SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 39

with students (Ray, Foreman, Haney, Stroup, & Waller,
2008, p. 44) Ray, Foreman, Haney, Stroup, Waller
(2008) share that it is important for housing staff fully
understand their roles have evolved impacting the
customer service component.
Moore, Carswell, Worthy, and Nielsen (2019) indicate
that even though student housing is not a permanent
housing situation for most students, the customer
service received can impact the student's overall
experience at the institution. Even if other areas of
higher education do not follow a customer service
model and instead utilize an education approach
to service, higher education institutions need to
remember that housing plays a significant role in
the connection with academics (Moore, Carswell,
Worthy, & Nielsen, 2019). This research shows that
it is important to remember that students attend
universities to gain education and have experiences.
These experiences play into the student role as a
customer but also learning. The interaction that
becomes more relevant is the " teaching/learning
interaction " (Tight, 293).
The educational role is important to provide students
the opportunity to learn to navigate challenges that
may occur. Institutions must also be reminded that
students are paying customers. " Taking the time to
let students know they are being listened to goes a
long way in providing quality service for the student
customer " (Ray, Foreman, Haney, Stroup, & Waller,
2008, p. 47). This can be done even during an
educational moment. Overall, institutions, faculty,
and staff need to try to make the customers happy by
providing options when possible.
Wueste & Fishman (2009) also indicate that customer
service may not be the ideal concept to be utilized
within higher education. It is important to understand
that a higher education institution has two main
functionalities. The first is the education piece and
the second is business functions including housing,
dining, and financial components. Wueste &
Fishman (2009) believe a more professional model
of practice may need to be put into action to ensure
student needs are being met. This would allow the
organization to respond to the needs of students
just as an organization would respond to their
customer needs but keeping in mind the educational
component. Therefore, it may be best practice
for higher education organizations to establish an
alternative model to traditional customer service
models looking more towards professional practice
as this would allow the focus to be " on the practices,
essential goals, functions, and relationships that are
most central to teaching and learning " (Wueste &
Fishman, 2009, p. 7).
Good customer service experiences help encourage
higher satisfaction levels. Guilbault (2018) believes
that organizations are established to satisfy the
consumer that is frequenting the organization (p.
295). While the consumer for higher education may
vary, in most cases the primary consumer for higher
education insinuations are students. Guilbault (2018)
indicated that satisfaction levels from experiences
with the higher education institution have an impact
on the student's overall performance.
It is important to understand that a higher education
institution has two main functionalities. The first is the
education piece and the second is business functions
including housing, dining, and financial components
when discussing customer service (Wueste &
Fishman, 2009). The areas that provide business
functions to students may see more of a need to
utilize traditional customer service practices. " When
it comes to the education of students, however,
the goals, functions, practices, and relationships
are different from what one finds in commercial
undertakings " (Wueste & Fishman, 2009, p. 3), which
is likely since educators' goals are to help students
increase their knowledge base.
Since higher education encompasses so many
services, students often have a difficult time
differentiating the customer service role. Students
may think that since they are paying for a service such
as courses in which they are enrolled that they should
be able to select whichever courses fit their interests
instead of courses that relate to their curricular
path (Wueste & Fishman, 2009). Higher education
professionals can provide beneficial educational
direction to students on the reasoning to help them
understand why an educational moment may be
occurring to ultimately help them grow personally
39

SEAHO Report - Winter 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SEAHO Report - Winter 2023

Contents
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 1
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - Contents
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 3
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 4
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 5
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 6
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 7
SEAHO Report - Winter 2023 - 8
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