Customer service in management education
Ensuring Customer Delight: A quality approach to excellence in
The system of Higher Education in India is on the threshold of
change. During the last decade Higher Education experienced
immense student diversity not only in terms of profiles such as
increased age but also in terms of backgrounds with reference to
social and economic aspects. Management education being a part
of higher education is no exception.
The market for management education increased in terms of a
number of the growing private institutes which has started
offering postgraduate programmes of management education. This
is of course, a paradigm shift from the traditional University
system which had dominated the earlier higher education market.
Management Education in the 21st Century:
Institutions survive to achieve their goals by offering value
exchanges. For this it is imperative to study the target market,
it's needs, followed by designing appropriate products, programs
and services to cater to the changing demands of the customers.
Higher Education especially institutions offering management
education in the 21st century have to make themselves flexible
enough to meet the changing needs of the market. Certain
improved features of the modern day management education system
includes a broad based futuristic education system which is
simple and easy to access. Backed up with information technology
support modern management education system lays more emphasis on
development of insight and knowledge. Knowledge is again defined
in terms of the need and utility of study keeping in view the
requirements of the job market.
Therefore the goals of higher education had changed. The
universities in the developing nations have started to face
population explosion, rapid advancement in the technology arena
which had created a drive for expansion of knowledge. Reshaping
of responsibilities of the teaching staffs is another
challenging area for the higher education service imparting
The demands of the modern management education can be viewed
from two aspects: a. The existing status. b. The future (
predictable ) changes .
The existing status is that of transformation and flux, towards
a consumer oriented image. This transition phase as rightly
predicted by the eminent academician P.Khandawala which is
reflected in his following statement: " Only the learning
organization can cater to today's dramatic demands quickly ".
The future change will be towards complete customer satisfaction
without which higher education market will cease to exist, in
the presence of monopolistic public education system.
Customer satisfaction in higher education is a function of
perceived performance and expectations from consumers i.e.
students. The level of satisfaction is measured by how closely a
defined course curriculum meets the need of an individual
student in terms of his / her expectations. High satisfaction or
delight creates an emotional bond with the brand and not just a
rational preference. This results in a huge amount of customer
loyalty in higher education.
As experienced with the expansion of the higher education sector
there has been rising demands for improved quality increasingly
focused by the consumerism factor. This is validated by the
growth of effective student feedback systems which have already
started to dominate the Indian higher education market. The term
" FEEDBACK " refers to the expressed opinions of students' about
the service they receive as students'. Feedback is of course
based on their perceptions on the process of learning and
teaching . Other variables which strongly influence the level of
students' satisfaction includes learning support facilities, the
learning environment, other support facilities and external
aspects of being a student.
The need for such feedback systems are imperative in order to
obtain an effective quality monitoring and assessment process
which in turn provides better satisfaction to consumers.
Another factor that is associated with the level of students'
satisfaction is the realization of expectations in terms of the
value of the service that they pay. If the service outcome meets
or supersedes their expectation they are satisfied or delighted
with the delivery system. If the outcome falls below the
expectation levels, disconfirmation of expectations tend to
occur. Thus in order to measure satisfaction certain effective
methodologies need to be designed which ensures the level of
tailored services which is suited towards individual' and market
The Indian Management education scenario:
Management education being an integrated part of postgraduate
education in India enjoys a steady demand for several reasons:
1. There are a large number of graduates coming out of colleges
and the job market being competitive it is very difficult for
them to be placed in suitable jobs. Therefore there is a huge
demand for postgraduate education as such. 2. The work culture
in India had changed over the past decade. There has been an
inflow of top Multinational companies due to the liberalized
policy of the Indian Government and these companies express a
keen interest in recruiting Indian students with postgraduate
management degrees. 3. Several organizations including Indian
organizations emphasize on postgraduate management degree as an
entry level qualification. This is done to ensure better
availability of candidates with improved skills and knowledge in
competition to candidates with ordinary skills and
qualifications. 4. Increasing number of students have started to
consider a career in management studies as they believe
management qualifications improve on their communication skills
and leadership abilities which in turn makes them a better team
performer thus enhancing their employability.
