Like every other sector, the education industry is extremely competitive and experiences major challenges when times are tough. As part of this environment, DeVry University – a premier global provider of educational services – has experienced an increasingly competitive market, and the effects of a struggling global economy.
Faced with this reality, DeVry set out to redefine its customer service to both internal and external customers, as well as to students. Educating students since the early 1930s, the University focused on identifying and delivering “defining moments” to differentiate student experiences from what they might experience at a competitor university.
The mission: Through customized learning solutions, differentiate DeVry, by building memorable experiences for students, therefore making DeVry students more likely to succeed in their programs of study and recommend DeVry to others.
In short: get all faculty and staff to “own” the student experience.
Enter: DeVry’s senior leadership and AchieveGlobal.
How did they do it?
- Step One: Recognize that this big, complex, global organization could best be understood and retrained by focusing on three groups of employees: DeVry leadership, DeVry faculty, and DeVry non-faculty staff. Doing this, the training and development process became much clearer, and programs could be developed that met the needs of each audience.
- Step Two: Understand student perceptions of their interactions with DeVry on all levels.
- Step Three: Develop relevant learning materials for the three distinct groups.
While the learning materials were tailored for each internal group, there was singular focus at the strategic level. The entire customer service initiative was named Project Delight and focused on developing ways to “delight” students at every opportunity.
The results? DeVry showed marked progress in its student experience, illustrated by significant increases in DeVry’s Net Promoter Score – a measure indicating students’ likelihood to recommend the school to others. In addition, leadership, faculty and staff engagement scores increased by several points as well.
Lessons from universities are often taught in a live or virtual classroom environment. But in this case, the lesson to learn from DeVry’s development initiative is: with focus on a specific goal (building engagement) and soundly strategized initiatives, organizations can earn a much-improved customer service report card.
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida