Anyone who’s ever been to college knows the feeling of visiting a university advising or financial aid office. Especially toward the start of each semester during enrollment, it can be a nightmare, with waits commonly exceeding an hour.
Rooms are crowded and staff members are overwhelmed. Students sign in and are stuck in a waiting area without enough chairs—or end up missing class if other appointments run long. In an institute of higher learning, it seems almost silly to still abide by such archaic methods.
Fortunately, technology offers another way.
Wireless pagers give higher education a way to easily eradicate all the waiting around what happens in critical departments that serve student needs. A whole range of paging solutions, from traditional buzzing devices to email and text-message alerts, are available to improve the student experience and reduce the amount of time lost to waiting.
Students Freed to Make Better Use of Their Time
With paging devices, students simply sign in and can select the way they’ll be notified when it’s their turn to see an academic advisor or financial aid representative. That notification can come via a pager, by email or text to their phone.
Then, rather than remaining confined to a cramped waiting area, they’re free to grab coffee at the bookstore, pick up supplies for class, meet friends for lunch, head to the library or explore campus. When an advisor is available, the student gets notified. The paging system virtually removes the need for waiting rooms. For staff, a sense of order and efficiency is restored to the office.
Universities See Results Immediately
One university to use this program was the University of Central Oklahoma. The third-largest university in Oklahoma was experiencing record enrollment and simply didn’t have enough space for students waiting to meet with advisors. Instead of resorting to expensive measures such as hiring more staff or building a new advising office, the university invested in an
advanced paging solution.
The installation process involved downloading the paging software on one computer and outfitting the facility with transmitters to communicate with the pagers. After the software was integrated with the department’s server, staff and students noticed the improvement immediately. Students even expressed their gratitude for the noticeable enhancement in the advising experience.
The wireless paging system immediately increased staff efficiency and reduced wait times. Further, it allowed the entire advising staff to have access to the waiting list from their offices. Before, only one individual could access the list at a time.
Many Options Available
LRS’ NetPage Unlimited paging system offers several types of pagers, from traditional coaster pagers to paddle pagers that offer advertising space. That way, the university can actually make money by switching to such a paging system.
Selling ad space to university departments or reaching out to local businesses is a great way to promote upcoming events, new businesses or office hours, taking advantage of long wait times. You can guarantee people will see the ads, ensuring students are informed about important updates or local happenings that they may have not been aware of previously.
As an added bonus, the paging system is completely electronic — no more wasting paper on sign-in sheets.
Waiting to speak with a college adviser or financial aid representative isn’t always a simple task, but giving students the opportunity to use their wait time doing something productive — or fun — is an easy and effective way to improve the overall student experience.
Skip Cass is the chief executive officer at LRS and an expert in operational efficiency and creating a memorable guest experience.