The world of higher education is a business. Leaders may not like to view it that way, but with the tremendous revenue streams they receive, the scope of operations, and the vast size of the campuses, Education truly is an industry with major business and financial considerations.
Many professors have trouble viewing a student as a customer, and, likewise, many others in administrative positions have that same concern. But if we look at where revenues come from, they come from current or past students to a great extent. So it is vital to keep your students if you want to keep your revenue – that business impact of the student is what makes them a customer.
Just like many universities, colleges, and community colleges conduct research outside of their organizations, so do those same institutions need to focus on researching themselves. There are ways to predict which students are most at-risk of dropping out or leaving. There are ways to anticipate which students are having problems which are precursors to their exit. There are ways to identify what is driving student retention and growth.
Institutions of higher learning need to take a view of customer service which is research-based, data-driven, internally-focused, and predictive in nature. If these educational organizations want to succeed long-term, they need to have a student retention and growth strategy which acquires intelligence on the students and leverages its own research capabilities or the research services of outside experts to predict retention.
Educational institutions that understand this need will not have to spend so much energy and time to find high quality new students to replace those they lost. They won’t have to make the efforts in the admissions process to attract more students and the tuition and other fees that come with them.
Instead, they will form the organizational structures and research processes that will lead them to systematically build relationships with students, identify their most at-risk students, and proactively and effectively take the action they need to retain those students.
Institutions of higher learning need to research inward to continue to effectively grow.