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Commercial Services

We will develop services that meet the needs of our international student members.

Link to Case Studies

Diversity and Influence, Accessibility and Provision, Staff and Training, Hearing Feedback

Diversity and Influence

 Engage all students when planning your services and get input from a diverse range of students. Liaise with international students about the products and services you offer and are planning to offer. This is a good discussion topic to present to your international officer or committee.

Look at ways of offering more diverse products, potentially working with local suppliers. Think beyond food and ask students what other products and services they would find useful.

 If you run your own commercial services, make it clear that the profits are reinvested in the students’ union.

Accessibility and Provision

Look at what you are providing and how it is used. Ensure you have monitoring processes in place that capture the different groups of students that use your services and include international students as a distinct group.

Include international students when as a distinct group monitoring use of your service. Look for differences and trends that will help you to understand how international students use your services – remember that they are not a homogenous group and there may be significant variations between different groups of international students

Consider any specific provisions you may need to make to make your services more accessible to international students. This could include clearly labelling food and ingredients.

Be aware of your international student population and design your provision accordingly – if you have a large number of students from a particular national, cultural or faith background, you could adapt your provision in line with festivals or events.

Look at how you can establish joint working with membership services to bring benefits to international students

Review your marketing materials and channels to see whether they are appropriate for your audience.

Staff and Training

The attitudes and knowledge of staff in commercial outlets on campus can have a big impact on the international student experience.

Include cultural awareness training as part of the induction process for all staff. Materials to help you with this are available online.

Ensure all staff selling or working with food are trained in dietary needs and are aware of products available.

Monitor the number of international students applying for and receiving jobs in your commercial outlets.If you have an outlet solely selling international food, try to include home students in the staff team. Provide clear guidance and support for international students in terms of working hours and visa restrictions – ensure managerial staff have full training in this area

Consider the different expectations of service that international students may have.

Hearing Feedback

Ensure that you are hearing the international student voice when capturing customer satisfaction levels. Make certain that you are actively asking them for their views. Include international students as a distinct group when asking for feedback. You could ask a group to be ‘mystery shoppers’ and provide an international perspective on your provision.

Use a variety of feedback methods including face to face feedback, online surveys, focus groups and comment card competitions. Capture new suggestions and ideas – international students bring with them an international perspective that could lead to an innovative new approach to your business.

Act on the feedback you receive and take action to address areas of concern.

Share your results with the rest of the officer team to get their input and research the commercial viability of different ideas with the relevant union staff member(s).

Close the feedback loop – let international students know that you have acted on their feedback.