A couple of weeks ago, I was in my office in the afternoon and my phone rang. The call was coming from an unfamiliar number in a part of the country I do not frequent. I answered the phone and found myself speaking to the University Registrar at a prominent university. I was more than a little surprised but asked how I might be of assistance. She went on to explain that she was sitting across a table from one of our Sales Directors and they were discussing Credentials’ commitment to service. He had claimed that management of the company is so accessible that if you call the CEO, he will answer his own phone. So the Registrar decided to call his bluff and actually call, right then and there. Our Sales Director must have had a coronary. Anyway, she called and I answered. We had a brief but very nice conversation in which I laughed and expressed a sigh of relief that I answered the phone. Half an hour earlier I had missed a call from my wife. I guess sometimes things just work out.
I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of weeks before my surprise conversation with the Registrar with a particular thought bouncing around in my head. It seemed to me that Credentials had been experiencing an interesting new phenomenon. I could not put a number on it, but it seemed as if a fair number of new clients on our TranscriptsPlus service with RoboRegistrar had come to us from other vendors. I decided to track down the numbers as soon as I got into work.
Without expending much time or effort, a listing of all our new institutional accounts was compiled covering the most recent 18 months and the results were startling. Since January 1, 2013, more than 30% of Credentials’ new institutional accounts had switched from other vendor solutions. These results were very surprising since by and large, Registrars tend to be very loyal to their service providers. They don’t generally shop their business around in search of a “better deal”.
Obviously, the answer to the first question led to another. “Why did they switch?” I figured the answer must lie in some sophisticated feature or function that Credentials offers that no other vendors offer. The answer must be either some automation or functionality that is provided by RoboRegistrar that other vendor systems have yet to replicate. Perhaps the answer lies in the ease in which the Credentials “solution” can be installed with minimal expenditure of IT resources by the institution. Or maybe Credentials’ highly automated and fully integrated transcript print and mail service, eRoboMail, was the item that “sealed the deal”. I decided to ask around.
I had several conversations in which I straight out asked, “Why did you decide to move to Credentials?” Several of our Sales Directors shared comments from new clients on their motivation to switch. And all the feedback provided the same answer. I thought to myself, “This can’t be right.” Surely all our advanced automation tools must be the reason these institutions made the decision to switch to Credentials. We built a better mousetrap. Right? Wrong! The reason was one simple word: SERVICE. The lack of CUSTOMER SERVICE from their previous vendors caused them to be open to an alternative provider. And the one thing they heard consistently when checking our references is that Credentials provides “Great Customer Service” to students and alumni as well as the Registrar staff.
And sometimes great service can be summed up in one simple phrase: “Answer the phone!”