Many progressive college leaders look to the private sector for examples of process efficiency and business management. Scores of colleges have joined professional groups and partnered with private-sector heavyweights like Disney, Apple, and the Ritz-Carlton to learn what makes them so successful. Analyzing the content of these training partnerships reveals an immense focus on teaching student services staff basic soft skills, such as acting politely, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and repeating a student’s name during interactions.
Respectful interactions during intake are essential, but staff often described these training activities as childish and, at times, condescending. Even more importantly, the training does not prepare staff to address the reason students may visit campus during intake. If a prospective student stands in line for 35 minutes with a question about the tuition and fee schedule, the quality of her overall experience is only marginally enhanced by the sunny disposition of the staff member helping her. Instead, staff can ensure positive experiences for students by reducing the amount of effort they exert to enroll—answering questions quickly and efficiently.