What is student feedback worth?

What is student feedback worth?


Student feedback can be quantified. You just have to know how to connect the dots.

As with any business, a college or university calculates what it costs to acquire a new student, retain an existing student, or lose a student. And while these numbers will vary from institution to institution, something all schools have in common is that these numbers alert them to areas of success and other areas that may require attention.

Importantly, the satisfaction with the auxiliary services offered on college campuses often influences overall student satisfaction. It is because of student acquisition, retention, and attrition costs that colleges and universities can identify opportunities and prioritize future spending on things like housing amenities, dining options, classroom technology, facilities upgrades, and so forth.

While this article won’t address every single line item of what colleges and universities spend to deliver a quality education and student experience, it will demonstrate the role student feedback plays to inform key business decisions.

Information informs action. Here’s how to measure student satisfaction and what student feedback is worth.

1. Identify the Gaps

Even if you have a customer success strategy in place, knowing which areas of campus operations aren’t delivering the highest satisfaction levels is a good place to prioritize a concentrated student feedback system. Feedback for the sake of feedback isn’t likely to produce the highest benefit if you can’t address potential issues that get raised; therefore, focus on the gaps that demand your attention, and you can respond to, and build out from there.

Related content: How to Determine Which Areas of Auxiliary Services Need Real-Time Feedback

2. Outline Goals

Once you’re ready to start collecting additional data you are prepared to act on, be sure to document the goals for your feedback acquisition. What are you hoping to accomplish with the new information you elicit? For many colleges and universities, goals can range from improving retention rates (from the enrollment level all the way to individual services offered on campus), increasing student engagement, expediting student support response times, and so forth.

3. Prepare 3 Distinct Types of Surveys

Just asking students for feedback may not be enough to provide actionable intelligence. There are different ways to measure student satisfaction. Depending on what type of satisfaction you are looking to quantify, you could:

  • Measure overall customer satisfaction of their experience (CSAT).

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is the most commonly used satisfaction method. To use it, just ask your students to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10 (or any scale you choose). This is especially helpful to use for the auxiliary services on campus that your students use daily.

Related content: 15 Questions You Need to Ask on Your Next Customer Feedback Survey

  • Measure customer effort for how easy something was for your student to do something (CES).

Measuring customer effort will tell you how good you are at solving your students’ problems. For instance, campuses that offer a way for students to report an issue with unstaffed services like restrooms, parking, or vending machines could (and should) find out how well they are doing at solving reported issues.

  • Measure Net Promoter Score (NPS) [i], which lets you know how likely your students are to make a recommendation.

If you want your current students to recommend your college or university to their friends or you want current students to support a service on campus, this type of survey will tell you how loyal your students are.

Based on the data you collect from your feedback surveys, you can then begin to make adjustments and improvements to serve your customer base of students better. How you address your findings can have a powerful impact on the choices students make from attending your college to recommending a dining plan to another student. The weight placed on student satisfaction is entirely personal to each institution, but the role student feedback plays in helping to quantify student satisfaction is worth its weight in gold.

[i] Net Promoter Score, NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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