A Note for May, 2011: I'll be doing a presentation complete with screen shots on the Susquehanna website story at the J.BoyePhiladelphia2011 conference, May 3-5.
Susquehanna University: Visitors Report Very High 90% Satisfaction Level
Websites win awards for different reasons, but seldom for what the people who actually use a website think of their experience with it.
Over the past two years, Customer Carewords partners have completed CCI (Customer Centric Index) surveys at 18 colleges and universities. We've asked future students, current students, faculty and staff, alumni, and parents to tell us the top 3 web characteristics (from a list of 13 positive and 13 negative possibilities) that best represent their experience at the website.
There's a pattern to the results. External users are almost always more satisfied than internal users. And "menus and links" and the "search" function are usually the areas of most dissatisfaction. Relatively few people select the "visual appeal" of a site, but when they do, most are positive about it.
90% Postive Rating from Parents and Future Students
Last week we completed a CCI survey of parents and possible future students at Susquehanna University. The results, compared to other CCI surveys, were indeed amazing. Parents (114 responses) and future students (182 responses) picked one of the 13 positive web elements 90 percent of the time. Susquehanna received the highest ratings we've seen in 8 of the 13 areas and was not far behind the leaders in the others.
The website was launced less than a year ago. Paul Novack, director of web communications, and the entire web team have much to smile about as they continue to plan future improvements.
"Search" and "Menus and Links" Stand Out
The results for "search" were especially impressive. The search function on higher education websites is almost always one of the top two topics selected by users and the selections are much more negative than positive. In this case, 6% of the positive ratings received were about search and only 1% of the few negative ratings.
Similarly, 12% of the positive ratings were for "menus and links" and only 2% were negative.
Both of those results are equivalent to a "man bites dog" story as the exact opposite of what usually happens. The unusual success in these two areas is what set the Susquehanna website apart from most CCI results.
The "visual appeal" of the site was also quite strong, receiving 19% of the positive votes and only 1% of the negative votes. The difference here from other CCI surveys is that "visual appeal" received more total selections than any of the 13 areas. That's never happened before.
Comments from Real People
We give survey takers the chance to answer this question: "If you could change one thing about this website, what would it be and why" and 164 people did that for the Suspuehanna survey. These two reflect the overall tone:
- Parent: "Nothing--it is the best of all the colleges we have researched for our son this year, who will be coming as a freshman in the fall."
- Future Student: "Sorry, this isn't an improvement - This website is actually one of the best college websites I've come across. Good work!"
Of course, no website is perfect. Changes suggested included: an area for student ratings about their experience after enrolling, more photos and videos of student activities, average test scores and GPAs for entering students, and more information about faculty.
CCI Results at 10 Colleges and Universities
Overall CCI Results at 10 colleges and universities are reviewed in my presentation "Rating Higher Education Websites: The Student Experience" from the J.Boye conference last November in Denmark that's available on SlideShare.
A CCI survey can help you fine tune your website. Results are usually available about 2 weeks after survey invitations are sent. Contact me at email@example.com
That's all for now
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