Students at Royal Holloway University are being encouraged to air their views on university facilities in an effort to improve student satisfaction and reduce drop-out rate.
At the beginning of October, leaflets were placed at listening posts across the University, inviting both staff and students to text in their feedback using a short code relating to the area they are ranting or raving about (e.g. RHFOOD, RHLIBRARY, RHHALLS).
Mike Johnson, Director of Student Experience at Royal Holloway University commented: “Our main aim is to help students get the best out of their years at Royal Holloway, and that’s not just through their academia but in their social and extra-curricular lives too. We want to find out what is being said by students in the pub, the gym, the library or in the Students’ Union so we’ve made it as easy as possible for them to text in their thoughts and we can react to them and fix any problems that we just don’t know about.
“We don’t expect it to be just students that text in; students are there 30 weeks of the year while staff are there 50 weeks so I’m sure they will have just as much, if not more, to say about the facilities.”
Royal Holloway have partnered with Customer Engagement company, Rant & Rave, to introduce the solution through BME Solutions. Whenever someone texts in their feedback, it is analysed in real-time using text analysis and uploaded onto a dashboard which University staff can log into to view trends, themes and anything that needs addressing. By looking at the feedback they can clearly see what students don’t like about the University, and what they love.
Dennis Fois, CEO of Rant & Rave says: “By inviting students to send a simple text with their feedback they’ll be able to find out where they’re going right, or wrong – so if they don’t like the food at the canteen, this can be addressed, if the student union’s Saturday night offering isn’t up to scratch, they can re-think this, if there’s recurring problems with halls or residence, this can be recognised. Even better is that students can text in anonymously if they like so they have the freedom to say whatever they like.”
The BBC recently found that total academic appeals and complaints rose by 10% in 2012-2013 compared with 2010-2011.
Mike concludes: “In six months’ time we will have thousands of pieces of feedback that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. It’s this feedback that is going to arm us with the knowledge to make the University a better place to study, work and have fun in!”
Image credit: Royal Holloway University