Changes implemented by Service Laurier
Since the summer, Wilfrid Laurier University’s enrolment services centre, Service Laurier, has undergone two significant changes which have impacted how their services are delivered to prospective and current students.
The first change, undergone this past June, deals with how service advisors respond to email and phone inquiries on all Laurier campuses, rather than having students wait for a service advisor on a preferred campus. According to Necia Martins, associate registrar for Financial Aid and Services, this helped to reduce volumes and allowed the service to focus more on emails and phone calls from students.
“What we found is we had our Brantford staff help us when at our Waterloo campus often if we were behind on emails or phones and they had more capacity so we were trying to be more efficient,” said Martins. “We did a lot of things over time, moving to the verification of enrolment online so that reduced our volumes and allowed us to pay more attention to emails and the haul of students coming in.”
Choose Laurier, the on-campus service for prospective student enquiries, has also now transitioned into Service Laurier. Since Nov. 25, Service Laurier’s service advisors have handled prospective student inquiries, but has not affected how these students can contact Choose Laurier. According to Martins, moving from Choose Laurier to Service Laurier means that any student only has one point of contact.
“We’re trying to make that smoother and also just having one point to touch base we have experts in services now that can really be more efficient; more on their game in terms of answering questions and providing exceptional services.”
According to Service Laurier, these changes reflect Enrolment Services’ goal of being an integrated department which focuses on engaging and supporting students through their university career.
“There has been a lot of changes, so we will be paying attention to what’s been going on and adapting as needed … we will review things, but as of right now [the changes] have been working. It has been a great step for us in terms of finding better service and that’s what we’re really looking at today. Like, how we can do this better for our students, making sure they’re getting what they need as quickly as possible,” Martins said.
While the changes have already been in effect, there has been some concern over how Choose Laurier, now Service Laurier, will handle the number of students, both incoming and current.
Keith Goulet, chief negotiator of the Wilfrid Laurier University Staff Association, explained how, before their transition, Choose Laurier would hire Laurier graduates to act as recruiters in various high schools during the fall term. In the winter term, when prospective students apply to the university, recruiters would receive phone calls and emails from potential students.
“As far as I know, there was three or four bodies at least to handle all of that and so what they’ve done is they’ve, in essence, taken that half of the job and they’ve told those four recruiters you’re not doing that anymore,” said Goulet. “[Service Laurier is] swamped with all of the current students you know and there’s [17,594] of them.”
While Goulet believes that if Service Laurier provides exceptional training to their employees then there should not be any issues, he is concerned as to how the service will operate and deal with the excessive workload as one team rather than three or four.
“As far as I know, they received an intense amount of training which is great because obviously we don’t want a prospective student to call Service Laurier and have these staff members not knowing the answers to their questions,” said Goulet. “There’s really not an issue with that, but more of an issue with workload and wait times and so forth.”
In response, Martins explained the service is consistently re-evaluating their operations and noted that Service Laurier is looking at a bigger timeline in order to accommodate to any type of student on the Laurier campuses.
“We’re definitely very mindful of all our peaks and points in terms of services and when students really want those timely services. We’re trying to find ways to do it better so we’re very cautious of all those pieces,” Martins said.