When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Source: http://beta.studentbomb.com/universityprofile/university-birminghamAs our sons and daughters are now faced with ever increasing student tuition fees and crazy cost of living in student accommodation, when will universities realise that students are CUSTOMERS?

Students fined for learning
For the second year running my daughter has been fined by her university. Her crime... borrowing books from the library to study over Christmas.

The story
The university stops running lectures and seminars about 2 weeks before Christmas. My daughter stayed in Birmingham for a week studying, and as she is in her final year and has important work to submit in January, borrowed several books. These books are due back in mid January.

Then 3 days before Christmas she gets a recall of 3 of her books, and is FINED for each day she delays returning them. The on CHRISTMAS day receives an email recalling another!!!

If a book is taken out and had a return date - that is a contract - expecting people that travel home to return such books at such notice is crazy. What are her fees for if not partly for access to books? How is she to study without these materials? Is this just a CON by the Uni to extract more money out of the students? For the library is closed, so the books could not be re-distributed anyway!

I could understand it if she were to be extending the book loan - but this is the first withdrawal. She herself has had to wait months to get some books, and within days of getting them, they are recalled. Will universities offer study credits because they have FAILED to provide just in time research and study material?

Time for Uni's to think differently about customers
If Universities are to expect £9000 per year from a student (CUSTOMER) then they need to start offering a SERVICE.

Unless these redbricks actually realise that the professors and staff are there to SERVE students, then it will not take long for new intakes to flock to the new universities or institutions offering the best service.

How long will it be before the famous names of the US or other international institutions start to offer real service and value for money?

Maybe the OU approach of providing the students each with all their own materials is the way forward.

Mike Morrison
+44 0208 2300980


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Dalu Ma


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Before reading this post, I always thought that British universities can offer good service to students. Maybe when economic situation is getting worse, the service of all industries will get worse at the same time?


Shep Hyken


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Every entity has customers - even if they don't call them customers. When it comes to the procedures, "rules" and systems, universities (and any other educational institution) should think of their students as customers.


George Wallace


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

They will never learn, gave up using them when doing my degree is was easier to buy your own books and then sell them to the next year students.


Nick Braak



Using this platform for personal gripes, such as this one, is off-putting and diversionary. This is not about customer service or all UK universities. It's about a library policy. Nothing more, as pointed out by William B. above. Recently the blogger posted another personal complaint about a minor issue with technorati survey, couched as an alarmist consumer warning complete with hashtags and SEO crafted attention getting rhetoric. Also off-putting to business people and hardly the example of "professional" or "business" content that the blogger has lobbied for so very, very long and hard. #unprofessional #PutItOnYourOwnBlog #HumbugToThisKindOfBlog


John Murray


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Hi Mike I could sense the anger in your words and your keyboard probably did too. It is not right and you also mentioned the Open University. I have just finished my first Assignment for my current Open University Course as part of my MSc in Development Management. The service I have had is superb. I am in regular contact with my tutor, she helped re an extension for the first TMA as my books arrived in Afghanistan 4 weeks late (not the OU's fault) and the guidance notes are brilliant. Webinars, electronic submissions, and the materials are excellent - books, study guides, DVDs and CDs. The cost also, in comparison is FAR cheaper than regular university - although home study is not for all and youngsters would miss out on Uni life. But there is good service out there, and if you post this on Facebook and your daughter gets her pals and fellow students to kick up a fuss, I am sure the Uni will listen to the power of social media. They will not want a bad name being promoted where their customers most certainly are - on Facebook. Regards John


William Buist


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

When I went to university the library rules where that you got a maximum date for return of books but if other students requested them you got a notice to return, usually within a few days, so that the limited resources of the library (they always will be limited because there can't be a one to one provision of all books to all students). If you need the book when others need it, it is selfish to keep it, you have a reasonable period to read and use the book, take notes and then pass it on for the next student. A pretty quick check of Birmingham University Library terms shows that this hasn't changed - they say this: If you have a book out which another user has reserved, you will receive an email from the library asking you to return it. This may be earlier than the original due date. The new return date will be indicated in this email and is normally 10 days after the reservation was placed. Many library users continue to use us during the vacations. You should therefore be aware that books may be recalled from you at any time. Please note: As books may be recalled at any time, you should not take them out of the country. If you have a book out which is reserved, you will not be able to renew it. Wind your neck in.


Andrew Field


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Just a sage thought, but I seem to recall that last year, perhaps this year, new entrance demand seemed to outstrip existing places, particularly at the better Universities, thus it may be a case of the Universities not giving a hoot, because they enjoy insatiable demand from young people wanting tertiary education. The entire matter at hand does seem a little petty for a seat of leaning to pursue with keen students... they should be ashamed of themselves... the the principal needs to know...


Katie-Ellen Hazeldine


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Ridiculous. They need to buy more stock. I'd be spitting feathers at the shortness of the notice involving postal return if she's not in residence. What happens if she doesn't pay, and writes a letter of complaint to the top woo-woo instead, because it isn't reasonable. I was so fortunate. I went to Poly with a full grant and lived within it. 1982-1985. The Uni's would be sunk if people decided to boycott them over fees and not send our children. If the NUS campaigned to get them all to apply on the basis of a gap year first. It won't happen...but it could, and where would they be.


Samantha Kelly


When will UK universities learn customer service? #unibirmingham

Hi, How awful, I would be writing a letter to her principal about that. She should be encouraged instead of punished. Good Luck! And how proud you must be of her. Sam