In order to cater to the demands of such a market an efficient
feedback driven interaction between management schools and
industry has to be established through an effective
accreditation and assessment process. This responsibility has
been undertaken by University Grants Commission through setting
up of NAAC ( National Assessment & Accreditation Council ) as a
model of assessment and accreditation in 1994. The objective of
such apex bodies include grading the quality of educational
services in different management schools in addition to help
them realizing their academic objectives through innovation of
their services. The methodology of such apex bodies include the
a. SWOT analysis of all the affiliated colleges b.
Implementation of quality sustenance activities in accredited
colleges c. Self study , assessment and accreditation of
colleges d. Remedial measures in the case of weak and less
Similar to the operations of NAAC another such apex body called
National Board of accreditation ( NBA ) has been constituted by
All India Council for Technical Education which is to
periodically evaluate technical institutions based on their
guidelines, norms and standards, specified.
The total number of accredited colleges which has already been
approved by either NAAC or NBA is still very small in comparison
to the total number of business schools in India. Although the
method of assessment vary ( NAAC considers micro assessment
while NBA considers micro assessment ) in order to get better
results it is advisable that both the processes are considered.
In spite of such a assessment system the mushrooming of too many
business schools in India has failed to keep up with Industry
expectations. In order to meet the expectations of the industry
management education in India should address the following
1. Is management education designed to be relevant in terms of
the industry requirements. 2. Do the training institutions
provide necessary inputs so as to make an effective contribution
towards management education or they are unaware of expectations
made from them. In order to cater to the above issues, it is
imperative that the higher education industry gears up towards a
better quality of service which includes all aspects such as
teaching methodology, delivery strategy, accessibility,
simplicity and above all affordability.
In order to understand effective strategies for such
implementations most of the business schools in India needs to
undertake employee satisfaction surveys.
Methodology of employee satisfaction surveys:
In order to obtain complete information on customer satisfaction
the most common methods adopted includes variable descriptive
and cross sectional research methodology .
But for studying the customer satisfaction in management
education the sampling frame very often consist of colleges
affiliated to University Grants Commission, Foreign
Universities, as well as other private colleges. The number of
colleges has been selected using a probability sampling
technique under which respondents were selected randomly by
means of simple random sampling methodology.
In addition to designing of appropriate questionnaires , the
survey was responded by numerous opinions, personal experiences,
views and recommendations in order to improve the overall
management education system.
A survey conducted on Indian Management education system on 50
colleges ( both public & Private ) revealed the following status:
Figure 1: Comparison of Importance and Satisfaction:
Factors Satisfaction Importance Z Scores Mean SD Mean SD
Course Organization 4.06 1.42 5.58 1.34 4.9 Learning & Teaching
4.54 1.57 5.92 1.09 4.5 Placement facilities 3.74 1.71 5.99 1.15
6.9 Computing 3.83 1.56 5.65 1.25 5.7 Library 3.93 1.74 5.69
1.23 5.2 Student Services 3.25 1.43 5.31 1.39 6.5 Source:
Ensuring customer delight: A quality approach to excellence in
management education by Sapna Popli The above mentioned
parameters reveal that considering all the above the level of
average satisfaction varies between 3 to 4.
The ratings of importance on the other hand varies between 5 &
6. Therefore it is concluded that Management education in India,
as a whole has a lot of significance considering the above
parameters. These priority areas has to be measured in terms of
value delivery within a fixed time framework.
In order to emphasize on the first parameter i.e. Course
organization the following points should be considered the
a. The course should be defined in terms of focus on analytical
skills b. The courses being offered should have more practical /
project orientation and should consider interaction with
industry interface. c. There should be more stress on
personality development. d. Not only academic excellence but
also overall development of students should be emphasized. e.
Such courses need to be defined in terms of extra curricular and
cross cultural experiences. f. Tailor made training schedules
should form an integrated part of such course curriculum.
In addition to the above , certain common broadbased
methodologies has to be followed while training the students'
a. Core concepts on organizational KRA's ( Key Result Areas )
and basic strategies followed in those functional areas. b.
Overall study of organizational behaviour and interpersonal
communications c. Study related to general administrative
guidelines under uncertain conditions and overall policy
formulation in an organized structure.
As seen in most of the cases such inputs have significantly
enhanced the quality of education especially in postgraduate
management education enabling the students' to get exposed to
multifaceted arenas of a business.
These strategies coupled with the industry interface will
definitely put Indian Management education on a strong foothold
in terms of both quality and customer satisfaction..