UNE wins international award for customer experience

Published 30 March 2011

gartner_awardThe University of New England (UNE), has won the Gartner and 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Award in the category of Customer Experience.

The Gartner and 1to1 Media awards programme highlights innovative organisations that make a big impact through their customer relationship strategy and achieve an unrivalled level of excellence in delivering customer experience. Winners of three other categories in the Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific region were British Telecom, Centrica-British Gas and the Turkish bank, Akbank.

As the Customer Experience category winner announced at an awards event staged in London, the University of New England successfully demonstrated to the judging panel how it has deployed a unified customer experience solution to provide outstanding customer service to students across the entire student lifecycle. This includes everything from the first point of contact with a prospective student through to graduation, post-graduate courses, and beyond.

“This award is tremendous recognition for UNE. It not only recognises the work of the Student Relationship Management (SRM)Team, but also importantly the efforts of those key student-facing departments who use the SRM system,” said Patrick Tobin, Project Director, Student Relationship Management, University of New England The members of UNE’s SRM Steering Committee have also provided invaluable strategic advice and support. UNE has achieved great results in improving its customer service experience over the past few years, and to receive an award from one of the world’s leading research and advisory organisations is a wonderful validation of our success.”

The university’s objectives evolved over time from cost-efficient enquiry management towards excellence in student support across multiple interaction channels.  To meet these objectives, UNE needed to provide: 24/7 self-service; responsive staff-assisted service; proactive, contextual support for students at various stages across the student lifecycle; and the extension of student support and collaboration using social media. The university also wanted a 360-degree view of students, giving it the capability to build a superior relationship. Student access to most of these facilities is via AskUNE.

The initiative has dramatically changed how the university interacts with students, enabling it to be more proactive through outbound marketing, lead capture and email communications. At the same time, the system is replacing paper with electronic records, and through its integration with the university’s existing records management system, is removing the need for duplication.

“Perhaps the greatest testament of success is UNE’s substantial revenue growth in the past two years, as a result of a progressive increase in UNE’s applications and enrolments, following several years of decline.  This turnaround is unlikely to have been possible without the customer experience solution,” says Tobin.

“We now have the ability to service the entire student-to-alumni lifecycle from a single system; we’ve driven significant efficiencies thanks to the online knowledgebase and system workflows; and fewer staff are required to respond to student enquiries and with a shorter turn-around time,” says Tobin.