Student-Customer Relationship: Students as Customers

Student-customer relationship refers to the relationship between students and customers, whereby students are treated as customers in education systems. Educational institutions focus on meeting or exceeding the expectations of students in order to retain them and attract more students. This is a common practice in customer service. Student-customer relationship is therefore a concept that institutions use to treat their students as customers because students are like customers who seek organisations that meet their service needs.

In this case, institutions use the principles of customer service when managing students in their institutions. Students are identified as customers in many ways. According to Turban et al (2002), customer service is enhanced through a series of activities that enable business people to achieve customer satisfaction. Similarly, institutions achieve customer satisfaction by carrying out various activities that meet the needs of students. For instance, institutions may ensure that students complete their coursework successfully by offering degree programs that are relevant in the job market. Customers prefer institutions that will provide them with courses that are demanded by various employers. Therefore, institutions ensure that they provide such courses in order to satisfy the needs of its customers, namely students.

Like customers, students also require high levels of satisfaction of their needs. One way of satisfying the needs of students is by developing relevant knowledge and skills in them. Institutions that focus on developing relevant knowledge and skills among students are likely to receive higher levels of enrollment than institutions which do not provide relevant skills and knowledge to students. Student-customer relationship entails provision of quality education in the same manner that customers are provided with quality services and products. Students need to be satisfied with their learning environment in order to show their loyalty to the institution. According to Emery et al (2001), hard work alone is not enough to make students happy about their accomplishments; instead, students are excited about the quality of education they receive in school.

There are various implications of treating students as customers. Taking good care of students like customers serves to improve their level of satisfaction and loyalty in order to improve student retention and increase student enrolment to the institution. Students are key sources of revenue for institutions; hence providing effective customer services in their learning environment will be an important way of ensuring that such sources of revenue are retained in order to ensure that there is a continuous and consistent source of revenue. Customer service in institutions of higher learning ensures that students survive and thrive in the education system so that they can continue providing revenue for the institution just in the same manner that customers provide revenue for businesses.

The relationship between students and their institutions is similar to the relationship between customers and businesses. Customer service enhances customer satisfaction and retention; hence lengthening the relationship and transactions between the students and their institutions (Bejou, 2005). Like employees in business organisations, employees in institutions attend training where they learn customer service approaches. Teachers and staff treat students as customers by being mindful, courteous, and responsive to the needs and characteristics of students. As a result, students become happy and satisfied with their stay in school.

Apart from the normal teaching and other school affairs, institutions nowadays focus on the quality of services offered to students. Education is like a service offered to customers in return of service revenue. Enhancing the quality of such a service leads to the retention of the customer, namely the student. Student-customer relationship is changing college experience because it enables students to learn or receive their education from a good environment where their needs are satisfied.

In conclusion, student-customer relationship is considered to be a concept that allows institutions to treat their students as customers by providing effective customer service which involves courtesy, mindfulness, responsiveness and overall quality of education. Customer services offered in school enhances customer satisfaction and retention just like in a business environment. Retaining students means that the relationship between the students and the institution is strengthened in order to enhance long lasting generation of income from students through education fees. Treating students like customers has therefore influenced college experience positively for both students and institutions by improving student satisfaction and ensuring constant revenue for the institution.

 

References list

Bejou, D. (2005, March/April). Treating students like customers. Biz Ed Magazine. Accessed June 11, 2014 from http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/Archives/marapr05-toc.asp.

Emery, C., Kramer, T., & Tian, R. (2001). Customers vs. products: Adopting an effective approach to business students. Quality Assurance in Education, 9(2), 110–115.

Turban, E., Lee, J., King, D., and Chung, H. (2002). Electronic commerce: A managerial perspective (International Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall International

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