Perceptions of Academics and Students as Customers: a survey of administrative staff in higher education
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This article examines the extent to which university administrative staff perceive academics and students as customers. These perceptions have an effect on the provision of quality customer service. The role of administrative staff in the educational experience for students has been generally ignored in academic research. A discussion of quality service provision in higher education can be enhanced by a consideration of the perceptions held by administrative staff of academics and students as customers. Administrative staff perceptions were analysed by surveying staff from Curtin University's Academic Registrar's Office (ARO). Findings of this survey indicate that administrative staff have ambivalent feelings towards academics as customers and highlight interpersonal skills between the two groups as a major challenge in facilitating quality customer service. In dealing with students, administrative staff move beyond the processes of mere service-providers and incorporate a mentor role into their processes. Administrative staff tend to relate closely to students, perceiving them as internal customers.
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