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Does Customer Experience Matter in the Education Sector?

In the past decade, companies like Amazon, Expedia, Lloyds Bank and British Airways have invested millions of pounds in Customer Experience in an effort to attract new customers and retain existing ones. The outcome is a huge shift in customer engagement as their products are usually pretty much the same. Amazon with its ‘One Click’ buy is leading the charge with their ‘Customer First’ approach. Organisations with an aging ‘Process First’ approach are surely left standing.

A ‘Customer First’ approach is surely the way forward, as proven by Amazon, especially with the 18 – 45 aged bracket. It shows the customer that the organisation is in touch with their needs which in return, creates loyalty and a recognition of brand values. As a measurement, Amazon’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) is 50% higher than Macy’s in the US*. Why does NPS matter? Because, it measures how likely a customer will recommend your product or service.



I was updated regularly via SMS, I had a web portal to self-manage my application and to upload any documents.


The UK Education Sector as a whole is still behind the eCommerce and Retail sectors in terms of Customer Engagement (or should I say, Student Engagement?). The student application process is a prime example of this: There are multiple forms for various disciplines, residency issues, proof of qualifications and funding considerations. The application is often spread across different communication channels (Email, print and telephone). It is often left to the student to chase up an application. Banks have the same issue, yet my recent experience with Santander was delightful. I was updated regularly via SMS, I have a web portal to self-manage my application and upload any documents. It even explains why these documents are important by linking to UK Banking legislation pages. Throughout the application, I didn’t contact the bank once. I will definitely be using their services again and recommending them.

For many education institutions, legacy processes, investment and resistance to change are primary challenges along with functional silos between Marketing and the Student Application Process. This surely must change. Students today have a growing appetite and acceptance of digitally self-managing systems through their mobile devices, and will take a dim view of institutions that do not share their digital view of the world. So, I really do think the Customer Experience is applicable to the Education Sector.

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