6 Advantages of a School Management System
The higher education system has evolved significantly over the past few years to accommodate the rapid pace of technology. Much more aspects of school are virtual than ever before, and staff and students have benefitted significantly. However, there are still many systems that the average higher education institution has yet to update. They must begin to consider the impact software like a student management system can make.
Many North American colleges and universities are recovering from a pandemic that completely changed how they operate. Many campuses were forced to digitize their operations and saw this led to a marked improvement in several key areas. This all comes when many students are dissatisfied and open to change. Only 56% of students in private or public four-year programs are happy with their institution, and 2.1 million students transferred higher education institutes in the 2020-21 academic year.
A student management system is a way for higher education institutes to evolve during a pivotal moment in the industry. These administrative software are all-in-one digital solutions that change how students interact with their campus. From waiting in line or checking records to scheduling an appointment, a student management system is designed to make interacting with campus resources easy and seamless. A student experience platform like QLess gives students and staff a powerful tool designed to make their lives easier.
The advantages of an online school management software are many and varied. Because this software has wide-ranging features, there are wide-ranging benefits. Let’s explore some crucial ways a school management system can help students, staff, and administrators improve the higher education experience.
Improve the Student Campus Experience
Students’ happiness with their higher education experience is a big determiner of an institution’s success. In every industry, the customer experience is a significant indicator of whether a business will succeed. According to Emplifi, businesses in the US lose $35 billion every year in customer churn caused by avoidable customer experience issues. In higher education, where students pay premiums for their experience, the bar for customer experience is set very high.
There are a lot of different things that dictate a student’s happiness with their school. One of these is how easy it is to access campus resources. For example, accessing advisement appointments, financial offices, and student records is something that every student will want to be frictionless and fast. However, this isn’t typically the case. There are often long lines in academic offices, and scheduling appointments is tricky with outdated systems.
A school management system like QLess can impact this in several key ways. QLess has appointment scheduling features that are accessible 24/7, allowing students to book appointments from their mobile phone. If they want to book a class registration appointment, they can simply select the appointment type, choose their advisor, and find an available date and time. It is a seamless and efficient school scheduling system.
QLess also has queue management features that allow students to join a virtual queue from their phones. Rather than wait in waiting rooms or long stand-up lines, they can check into their scheduled appointment, monitor the actual wait time from their phone, and enter the office when it is time for their appointment. This ability to remotely wait will give students more free time and a more positive overall waiting experience.
Accessing on-campus resources can be a difficult and agitating task for students. For the sake of their happiness and the success of a university, implementing a solution that optimizes this process is an important decision. No one enjoys waiting in long lines or scheduling appointments on outdated, ineffective systems. With QLess, an educational institution can ensure students don’t have to do either.
Implement a More Socially Distanced Campus
The pandemic had a far-reaching impact on higher education institutions around the world. There was a need to adjust on the fly as lockdowns took hold in the middle of the academic calendar. Most schools figured out a system that worked for them, although this was by no means an easy process. Classes are back in person, and things are returning to normalcy. But the pandemic can’t yet be declared over, and the need for social distancing remains.
While most schools will not be reverting to a fully digital school experience, many will take some steps to implement social distancing where possible. An effective school management system can be an easy-to-implement solution that helps schools keep certain parts of their administrative process socially distanced. We’ve mentioned that the QLess virtual queue system removes the need for crowded waiting rooms or physical lines. This will decongest offices on-campus and limit contact to only necessary in-person meetings. But QLess can also help schools run contactless consultations with virtual services features.
The virtual services are features that enable schools to run appointments and manage schedules without needing to meet in person. The process is simple. Students schedule an appointment through the software, receive a check-in link sent to them via SMS, and can then monitor the waiting times through the software. Then, they’ll be able to enter a virtual meeting with the QLess Zoom and Microsoft Teams integration. Students can choose between virtual or in-person meetings, and offices can blend their different kinds of meetings on the app’s flexible calendar automation.
Virtual meetings can save students time and help schools limit physical contact. Managing a virtual appointment-based schedule is simplified with a school management system. It is a flexible tool that helps administrations implement more social distancing on campus.
Enable the Collection of High-Quality Data
Data is a valuable tool that arms enterprises with the information they need to make assured decisions. The value of data is significant, but collecting it can be difficult, particularly when it pertains to things like the customer experience. For higher-education institutes that want to understand how the experience is for students interacting with campus resources, you will need a tool with non-invasive business intelligence features. That is what QLess can bring.
