As institutions can now charge students up to £9,000 a year for their tuition alone, students are expecting a far greater level of service than in previous generations.
To meet this demand, the University of Birmingham is creating a Student Hub in a remodelled block of its historic Aston Webb building.
This hub will bring together both physical and virtual services and the University is using KANA Software to create the virtual side of the hub.
The new student information system enables students to self-serve, freeing up the student advisory staff to spend more time on face-to-face contact. There is also the ability for students to queue virtually, allowing them to view, book and manage appointments online.
The hub will bring currently unconnected teams together as a central integrated service, with the ability to answer a far greater range of queries at the first point of contact.
The new hub will support all existing channels whilst allowing students to interact with student services via mobile and online methods.The integrated services will include: Student Enquiry Services, Student Funding Office (SFO), International Student Advisory Service (ISAS), Student Records, Careers Network and Student Support.
The redeveloped building and co-located services are due to open to students in summer 2015 – although services to students currently offered will be uninterrupted.
Chris Twine, director of student services at the University of Birmingham said: ‘We need a system which will give students the ability to serve themselves where necessary and to resolve as many enquiries as possible at the first point of contact.
“This new system also enables us to be even more efficient by directing resources to where they are most needed. In this way, we can look at the peaks and troughs of student demand which gives us the ability to plan resources well in advance.’
David Moody, head of worldwide product development, KANA Software said:â€¨’Modern students are technically savvy and will be used to dealing with large service organisations such as retailers and banks from a young age. As such, students have high expectations, are extremely mobile and need to be treated as mature customers. Universities such as Birmingham are at the forefront of this new service standard.”