With the holidays comes a break from the card office routine, and the ability to recharge the batteries before the new year. But the spring semester has a way of creeping up quickly, so it can be vital to prepare in advance so that the card office doesn't skip a beat.
Heartland Campus Solutions' director of OneCard sales, Fred Emery, asks six important questions that can help make a card office's transition into the new year as smooth as possible.
"Take inventory of your card production supplies as soon as your semester comes to an end," says Emery. "You need to make sure that you are fully stocked for lost card for returning students and the next semester."
Highlighting the importance of marketing a campus card and its uses, Emery stresses that effective marketing not only boosts the success of the overall card program, but can also help reduce student issues and the number of last minute service points. "Make sure your students know where to go to get their card, how to add funds, where they can use their card, and what online and mobile resources are available to them," he adds.
An increasing number of card services being facilitated, or moving outright, to mobile. Online photo submission is just one example, but in adopting this service card offices can reduce lines in the office and alleviate workflow. Online photo submission allows your office to capture photos before the semester starts and plan an organized card pick up event, explains Emery.
Emery implores card offices to plan system upgrades well in advance. "Waiting until right before the semester starts is a risky venture since it does not give you a chance to test and get accustomed to new features," he says. Depending on the situation, Emery explains that it may be better to conduct system upgrades in the early summer, right after the spring semester ends.
Before students arrive back on campus for the new semester, it's a good idea to take a stroll around campus to make sure your card readers are functioning properly, says Emery. "If you use magnetic stripe readers, it's a good idea to clean the reader head with a cleaning card to remove any dirt or residue," he adds. "This can help ensure your terminals are functioning at their best and can also help reduce calls and questions at the start of the new semester."
Emery suggests that to keep everyone up to speed, having training sessions with office staff before the new semester can be a great measure. "Training sessions can ensure that card office personnel are aware of any changes in the card program and are prepared to answer frequently asked questions from your card holders," says Emery. "It's also beneficial to have refresher courses throughout the year."