Category Archives: careers

Self service or on-line booking does it really give the best experience?

appnt-locationMany Careers Services and other appointment based services such as your GP have been using on-line booking for a while.  But are we really getting or giving a better experience?

Has anyone done any analysis of satisfaction among on-line bookers vs those who were triaged?

In an ideal world where there are unlimited appointments and everyone understands exactly what they need and how to get it, then yes perhaps it’s the most convenient way to allow access to your services.

However….

  • Many users are not really sure what they need
  • People don’t read explanations of what is available
  • Some people find accessing technology difficult
  • Appointment availability is not unlimited

In my experience…

We have been using on-line booking for our simplest service “Applications Advice” for about 5 years now.

You would think it was fairly simple “advice on applications”, the page on the website and on the booking system states what this includes and what to bring. But more often than not these instructions are ignored.

It’s so easy to book,  users often book multiple appointments without meaning to, or have no real intention of attending, leading to high numbers of no shows.

On the plus side: It’s high volume so on-line booking stops people having to queue at 8am in the morning to get a chance of an appointment. It also frees up the phone lines a bit.

We recently started making some other types of appointment available on-line too, and certainly they get booked, but it’s clear some students have no real understanding of what they have booked or why.

Booking in person has benefits.

When a student comes in or rings up, we use diagnostic questioning to find out what help they need and how prepared they are.  This enables us to help them there and then, or if necessary refer them to an appointment. The help we give them makes them more prepared for the appointment and we are able to check that they understand what they need to do.  The personal approach makes students more likely to attend too.

Of course it’s time consuming but perhaps that time spent helping is actually well spent.  Benefiting both the student who is able to discuss their needs and get a tailored service, and the institution in terms of better satisfaction and less time wasted in non attendance.

Yes it means that you can’t book an appointment at 4 am in the morning, but is that actually the most important thing?

We are not alone

It’s clear that the NHS has been having the same thoughts, at my Doctors surgery alone they have clearly tried a few things… First there was the queue, then there was telephone booking, then there was on-line booking, and then there wasn’t! Now there is telephone triage where you speak to a doctor or nurse who decides if you need to come in or if they can quickly help you by phone. I have to say this latter approach seems pretty effective!

Is there a middle road?

I’m not sure I want to go back to the mad panic every morning on phones and queues waiting for an appointment.Do we have the time to talk to every student who wants to get advice on their CV to ensure they are ready for an appointment? Perhaps we do if it means that they need less appointments overall, it’s just a shift in staffing provision. Some systems may provide ways of unlocking appointment types after an initial consult and this could be a really good compromise.

I’m hopeful that improvements in on-line booking systems will prompt users into selecting the correct options, (if they know what they need).  However, I don’t think there is a substitute for talking to someone as part of the information & advice process before you get to advice & guidance.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

Social media what’s new, what’s working and how do we evaluate it?

It’s been a while since i’ve been here in musing mode so you can guess we are reviewing something at the moment! Yes you guessed it Social Media!

We started with a blog many years ago (and then a revamped blog), then ventured into Facebook and jumped into Twitter.  They all seemed to have a purpose and be used, but fads come and go (as do students). Perhaps we need a bit of time to assess what we are doing and why?

Young people seem to be all snapchat and whatsapp, intagramming like their lives depended on it. Is facebook old hat?  Was pinterest a passing fad? What’s around the corner?

What do students use and do they want us there?

When you ask students what they use they say Facebook and increasingly Twitter.

Using, as far as a student is concerned seems to be seeing the information in their news feed, not actively participating much.  If you are lucky they may click on a link.  For us that doesn’t really help – no nice metrics to evaluate, if you don’t like our posts or talk to us how do we know that you are even looking!  We feel unwanted and might even give up using something if we can’t measure its use!

So we ask students again what do you use and the answers are the same, and yes they seem to value what we post there but it’s not cool to interact with us. (Fair enough!)  Secretly I bet they are all snapchatting but don’t want us getting involved!

So here’s where you my information colleagues come in!

  • Has anyone done a social media review – were there any findings or trends you could share?
  • What is worth evaluating?
  • Is anyone using Twitter lists successfully?
  • How are you working with recruiters who want you to post on social media about them?
  • Do you have one Twitter or Facebook account or many for different purposes?
  • What’s new? Anyone using something that really seems to encourage students to interact with each other and you?

Any intel leave a comment here or on the LinkedIn discussion or Tweet me @MallenSarah

 

 

What’s in a name and do your users really care? Careers and proud!

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_ImageWe keep being told that the word Careers is scary and people don’t like it.

I get this, no-one wants to be reminded that there is a future and that they have to engage with it,  it’s uncertain, and its going to take some hard work and possibly some knockbacks.

I also get that careers advice before University can be sketchy at best, often entirely absent or just downright inadequate. Yet EVERYONE remembers it. AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY!

So we are battling against the image of something that is scary and something that could be pretty bad. OH GREAT!

So let’s re-brand, change the name, change our image and completely fool everyone that it’s a new sexy thing that they have never encountered before and that they want  to engage with it and make it part of their life.

So how many of you out there have changed your name, only to find that when people ring up the first thing they ask is ” is that the Careers Service?” Facepalm!
Careers Service, Careers and employability, Career development centre, etc etc etc WHATEVER you want to call it our users aren’t stupid they know a Careers Service when they see one.

So I’m torn – do you re-name it or reinvent it?

If you can make this “Future planning – career – thing” something that everyone wants to be involved in a that’s obviously a good idea.   This needs some kind of engagement strategy and possibly some kind of stick to make people do it  (the carrots clearly are not working!)

If you can make everyone take responsibility for their actions and take action earlier – then perhaps you don’t need so much Career Service type intervention at University? This needs a change in education generally!

So who will teach young people how to navigate the unchartered waters of the internet and to differentiate good advice from bad.  If it’s not going to happen at school then it still becomes an issue once at University and who is going to deal with that?  Oh I guess that would be the Careers Service. #circularargument

So there we have it back to the same dilemma!

There are so many issues to contend with is what you call it really the biggest issue?

Careers & proud!
Building a good reputation with satisfied customers is generally agreed to be the best thing to build your brand in a commercial environment.

Your brand is CAREERS  don’t throw it away.  Make it visible so that students associate a good experience with your brand.  If they choose to use other providers of careers information or advice it is their choice – but we can try to make our offer visible and accessible and attractive.

The down side of this is if you succeed how will you cope with the extra demand?

*No answers & no magic bullets included in this post – just some musings!