College Planning & Management

JUN 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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The third metric is time with the customer. Here, if you set benchmarks for duration and general time with the customer, it should be in relation to the ultimate goal of frst-time resolution, as a satisfed customer not requiring follow-up is preferred to a speedy but unresolved interaction. The last metric is "churn." Lyon says: "If you don't know how much business you are losing, you won't be able to understand how much new business you will require to stay out of the red." She recommends using follow-up surveys, phone calls, and personalized emails for understanding lost business. Administrators at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, VA, do an annual survey to measure customer satisfaction. The public university, which boasts 20,000 undergraduate students, outsources services with Sodexo and various franchises. For a small fee, the survey is conducted and analyzed by the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS). "I'm a big believer in measuring student customer satisfaction on our own vs. working with an independent survey provided by our contractor," says Mark Kraner, GMU's executive director for Campus Retail Operations. The survey, which includes faculty and staff opinions as a subset, allows administrators to see from year to year how well they're meeting their customers' expectations. Plus, the survey has the ability to aggregate the scores against other schools to see how GMU compares to its peer schools and other schools in the area. Take Action But the most functional part of the survey is that it allows Kraner to put plans in place to address customers' issues. "Every April we create action plans based on the survey results," he describes. "We implement the plans in the fall." Lyon notes that the metrics chosen to measure performance and customer satisfaction depend on the type of business and your customer base, as observed in the differences between Walsh and GMU. So, if you're considering strengthening your measurement metrics, experiment with different ideas until you learn what works best. Then pick one or two, and measure well. "Just do it," she concludes. As the Center for College Affordability's article points out, outsourcing services and functions allows institutions of higher education to better focus on education. Outsourcing requires periodic measuring of your performance and customer satisfaction. The above fve metrics can help you start the process. CPM Delivering Solutions to Facility Supplies xpedx, a business of International Paper © 2013 JUNE 2013 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 33

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