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RCTC Bookstore Improves Service with iPads

Posted by admin on 9/8/13 11:00 PM
Topics: college store customer service, college retail, retail technology, college store stories, Marketing to Students

We all know that students have lots of options when it comes to buying textbooks. So, when they make the decision to step in your store, you need to do everything possible to keep them there and to win their business. That means not only having competitive prices, but also excellent service.

One way that the Rochester Community and Technical College Bookstore ensures that it delivers both is through a new iPad initiative that allows students to easily access the information they need right from the sales floor.

In the past, many students came to buy textbooks without their school schedule and, because their course and section numbers are needed to locate the correct titles, staff members had to send them to a computer lab to print it.

“We were afraid that this might actually be causing us to lose business,” explained Shelly Danielson, College Bookstore Supervisor. “We were sending them to a computer to print; what was to stop them from just ordering their books online at that point? Once a student walks out those doors, you just don’t know if they’ll come back.”

Based on this concern, Shelly approached her administration with the idea of offering mobile customer service in the store via iPads; they were happy to oblige and allowed her to purchase two for store use. Now, students can simply work with one of two employees in the textbook department who use the iPads to login to student accounts and access course information.

“Our staff members will either jot down the necessary details for each student or walk around and point out the correct textbooks,” she said. “It’s a much more personalized type of service and it has eased student frustration during the buying experience.”

The iPads come in handy during the returns process, as well. Because the store only accepts textbook returns if a student has dropped a class or purchased a wrong book, customers are required to bring their drop slip from the Registrar office with them. However, they often forgot this essential step, causing further frustration. Using the iPads, students can now find their drop slip online, without ever leaving the store.

“We can provide much faster and efficient service this way,” Danielson described. “It’s easier for our customers and for our staff.”

The store hasn’t received any specific feedback on the new offering, but that comes as no surprise for Danielson.

“Students expect this kind of service,” she emphasized. “They want their service to be instantaneous and accurate, so this is a step in the right direction for our store. We have certainly received fewer complaints since implementing the iPads.”

The next step for RCTC Bookstore is exploring ways to print schedules and drop slips via the iPads to improve service further. But, for now, Danielson is satisfied with the results of their latest strategy.

“The enhancement in our customer service far outweighs the cost of the iPads, so they were definitely worth the investment,” she said. “You can’t be afraid to try new things; in the end it’s all about doing whatever we can to create a better experience for our students.”

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