We are a self-service society, especially Millennials. Born between 1980 and 2000, this generation prizes digital self-service more than ever before. Statistics show 72.5% of Millennials prefer a website for information over a call center. Since Millennials comprise most of the student body – 87% of public and private nonprofit institutions in 2011 – it’s time schools start paying attention to the habits and expectations of this powerful population.
Self-service is no longer the wave of the future; it’s the obligation of the present. Here’s why your college must invest in self-service options for students:
Self-service Matches Expectations.
People are not accustomed to waiting for information. Gone are the days when schools can disseminate information and take student submissions only during regular business hours on weekdays. Businesses are using software and other technology to operate 24/7, and students expect schools to do the same. Your school must keep up with established norms and expectations of technology. Potential students will not wait for you. Best case scenario, students will create software to meet their needs. Worst case, they’ll leave you for a school that is technologically relevant.
Self-service Saves Time.
I’ll concede that some things cannot be rushed – a fine wine, an artistic masterpiece, and the completion of cumbersome processes like verification. Until now. While we haven’t come up with a software to quicken wine aging, the student self-service platform StudentVerification enables students, parents and schools to complete verification much faster while maintaining accuracy and compliance. In fact, on average, schools using StudentVerification notice a 60-90% reduced verification processing time. That’s the power of student self-service.
Self-service Knows No Boundaries.
Self-service software puts your school in your students’ pockets, purses and backpacks. You go where they go. They can submit documents and complete processes anywhere, anytime and on any device. If you could put a price tag on that kind of convenience, students would gladly pay it.
One California community college did put a price on it. Due to the efficiency generated by StudentVerification, the school was able to reallocate five of the eight people who normally handle verification to more important student-facing counseling. That means the operational costs of verification processing dropped by more than 60%. That doesn’t even factor in the priceless commodity of an improved student experience and less frustrated staff.
Self-service Reduces Costs.
Human resources, another paperwork heavy industry, has also been revolutionized through software implementation. One company utilized a self-service approach to cut the cost of customer interactions from 35 dollars (over the phone) to 75 cents (online). While we do not advocate completely removing the phone and in-person counseling experience, we suggest your staff can be better utilized actually advising students on how to afford college rather than calling with repeat requests for documents and fielding FAFSA verification questions.
Self-service is Paramount.
Think of how self-service currently factors into your life. In any given week, you probably use self-checkout at the grocery store, mobile upload to deposit checks and an ATM to withdraw money, card reader at the gas pump to fuel up, online portals to renew car registration and order a new license and online banking or bill pay. Given the choice, would you choose another service provider who didn’t offer these self-service conveniences? If not, then why would you expect students to choose a college that doesn’t offer self-service over those that do?
For more information on StudentVerification, click the image below, visit www.StudentVerification.com or call 602.643.1345.