QLess has business intelligence features that provide pivotal details to schools that want better insights into their processes. Schools can collect information on the appointment no-show percentage, transaction times, number of students serviced daily, and median wait times. They can then see the information from this data presented in charts and segment them according to the day of the week, time of day, employee servicing them, appointment type, and more.
The data from the QLess system provides schools with crucial information that would’ve been hard to access otherwise. They can understand which offices or appointment types tend to have long delays, which time of day is busiest, or which day of the week has the most congestion. They can then use this information to make informed decisions to improve their processes for students. If a certain appointment type or office is consistently slow, identifying that as a problem is crucial to removing that bottleneck.
There’s a reason business intelligence has become a pivotal part of how businesses around the world run their operations, including higher education institutions. According to TechJury, 2020 saw the rate of higher education institutions that rate cloud-based business intelligence tools as critical jump from 15% to 30%. The more informed schools are, the better decisions they can make.
A visitor management solution for schools helps collect high-value, accurate data that gives schools a clear picture of how they can improve. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses is a big reason schools like Broward College have managed to trim their wait times and optimize their operations with QLess.
Harness the Power of Modern Technology
Schools are meant to cater to students, adapting to their tendencies and preferences. If that is the case, many schools are falling short here. Many schools across the country have a population composed of primarily Gen Z students, the most tech-savvy and digitally activated demographic. Yet their academic systems are stuck in the past, with desktop websites that consistently crash or phone appointment lines. Implementing a school management system doesn’t just help with administrative tasks and customer flow. It also aligns with the tech tendencies of the modern student body.
The age range for the average undergraduate student in a college or university typically falls in the Gen Z range of people born between 1997 and 2012. This age group grew up on cell phones and the internet; they are no strangers to adopting new technologies and solutions at a rapid pace. For colleges worried that their student body will struggle to adapt to a new school management system, don’t underestimate Gen Z regarding technology.
98% of Gen Z has a smartphone, with 91% receiving one before their 16th birthday, according to War Room. They spend more than 10 hours every day engaging with digital content, with a good chunk of that time coming on their smartphones. Students use their smartphones on-campus as well, with 95% saying they carry them with them at all times and 78% saying they document information with them in class. The average school has students incredibly reliant on mobile technology, and schools should ensure they have systems in place that meet their technological preferences.
A school management system like QLess is a solution oriented to consumers’ current tech preferences. Students can use a mobile app or website to schedule appointments, manage their appointments, or check remotely into a line while monitoring the wait time. Most undergraduate students will prefer the ease of use and convenience of current systems. The tech-friendly features of QLess are part of why schools using the platform have boosted student satisfaction by up to 75%.
Ensure Accessibility for the Whole Student Body
Higher education institutions cater to a large population. While there are some exceptions, the average school in Canada and America has a massive student population. There are ten universities in the United States with undergraduate student populations of more than 39,000. This isn’t even factoring in graduate students. Academic institutions are responsible for catering to all their students’ unique needs. This includes the student population that may be dealing with a disability.
According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, 19% of postsecondary students reported having a disability. This is a significant percentage of the student body, so every decision that schools make should keep this in mind. Catering to the needs of all the college students your school caters to will make universities a more inclusive place and keep the student population happier.
If a school is implementing queue management software or any other type of school management system, it must ensure that it is complete with features that make it accessible. QLess includes several core features designed to make its systems usable for a diverse population like the one higher education institutes cater to.
These features reflect a commitment to accessibility that most colleges strive for. Whether you’ve implemented QLess with on-site kiosks, a desktop website, or a mobile app, these features have accommodations that make them easier to use for everyone. These features include dyslexia-friendly font, a text-to-speech reader, the ability to edit font size and spacing to make it more visible, helpful tooltips, and the ability to pause and start so students can go at their own pace. QLess also has different language settings.
Higher education institutions service large populations of people with unique needs. If a school implements a system, it has to be flexible enough to accommodate such a large population without excluding student body members. QLess has customizable features that widen the number of people that can benefit from the solution and ensure accessibility for a diverse student population.
Streamline Operations for More Efficient Processes
We’ve mentioned the size of the average university. Some universities in the United States, such as the University of Central Florida or Texas A&M University, have undergraduate student populations of more than 55,000. This is a lot to manage for staff and administrators, as handling such a significant population’s academic needs and appointment burden can be difficult. Schools need solutions in place that can make servicing large populations easier. That is what school management and queue management systems provide.
