CLASS would like to welcome guest blogger Matthew Sheasby, Executive Director of Campus Tech Support to weigh in on how you should be thinking about amenities for today’s digital student. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Matthew!
“In paying homage to an old Oldsmobile advertising campaign and to Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, this is not your father’s student housing complex and student housing must “Roll With the Changes” when it comes to getting creative on student amenities and perks.
This year’s incoming class of 2017 officially marks a new breed of student seeking higher education. They are considered the first class born in the digital age and have never known life without the internet.
This group of students is not a passing phase. They are not going to be around for only a couple of years as if they are the latest trend. This is the new era, this is the new norm, this is your customer from here on out. Ultimately, they are more discerning than students of the past which is why getting creative with amenities and perks in your student solutions is critical to attract and keep this new student profile.
One such amenity that has been overlooked until now offers something outside of the traditional amenities, but in today’s student life, it is more utilized than the swimming pool and work out facility combined. That amenity is unlimited technical support.
When it rains, students don’t get emotional when they can’t use the pool. When the laundry facility is too busy to run a load of clothes, they just turn a pair of sweats inside out and wear them again. But when the student’s computer crashes? There are very few things that instantly paralyze someone into an emotional ball of stress, anger, frustration, depression, and hopelessness like having his or her computer suddenly crash.
90.5% of college students own a laptop, according to a Pew Internet Research and American Life survey. Out of those students, over 35% will have a computer problem during the school year. Consider these industry statistics:
- 30.5% of all US computers were infected with some type of virus, spyware, or malware.
-Panda Labs Security, 2012 Report, Infected Computers Worldwide
- 1 out of 3 computers needed to be repaired during the last 12 months.
-Consumer Reports, Reliability Report, 2011
- 15-25% is the hardware defective rate for 3 year old laptops.
-SquareTrade, Laptop Reliability Report, 2011
Computer problems can strike anywhere, at any time, and it is currently happening to your student residents as you read this article. Imagine the positive impact to your overall brand and customer service reputation when that student gets his or her computer back up and running for no extra charge because it is included in his or her rent. No other amenity will have a stronger emotional impact for your resident and it is the ultimate in what Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, preaches in regards to “Delivering Happiness.”
The new breed of digital students is not as persuaded by today’s amenities as students of the past have been. They want creative solutions to problems and appealing perks that resonate with their digital lifestyles. Adding high-speed internet and Wi-Fi to your property is a tremendous idea, as it is the most utilized amenity offered. Including unlimited technical support is your opportunity to get creative with this amenity because high speed internet isn’t beneficial if the student’s computer doesn’t work. The more we think creatively about offering amenities that complement one another and really resonate, the better the overall experience will be with the digital student– and the increased occupancy and retention rates aren’t so bad, either!”
Matthew Sheasby is the Executive Director of Campus Tech Support.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Campus Tech Support is a company of The Support Factory offering subscription based, unlimited tech support for higher education students by partnering with Student Housing companies and Higher Education colleges and universities.