the picture to the left, those pesky rocks got her again during a recent drive in to work.
The company had given me a window of 8am-12pm to do the repair. A little after 9:00 on the day of, I got a call telling me that they’d have to reschedule for later in the week because the windshield was still in Kentucky…annoying, right. Unfortunately, it gets worse.
Three days later the technician arrived to finally do the repair, and within minutes he gave me a look that I knew wasn’t good. My wife’s car has rain sensor wipers and the replacement windshield in his truck was the wrong one.
At this point I was 0 for 2, but what really frustrated me was the fact that less than a year ago the same company had replaced the same windshield on my wife’s car for the same reason…meaning they knew the exact specs, and this was a clear case of poor communication somewhere along the line.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the company (including the technician) has yet to apologize for their mistake. They’ve rescheduled me (again) for tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll show up with the correct part, although I have yet to receive any sort of confirmation or reminder of tomorrow’s appointment.
Situations like this happen all the time in business. They also happen during the college search process with poor (or lack of) communication almost always being the reason. I’m sure you could give me a personal example if I asked you for one. Think for just a quick second about how you felt in that situation and how it affected your view of that company, a specific person, or a particular store location. You might have even voiced your anger to family, friends, or through one of the oh-so-public social media platforms.
Now I want you to think about the miscommunications and mistakes (even the little ones) that occur with students and families during a typical recruiting cycle. They’re going to happen because none of us is perfect. But how many of them could be avoided with better communication or collaboration within not only your admissions team but also other departments and colleagues on campus? I think we can both agree that the answer is “a lot!”
Here are some common communication mistakes that I continue to hear/read about in my travels. Some can be embarrassing while others can have more serious consequences:
- Sending an email, letter, or text message without checking it
- Assuming that a message has been understood
- Assuming that a student/family knows all the different steps to take during the college search process
- Assuming that when a conversation happens between an admissions counselor and a student (ex. financial aid), the student will immediately relay all that information to their parent(s)
- Admissions counselors and coaches spending time on the same task because both assume the other won’t do it correctly
- Student tour guides or ambassadors bringing up talking points (and questions) during a tour that have already been discussed or answered by their admissions counselor
- Not asking the parent(s) how their child’s college search process is affecting them
- Doing more talking when you should be listening
When a mistake or miscommunication occurs, here are three important things I would recommend you do:
- Admit your mistake
- Apologize sincerely
- Come up with a solution (and make sure the other person is in agreement)
If you’re still questioning whether or not all of this is really that important, let me remind you that Dan (Tudor) and I have massive amounts of student survey data which continue to show that superior customer service by a college’s admissions staff (and other departments on campus) significantly impacts a student’s final decision in a positive way.
Let me know if today’s article was helpful. And if you did enjoy it, please share it with your colleagues or consider bringing this topic up at your next staff meeting. It really is that important!