How you can use customer value data to drive improvements

As higher education institutions face increasingly tight budgets and declining revenues, finance and admin leaders must correctly prioritize delivery of administrative services in support of strategic goals. Faced with these constraints, campus leaders recognize the need for better data about administrative unit perceptions and operations. This data not only allows campus leaders to more strategically allocate resources, but also supports their long-term planning efforts.

Previously, campus leaders focused on how to gather better efficiency and effectiveness data. However, it is equally important to secure customer value data in order to ensure administrative units align with campus needs–especially in a shared governance environment. Typically, institutions use the survey to address three primary issues:

  • Compare admin units on relative effectiveness and importance
  • Diagnose the most pressing campus constituent service needs
  • Satisfy accreditor requirements for external assessment

The customer is not always right

Traditional customer satisfaction surveys often fail to provide high-quality data or help leaders prioritize resources and improvements. There are three limitations to campus customer surveys.

1. Event specific: Customer satisfaction surveys typically follow specific service interactions, like work orders, so they fail to measure overall unit performance.

2. Negative bias: Cross-industry studies show that unhappy customers with negative experiences are more likely to share feedback, which creates a non-representative survey sample.

3. Disconnected from value: Campus constituents often provide feedback for low-priority campus resources and operations.

A more complete picture of customer value

A good survey tool possesses four key features that enable business leaders to better assess customer value provided by administrative units.

1. Two-dimensional feedback

Measures and compares customer feedback on both effectiveness and importance, provides a clearer picture of value provided and areas to prioritize.

2. Four distinct service categories

Beyond overall performance, survey questions measure units in four types of service:

  • Advising or consulting data
  • Responsiveness to inquiries and short-term work
  • Productivity and initiative
  • Communication and keeping the institution informed

3. All major admin areas assessed

Includes questions for 14 units, including audit, capital planning, facilities, HR, IT, and payroll.

4. 360-degree view across campus

Gathers feedback from a cross-section of academic and administrative leaders, including VPs, deans, admin unit directors, and business officers.

The Administrative Service Alignment Survey

To address these limitations, our Administrative Services Alignment Survey measures administrative units’ effectiveness, perceived importance, and utilization on campus.

To get a complete picture of unit performance, the full survey is distributed to a single group of campus constituents ("customer," in effect). In order to control for negative bias and give more weight to regular customers, respondents must indicate how often they utilize the services.

Discover how our survey can help you make more data-informed decisions

Most importantly, the survey asks customers to rate the importance and effectiveness of specific unit activities. This allows for a measure of overall unit value and helps leaders identify areas of under- and over-performance on campus. The graph below includes aggregated results from a customized data report, which members receive after they launch the survey.

The Survey Measures Unit Effectiveness Across Campus

An example survey analysis

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Administrative Services Alignment Tool

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