The core advantage of school management systems is that they make lives easier for students and staff. We’ve covered their impact on students, saving them precious time by allowing them to bypass physical lines. But for staff, the advantages are similarly pronounced. A school management system can make managing appointments drastically easier for administrative staff and help them better organize their timetable.
The biggest ways QLess does this is by increasing visibility and automating several components of staff’s tasks. QLess increases visibility by laying out appointment information in a flexible, color-coordinated calendar. Here, staff can see appointments arranged by type, date, time, and more. They can see who these appointments are assigned to and tap on students’ profiles to message them or learn more information. This provides a clear insight into their schedule for the upcoming day or week.
By automating aspects of the appointment process, QLess removes human error and lightens staff’s load. Staff can set preferences for the line, like prioritizing people with appointments or removing people that are 5+ minutes late from the line. The line will automatically adjust based on the preferences that have been established and blends both appointments and walk-ins. It is faster and more efficient.
QLess helps streamline efficiency and ensure staff isn’t overburdened by large student populations. That’s why institutions with tens of thousands of students, like Texas A&M, have used QLess to ensure more efficient processes and easier management for staff.
Better Communication and Student Engagement
One of the core tenets of great customer service is communication. Schools tend to remain in constant contact with their students, sending emails and newsletters to students that are often left unopened or sent straight to junk. Email has its place, but it might not be the best channel to communicate with students for things like appointment scheduling and reminders. A school management system with communication features can help improve student engagement and add transparency to the appointment process.
QLess has bi-directional communication features, meaning staff and students can message back and forth. This is helpful in a variety of instances. Staff can ask pre-appointment questions, get necessary details from students, and check in if they’re running late. Students can better engage with staff to ensure a more personal experience and address any uncertainties. This will help make the pre-appointment process more transparent and ensure that staff and students are fully prepped for important appointments.
Another important aspect of the communication features of the school scheduling system is that staff can send SMS appointment reminders to students. Missed appointments are a problem for academic offices because they harm efficiency. Staff blocks off time for an appointment that doesn’t end up coming, and it sets everything back. But with SMS appointment reminders, offices can send students reminders directly to their phones. This will help reduce appointment no-show rates and ensure offices are maximizing their appointment calendar.
The better you communicate with your students before and after their appointments, the better they are likely to feel about their experience. The benefits of strong communication are apparent in results, too, as offices can cut appointment no-shows and ensure all necessary information is on hand before appointments begin. Open communication is a good measure to ensure students are engaged and happy with their appointment experience.
Combat Wait Times
Wait times are a serious problem in every industry, from retail to healthcare. Long waits are one of the most unappealing aspects of the customer experience and something for which the average person has little to no patience. In a university setting, where students already have so much on their plates, long waits are something that must be avoided. Yet many college campuses have waits for essential services that take a big chunk out of students’ days.
People hate long queues. There is something draining about sitting in an office or standing in a long line with an uncertain wait time, particularly when you have other places to be. According to a QLess survey of 250 US adults aged 25+, 54.4% of respondents will only wait 0-5 minutes in a queue for a non-essential service or product. People are increasingly impatient with lines and expect near-instant results. While no academic institution can completely eliminate waits, QLess goes a long way toward reducing them.
We’ve touched on how QLess removes the need for a physical line, which makes the waiting experience much better for students. But it also significantly impacts cutting wait times down to an amount that is much more palatable for the average person. QLess has been found to reduce wait times by up to 97%, making accessing essential services a much easier and friction-free experience.
QLess reduces wait times by providing a flexible tool for staff to manage and automate the line. Staff can move appointments around in real time, with customers being notified of changes through their phones. Rather than have a long hold up because a customer is late for an appointment, staff can just move that appointment back and the next one up. This ensures fewer delays and that staff can adapt to change more effectively. These small adjustments add up, leading to a significant reduction in overall wait times.
Academic institutions have a momentous task. They are charged with educating the next generation of leaders, providing their customers with an individually-tailored experience, and meeting students’ unique needs. They are trying to do all this with a massive student population that requires assistance with schedule planning, academic advisement, financial aid, and more. There is a lot on the plate of the average college or university.
What can help make an academic institution’s run more efficiently is a high-quality school management system like QLess. QLess enables schools to reduce the need for physical lines and cut wait times while improving communication with students and providing high-value business intelligence. Ensuring that students have easy access to the services schools provide is incredibly important, and with the QLess school management system, schools can create a more efficient, student-friendly operation.