Overview

QLess technology allows students at Collin College to enter the online queue to speak with staff in admissions, advising, and financial aid concerning activities such as registering for classes, seeking academic advisory services, and applying for financial assistance.

Students no longer wait in long lines to access the services they need; instead, students arrive after receiving a summons text and complete their business quickly, using the time they save for other academic and campus activities.

“The level of satisfaction from our students has climbed significantly with the implementation of QLess,” said Doug Willis, Dean of Student Development at Collin College. “This technology provides an effortless way for students to quickly access the services they need without standing in long lines.”

Business Challenge

In 2013, Collin College purchased QLess as part of their current strategic plan to improve student satisfaction, increase staff effectiveness, and optimize workflow in administration. A key component of the plan was to eliminate the long lines and wait times for students to access services, particularly during peak registration periods.

“The administrative challenges of quickly and efficiently serving more than 50,000 students across seven locations are significant,” said Mr. Willis. “We researched solutions that could help us better deliver services and reduce wait times benefitting both the students and the college.”

In addition to reducing wait times for services, administrators wanted to better gauge student sentiment on a range of activities and experiences by boosting participation in campus surveys. Previously, despite a marketing push on campus, response to a 10-question online Snap Survey had been poor and the few responses were largely negative.

Solution

After visiting The University of Texas at Dallas to observe its successful implementation of QLess, Collin College administrators began rolling QLess out across the college’s campuses. The results were immediate – wait times were reduced and students were happier, using the time they saved to eat, study, attend class, and participate in extracurricular activities.

“We saw the difference right away – no more long lines stretching out of our offices, no more unhappy students waiting a long time for services,” said Mr. Willis. “In addition, our employees are able to spend more of their time serving our students and less managing student traffic in and out of administrative offices.”

In addition, the QLess solution automatically prompts students to respond to the Snap Survey as soon as they’ve completed their scheduled campus business. This has increased both the volume and favorability of responses, providing real-time information to inform staffing and procedural recommendations, as well as drive improvements to campus operations and services.

The QLess solution allows students to enter a service queue prior to arrival via smartphone, website, or on-site kiosks. Students are free to attend class or engage in campus activities until their turn arrives.

“Students receive regular updates via text or voice message, keeping them aware of delays or schedule changes,” said Mr. Willis. “The solution also gives them the option of changing their appointment time without losing their spot in the queue.”

Results

With QLess, the average wait times at Collin College decreased from a staggering 3 hours down to less than 20 minutes for students.

Students and staff alike appreciate the more relaxed and positive environment resulting from the elimination of lines and emptying of lobbies. This has improved relations between students and administration, which is a big step toward achieving the strategic goals of delivering better service and demonstrating mutual respect.

In addition, the Public Relations department implemented a comprehensive marketing campaign alerting students about the new service, its benefits, and how to access it. The campaign included renaming and branding the service as CougarQ to be consistent with other college tools available to students, including CougarMail, Cougar Web and Cougar News. Marketing tactics ranged from posters, flyers, and other on-campus print signage to digital signage, emails to students, and internal news stories. External promotion included social media and news releases.

After re-launching the student survey using QLess’ SMS messaging, over 1,500 survey responses have been received, representing more than a 1,500% increase over prior response rates and providing significant data to administration. Collin College uses the data results to determine which campuses, offices, and staff members interacted with each of the survey respondents.

“The survey responses from our students are providing keen insights we were unable to capture before,” said Mr. Willis. “While some of our employees were a little concerned about the granularity of the responses, they quickly saw the value of this feedback in making our operations more efficient and effective.”

“Using QLess to deliver the customer experience survey dramatically improved the survey response rate. We now gather meaningful responses and data that we can use to identify procedural enhancements while improving customer service.” —Doug Willis, Dean of Student Development at Collin College

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