Contributed by Zhou Qi, Office of Quality Management
A team consisting of 11 members from the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) and the Office of Quality Management (OQM) visited the Student Service Centre at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on 21 July 2011. The visit is part of a benchmarking project which aims to improve and enhance student services activities at the Student Service Centre in NUS, as well as to seek ideas on student service centre design and student engagement.
Mr Lim Boon Kiat (Deputy Director, NTU Student Affairs Office) shared the pros and cons, as well as potential challenges for setting up a one-stop student service centre, based on his experience gained in a US study trip on integrating student services. Ms Ong Poh Suan (Associate Director, OSA) shared that she learned about the use of signage, as well as the use of up-lights and down-lights in student service centre design. The use of free self-service printers also drew the team’s attention. Rather than using numbers, the discussion rooms at NTU-Career and Attachment Office were named as “Savvy – Knowledge and Ability”, “Strategy – Plan and Tactic”, and “Sagacity – Intelligence and Wisdom”. The team also noticed the use of large modern display panels to distribute information to students. Some of the panels at the waiting areas were used to display interesting information such as “Famous Birthdays for the day”.
Post-visit discussions were held to identify potential areas for improvement at OSA. These are summarised below.
- Provide pictorial instructions/checklist to students before they are being served at the service counter. This could better prepare the students with the materials needed for the service request.
- Design two tiers of counter services. The first tier deals with the basic and standard requests while the second tier deals with complex and ad-hoc requests. This could resolve the “service jam” caused by the complex and ad-hoc requests.
- Utilise unique number such as matriculation number or mobile phone number to facilitate service information collection (students no need to input personal information to complete feedback forms)
- Install different tone of lighting at different service sections;
- Provide private discussion rooms for handling sensitive matters, such as counselling, feedback, appeals, etc;
- Consider different shapes of counter design;
- Adapt best practices in service environment design.
Potential New services
- Introduce induction orientation service for international students. Organise events and provide opportunities to new students for consultation with senior students;
- Introduce self-service facilities to provide information/services on student counselling, travel/health insurance, career services, etc;
- Centralise registration, booking, and payment systems for student organisations’ events, workshops, sports and recreation activities, etc into ONE location;
- Consider using new technology to obtain feedback from students, e.g., service feedback via SMS.
- Set up performance measurement and tracking system to measure service transaction time, turnaround time, cost per transaction etc.