I started receiving notifications from LinkedIn yesterday congratulating me on my two year anniversary at Flinders University, so I thought I would take a moment to write a short post reflecting on my time here, and on where to from here.
Well, I think its safe to call the result of this year’s Australian census, making it a much quicker call than our Federal election last month – the results are in, and the ABS lost. Lost to the point that makes the Australian cricket team’s recent performance against Sri Lanka look not all that bad in comparison.
It was, on pretty much all fronts, a train wreck.
In the first two posts of this trilogy I discussed the background of the Flinders Connect student service centre and a strategy for driving the highest value from a combination of online self-service, service centre support, and more focused interactions. In this final post, I want to explore something which sets the University context apart from that of (say) a bank, a telco or a government department.
That something is one of the goals of of all Universities: to develop strong graduate capabilities within students as a fundamental outcome of attending University.
In the first post of this trilogy I set the scene around the creation of a new student service centre, and noted that many of the enquiries answered during our first ‘peak’ period at the start of Semester 1 could have been very easily done by students online. The question I posed at the end was which enquiries could have we avoided by having them done online via self-service, and how could we have achieved that?
Before I get into proposing answers to that question I want to consider another one – why should we drive enquiries online in the first place?
Me: ‘You know you can make this purchase online and you won’t have to wait in a queue here, right?’
Student: *shrugs shoulders* ‘Yeah, but I’m here now anyway, so I might as well wait’.
This was a conversation, or a variant thereof, that I had more times than I can remember during the last week of February and first week of March this year. As you may already know, I accepted a role almost one year ago at Flinders University to lead the creation of a centralised student support centre, which went live in October last year, and which met its biggest test at the start of Semester 1 last month.
It was these many conversations that, about three weeks ago (just as the smoke was clearing from the start of semester frenetics), started off a blog post in my mind that I’ve been struggling to write ever since. It was only on the counsel of two people very close to me that I realised the post (which was seeming even more long and rambling than my usual efforts) was actually three separate posts, and should be written as such.
This post marks the first in the trilogy.