Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

Does the tertiary sector consumer experience meet the grade?

Tertiary student research

If we equate the tertiary sectors consumer website experience for future domestic students with the academic grading in Australia, it would receive a ‘C’. So with an industry average Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) score of 55%, it’s a ‘Pass’ – but only just!

20 of Australia and New Zealand’s University and Tafe colleges were assessed in November 2014 to understand the experience they offer prospective students during the research and consider phase of their journey and to a lesser extent, through to the application process (for post graduate or direct study).

We know the process of selecting the correct course and institution can be overwhelming and confusing, which is perhaps why prospects feel they need tools to assist them in selecting the right course (NB: 92% rate this as important to extremely important). It is therefore surprising that university websites aren’t taking advantage to direct prospects into appropriate study, rather than being a passive source of course information. In fact, the industry is only offering an overall experience for this category (Matching courses to needs) at 46%. Institutions however, are providing better assistance around pathways to study with a higher average at 67% (for category ‘Pathways to the university’). Our audit of features and functions that allow prospects to match needs came in at a staggering low of 32% with 13 of the 20 under the average.

The question that remains is: does the experience offered online influence prospects’ opinions of the universities they navigate?

In a recent mobile experience study by Global Reviews, we found that 27% find that a bad experience makes the company look unprofessional, with 25% indicating that it makes them doubt the quality and service of the company’s product or service offerings. 13% even went to the length of saying they feel that the company is not valuing their time as important, by not putting more emphasis on a good experience. What is clear is that a poor experience will stop many prospects in their tracks and push them off the site, often onto competitor websites.

Learn more about how this industry meets prospective student expectations in our recent whitepaper.

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