Loughborough University has embraced the rapidly developing service culture in higher education with an early-warning system to handle complaints and inquiries.
Janet Ireland, customer services manager at Loughborough, said that the university's service record was excellent but student expectations were now very high and rising all the time.
"They, or their parents, are paying for it now and expect a level of service that matches what they are promised in our literature," she said.
Students and other customers at Loughborough can now have a rapid response to their service inquiries. The residential organisation at the university has chosen the specialist customer feedback management system Charter 2000 to handle inquiries relating to its retail outlets, bars, cafes and halls of residence.
The installation is part of a larger campaign to make the organisation more customer focused. Service inquiries from Loughborough's 10,000-plus students will be logged on the knowledge-management system. The residential organisation will then be able to access all the information centrally and will be prompted by the software to follow up and respond to all inquiries within 48 hours.
Students seeking information or wanting to raise a concern about any of the university's facilities can call the customer services desk in the residential organisation.
Calls are logged on a reporting database, and inquiries are prioritised to ensure that serious cases are handled first. The university will also use Business Objects reporting system applications to analyse the data.
Ms Ireland said: "Students come to us with all sorts of inquiries, concerns and sometimes suggestions. Their opinions help shape the service we provide. Charter 2000 will help us manage their feedback and respond to them faster.
"It will also help us to spot trends in the inquiries and handle issues such as any delays in maintenance work and service problems proactively," she added.