Aiming to end student ‘burden’
With the hopes of drastically improving their customer service to students, Wilfrid Laurier University, at the beginning of the winter semester, fully launched Service Laurier, a department devoted to one-stop enrolment service for registration, student awards, the business office and other on-campus functions.
Spearheaded by Scott Harris, manager of Service Laurier and Tom Buckley, VP: academic services, Service Laurier – located at 202 Regina – will be the initial point of contact for students who are looking to deal with various departments such as the Registrar’s office, especially when Ontario Students Assistance Program (OSAP) payouts need to be picked up.
“Hopefully it will reduce the administrative burden on students and help speed up the process as well,” explained Harris, noting that technology was one of the main focuses of the new project.
While the new department doesn’t replace other departments, it just allows students to get their questions answered in one point of contact in a quick and timely fashion, rather than jumping from one department to another.
“So the way it works now, when we have a student come to us for instance, we hope to solve 95 per cent of the inquires we get, but there will that five per cent that will be beyond our scope that we don’t have the answers for,” continued Harris.
“So our role is to connect with those subject matter experts in the other areas so they can help solve the student’s problem as well.”
Since the project is new, much of the technological changes have not yet been implemented, but, according to Harris, changes will occur that will make the experience more efficient and less frustrating. A self-service desk and an electronic queue system will hopefully get rid of excessive lines, and students can wait in chairs rather than stand.
As well, Harris hopes to implement a webcam streaming service that will allow students view how long the line in 202 Regina is from home.
“There’s nothing worse than when you show up somewhere and there’s a million people waiting,” added Harris, noting that these advancements in technology will help the office collect data on how they can make the process quicker and more efficient.
Though a new initiative to Laurier, most of the ideas were taken from other universities from North America.
“The one-stop enrolment model is recognized as best in class. It’s more efficient for the operation and more importantly, it’s more efficient for the students,” explained Buckley.
Harris echoed Buckley’s sentiment, “We’re really focused on best practices, we don’t feel like we have to re-invent the wheel.”
The mandate of the new department was to create a more efficient environment, but as Buckley points out, Laurier didn’t considering doing this to save money. “It will save time, but what is primarily driving this is convenience for students and overall process improvement, it’s not being done on a price point.”
Along with electronically supplying transcripts as well as PIN resets via Loris, Harris hopes to expand Service Laurier to variety different departments on campus — so that students have one place to go for assistance.
“It’s up to us to go out and collaborate,” he said.