One-Stop Student Surveys

Survey Button shutterstock_126727526-1Today’s college students grew up in an always-on, on-demand digital environment. They’ve developed exceptional filters, sorting through multiple screens and dense data easily. One-Stop Enrollment Services, which lets students apply for financial aid, set up payment plans, sign up for classes, and more — all in one place — is ideal for them. They can extract valuable information and move among related topics and actions fluidly, in-person, on the web, on the phone, or via mobile.

No matter who you are, these Gen Z college students expect you’ve taken notes on customer service from Apple, Amazon, and Zappos. Among other things, this means a satisfaction survey after every interaction. Send a thank you for using One-Stop and ask them how you did, every time.

According to PC Magazine, the best online survey tools include Survey Monkey, Get Feedback, and Survey Gizmo (but there are many others). The survey should be simple and fast; students will consider the survey part of the experience you’re looking to evaluate, so make sure questions aren’t inauthentic or boilerplate. Make sure your questions reflect their priorities. “Did you get the information you wanted? Did you accomplish what you came to do?”

The more questions you ask, the less time students will spend answering each one. So for the quality and reliability of results, keep it very short. Remember Snapchat’s 10-second story limit, and  Gen Z’s average attention span of 8-seconds. You can’t really do a survey that takes seconds, but time-to-complete is everything. There is no magic number, but for customer satisfaction surveys, best practice is to ask less than five minutes of your respondents’ time.

Online tools like Survey Gizmo and Survey Monkey help you learn how long your survey will take, how fatiguing it is to complete, and how to improve it. Want to A/B test different surveys, different questions, even different time-to-completes? You can. No matter what you do, it’s a good idea to have a human being take it, so you can see how you’re doing first hand.

At the end of your survey, consider leaving room for open-ended input. There’s no greater way to win good feelings than to let this demographic know you’re really interested in what they have to say. They’ll invest the time in important, beneficial experiences.

Once or twice a year you may want to field a longer survey of all students. Don’t be afraid of a 10-minute completion time if you offer an incentive to complete the survey like a Starbucks gift card or a prepaid phone card.  Can’t afford that? Make the incentive richer and make it a drawing.

If you’re going to collect and quantify data, circulate the insights to your staff. And then, don't forget  to make someone responsible for putting the information to good use. Consider grouping the student responses into three buckets: satisfied, neutral, and at-risk. Get to the unsatisfied, at-risk students fast. Be personal, address their problems, and thank them. They will expect it.

Your “customers” are part of a generation that’s empowered on an unprecedented level. They’re unafraid of even the largest corporations and institutions, and dissatisfaction is increasingly dangerous. You may have a lot of facts about your students, but use One-Stop Enrollment surveys to understand their thoughts, emotions, and states of mind that you produce — and maybe even shape them.


Tuition Management Systems (TMS) is the sponsor of this post. The sources who contributed ideas to this post do not endorse or recommend any commercial products or services, including those of TMS.  All information and opinions of the contributors are provided for informational purposes only.  As with any other service you seek, the recipient of the information is responsible for conducting appropriate research and making relevant decisions.  TMS neither endorses, has any responsibility for, nor exercises control over the views of any contributor to this article or the accuracy of the information provided by any of them.

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