OneStop works to lessen wait times, but says services have improved

One+Stop+for+Student+Services+provides+help+to+Kent+State+students+with+matters+such+as+financial+aid%2C+tuition+payments+and+student+records.%C2%A0

One Stop for Student Services provides help to Kent State students with matters such as financial aid, tuition payments and student records. 

Rachel Hale

Students and administrators said they are receiving better answers at OneStop for Student Services, but both agree wait times are still lengthy.

OneStop opened two years ago and combined Student Financial Aid, Bursar and Registrar into one location at the University Library. But its implementation led to high wait times that frustrated students.

Iris Mirelez, the director of OneStop, said she finds students are generally content with the help they receive.

“We find that they actually were pleased with the service,” Mirelez said. “They were not stoked about the wait time, understandably.”

Brittany Hutchinson, a sophomore exercise science major, said she went during peak season, but she utilized the QLess app to help lower her time.

“It was a good experience,” she said. “They helped me because my tuition is in monthly payments. I got in really quick in August because I used the OneStop line ahead of time and I found them very helpful.”

Provost Todd Diacon said August and December are the busy seasons for One Stop where students have longer wait times both in line and on hold.

Mirelez said during non peak periods, the average call time is around three and a half minutes, but during peak periods, it can be over seven minutes.

“Sometimes with new families, you could spend 20 to 25 minutes on the phone with a person,” Mirelez said. “So, during our peak period, that’s where it gets kind of tricky because we’re trying to give as much information as we can to answer everybody’s questions.”

Julianne Kutil, a sophomore nutrition major, said she contacted OneStop about her bill.

“I called over the summer to ask a question about financial aid,” Kutil said. “I hung up after I was on hold for over five hours. I never even got my question answered.”

Not all students are happy with their services and their wait time.

Nick Veri, a senior advertising major, also experienced a high wait time and was very frustrated with his service.

 “I was on hold for over an hour, and the conversation didn’t even last 45 seconds,” Veri said. “There was a hold on my account from an outstanding charge, and they were holding my loan refund until I paid my charge. So, I had to call to tell them they could use my loan refund for the charge. I even tried to apply for them to call me back, but it didn’t work so I had to sit there on hold.”

Students are finding that sometimes OneStop is not as helpful as it should be, even if they do not have a long wait time.

Andrea Maldonado, a senior integrated mathematics major, visited OneStop and received confusing answers.

“I went in the spring, and I didn’t wait too long because I used the app to get in line before leaving my apartment, which I liked,” Maldonado said. “But I didn’t really get my question answered, and I left more confused than when I started.”

Since the opening of OneStop, it has grown from a staff of 13 to 17 and has recently added more phone lines to help reduce the wait times.

OneStop also offers an online survey where students and visitors can rate overall service, timeliness of response, ability to answer questions or provide a referral, understanding concerns and courtesy of interaction.

When the survey first opened, students had to remain anonymous. In summer 2018, they added a section where students can leave their name and contact information, if they want, and someone from OneStop will reach out to talk to them about the service they received.

Mirelez said based on the survey, when looking at the month of August, OneStop saw a 4 percent increase in overall satisfaction of service from 2017 to 2018.

OneStop has also seen a 13 percent increase in timeliness of responses.

“When I say increase, students can indicate satisfied, very satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied,” Mirelez said. “So when I say an increase, I’m saying an increase of percentage in satisfied or very satisfied.”

In 2018, 80 percent of students, 3 percent higher than 2017, reported satisfaction with OneStop in their ability to answer questions or provide a referral, understanding of concerns and courtesy of interaction.

Diacon and Mirelez said the best thing students should do to avoid a long wait time is to address their issues before busy times.

“If you can deal with whatever it is you need to deal with,” Diacon said, “if you can do that five days before that, six days before that, you’re probably not going to encounter much of a wait time at all, either in person or on the phone.”

Mirelez encouraged students to check their Kent emails and read the emails from OneStop.

“I know sometimes it’s very easy to get an email and instinctively want to pick up the phone or maybe even to panic,” Mirelez said, “but a lot of the times the information that is needed is in the email that’s provided.”

OneStop has updated its website to include a FAQ and an announcement section. It changes based on the questions asked. It also includes information on the phone prompts that may direct students elsewhere to find the same information quicker.

“We are constantly changing those based upon the questions that are being asked,” Mirelez said. “So if you listen to the phone prompts, you’ll find that there is a fair amount of information that you can get about whatever’s going on related to your student account.”

Students are able to contact OneStop using an online form versus emailing them.

Mireliz said even with all these ways to avoid wait times, students are still going to experience longer wait times during peak periods.

“We still have ways to go and work to do,” Mirelez said, “but to make it as best as we can for students is to kind of meet them where they are because we know the expectations and needs are going to change.”

Rachel Hale is the administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected]