Service delivery that meets student expectations and offers an enriching learning experience is important if WOU does not want to lose existing and prospective students to competitors.
Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye said that the University’s quality courseware must be complemented by excellent service delivery to tackle the challenges of declining student recruitment and retention.
“How we engage and interact with students is important. WOU wants to be recognised as a quality provider in the Education Services Industry,” he declared during the townhall session today, adding, “We want quality services to be our differentiator, making WOU to be the preferred destination for prospective students. We also want to provide dedicated service to enrich the learning experience of our existing students.”
He continued, "If an open distance learning institution wants to be recognised as a quality provider in the education services industry, it needs to focus on three selling points: (i) courseware quality, (ii) learner experience, and (iii) service delivery. Of the three, the most discerning hence demanding is to constantly provide engaging learning support services that meet learner expectations. This calls for dedicated team efforts within the institution and at its regional centres.”
He stressed that WOU’s Client Charter is to be understood as a pledge by all categories of staff (academic, administrative, technical) to provide excellent services to our learners especially. “We want to achieve customer satisfaction, be there when needed, create value for customer, enrich customer experience and exceed customer expectations.”
He remarked that to make this work, WOU has to put in place the necessary infrastructure, staff training, standard processes and technology support. “We want to build a culture of providing effective service and working efficiently. This should reinforce our expressed ‘Values’ of upholding high institutional standards; celebrating the diversity of our students; recognising our employees; valuing citizens and the community; and instilling academic freedom and fairness.”
Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, in explaining the Client Charter, said, “Education is a service-oriented industry. We have to make sure our products are industry-relevant and supported by excellent service standards which differentiates us, since we are one of over 600 higher learning institutions in the country, and we all offer almost similar programmes. What is not similar is how we deliver these products.”
The Client Charter represents ‘The WOU Promise’ which states: “We pledge to deliver excellent service to you in every aspect of your undertakings with WOU. We commit to serve you with promptness, accuracy and respect.”
Yeong stressed that WOU commits to give prompt responses, updates and suggestions along with accurate information and solutions, and these are girded by respect towards students in all interactions and delivery of services.
He shared that the University will kickstart this culture of service excellence with staff training, enhancing of academic/technical/admin support desks, and adopting the reward, recognition and reproach system. “We want to assimilate this culture throughout the value chain. We want to ensure it is supported by infrastructure. We will let the service provider decide what the key performance index is in all their services. We will evaluate, monitor and review this Client Charter.”
During Q&A on how this Client Charter will differentiate WOU uniquely as a premier academic provider, Yeong replied that the Charter is a promise that students will receive a pleasant learning experience. In highlighting the power of the word of mouth in attracting students, he said that the Charter will make WOU stand out not only as a provider of quality courseware but also of service excellence.
WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap joined staff for the townhall session at the main campus. It was streamed via video conferencing to all regional centres.