E-Service Delivery in Higher Education: Meeting MBA Student Expectations

E-Service Delivery in Higher Education: Meeting MBA Student Expectations

Matt Elbeck (Troy University, USA) and Brian A. Vander Schee (Aurora University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4014-6.ch014
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This study explores graduate students’ expectations regarding website design in higher education. Focus group discussions and the Kano method are used to improve the college website experience of Master of Business Administration students. Student survey results (n = 110) suggest 23 features describing an ideal college website. Results guide college website design according to three need-based groups; basic, performance, and excitement to improve website value to students and ultimately student loyalty.
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The MBA degree by virtue of its costs, and often times cessation of full-time employment from 18 months to two years makes providing the best possible service on the part of the institution all the more critical (Heslop & Nadeau, 2010). The MBA degree can act as the collegiate flagship program, thus effectively positioning the MBA program can increase the value of the university as a whole (Goldgehn & Kane, 1997). Part of positioning is living the brand identity by meeting student needs and staying ahead of future students’ expectations. How seriously an institution takes the task of meeting and exceeding needs is often reflected by the features of the collegiate website. Indeed the institutional website is the common portal for students to access information and interface with the MBA community. The fact that some institutions do not make website functionality design and features a priority is ironic because MBA degree programs espouse services marketing in the classroom (Nicholls et al., 1995).

Institutions that do provide value and satisfy customer-defined needs benefit from increased organization identification, or belongingness among its customers (i.e., students) (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). Positive and satisfying interactions make customers feel understood and appreciated which leads to a commitment lasting beyond the service interaction (Gruen, Summers, & Acito, 2000). This increased connection and committment is where MBA students have a greater perceived relationship with the institution and thus are more likely to speak highly of, and make donations to the MBA program post-graduation (Johnson, Thomas, & Peck, 2010). Therefore providing good e-service that meets student needs helps to build a community environment in the MBA program and serves as an investment in future relationships and revenue (Anctil, 2008).

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