How Top Universities Collect Feedback to Improve Student Experience

From admission to graduation, investing in a positive student experience is one of the ways that top universities stay competitive. Collecting feedback from students is an important part of this investment—without it, universities risk misdirecting funds and overlooking improvements that students are calling for. But in order for feedback to have an impact, it’s important to have the right system in place for collecting it. Below are three core principles for collecting useful feedback that top educational institutions follow, and examples of how the University of Warwick and the University of Glasgow used ViewPoint feedback kiosks in the process.

Principle #1: Simplify and Centralise Data

Large campuses and multiple levels of management can make universities prone to information silos, where the data that’s collected is kept localised to its department. This becomes a problem when it’s time to respond to feedback, because information silos can obscure the big picture. Complex administrative processes can also result in analysis paralysis, where the administrative focus is directed more towards analysing data than it is on acting on the results.

The solution? Make sure you have a system to simplify and centralise the data you collect. Centralised data gives leadership a top-down perspective so they can address the issues that are most pressing. Simple data frees leadership up to act on feedback instead of spending all their efforts trying to parse it.

The University of Warwick linked ViewPoint’s real-time feedback kiosks with student identity cards, so students could swipe their ID when responding to a survey. The result were simple metrics that were automatically available to leadership. Using ViewPoint’s dashboards also helped the university regularly refine and improve its offerings, acting quickly to prevent issues from escalating further.

"Whilst the feedback will be anonymised, it will be interesting to look at the satisfaction levels across the demographics e.g. between first and final year students.” Potter continued: “Accurate and swift gathering of feedback in our cafes, bars, restaurants and shops is embedded in our continuous improvement programme. We’re already seeing the benefits – for example some of our value items needed to be more visible. ViewPoint’s solution was quick to install and is giving us a wealth of data which we are using to drive ongoing improvements.”

Mark Potter, the University of Warwick’s Head of Service Delivery Tweet

Principle #2: Respect the Student Voice

Competition is fierce for a top spot on the National Student Survey—yet recent boycotts of the survey at Cambridge and Oxford suggest that many students are skeptical about whether or not their feedback is being used ethically. Objections to the survey centred around predictions that the information would only be used to increase tuition fees for schools that ranked highly. Although students may have strong opinions about what changes they’d like to see on campus, they may view surveys with skepticism. Savvy education providers collect data in ways that demonstrate they’re committed to acting on the feedback they receive.

Show students you’re listening by filling them in on what their data will be used for, or what recent survey polls showed. If their feedback results in an improvement, letting students know about it will help them feel their feedback matters and their data is respected.

The University of Glasgow has 8 feedback kiosks in 6 areas around campus: Catering, Sport, Print Services, Accommodation, and the Gift Shop. They share survey results with students via posters above the kiosks, updated monthly, and have made improvements to their commercial services based on ratings and text feedback. ViewPoint kiosks give the student body a voice that facilitates swift and direct change, rather than one that bolsters the university’s public ranking.

“ViewPoint has provided us with a platform to make informed decisions based on accurate feedback from students, staff and visitors. The free text comments have been invaluable. Whilst the rating scores have been used to formulate the customer service measurement scores (KPI's), the free text comments have given me the detail I need to talk to department heads about what actions are required. ViewPoint provide Commercial Services at the University of Glasgow with a reliable and trustworthy source of information relating to customer experience on any given day."

Callum Williamson, Business Development Manager Commercial Services, University of Glasgow

Principle #3: Plan to Adapt

Universities need to stay adaptable to weather the effects of these sea changes in the social, political, and environmental climate that surrounds them.

Although no one can know what the future holds, it’s still possible to plan to adapt. In situations where change happens quickly, gathering and responding to feedback must also happen quickly.

At the University of Glasgow, the Commercial Services Directorate could monitor feedback from all business units, but the individual units could also see the feedback and respond as needed. This multi-level approach means that management on the ground doesn’t need to wait for upper management to solve pressing issues. ViewPoint feedback also includes an integrated online survey tool, so institutions can seamlessly pivot to online questionnaires, without changing their feedback system.

Giving students a voice

Giving students a voice is an important part of giving them a positive student experience, but it requires the right approach. ViewPoint kiosks deliver accurate, actionable data that helps pinpoint exactly what students want from their campus, so big upgrades and little fixes can happen where students need them. When times change, student voices are more important than ever. ViewPoint feedback kiosks offer a quick, efficient way to hear them.

“ViewPoint’s feedback solutions have been invaluable for us to better capture, track and report on our customer’s opinion, and hence develop insights more quickly and effectively into our student, staff and customer experience. We are able to easily track our Net Promoter Scores, required for University reporting and used as KPIs for our business.

Since capturing feedback through ViewPoint, our ‘in the moment’ NPS has increased by around 15 points and has helped us to increase the number of ‘You said, we did’ moments based on our customer feedback, having a positive effect on overall satisfaction. We have been able to capture more views from our customers using both ViewPoint’s in-the-moment feedback kiosks, and their online survey tool. This in turn has given us a simple yet powerful set of consolidated, near real-time customer data to enhance the overall experience and help us make real improvements to our service offering.”

John Carter, the University of Warwick’s service Delivery Manager Tweet

About ViewPoint student survey solutions

ViewPoint helps organisations to radically improve the quality of their services. Our interactive feedback technology engages with students, employees and stakeholders to understand their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the experience they encountered.

Our unique smiley face surveys attract, engage, and encourage users to leave their thoughts. Four reasons feedback kiosks are the preferred feedback collection method:

  • Lower cost customer survey solution
  • Suitable for all environments
  • Reliable and always on
  • Highly accurate insights

 

Find out more about how real-time surveys can help you assess student and staffing issues, monitor improvements, and compare departments to deliver the best service possible.

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