Enquiry Handling Definitions

There are various ways we can handle a student related enquiry.

  • Answering
  • Redirecting
  • Gate keeping
  • Signposting
  • Referring

Answering

Definition: “a thing that is said, written, or done as a reaction to a question, statement, or situation.”

When to answer: If we have the answer readily to hand, it is a straight-forward enquiry and something we are familiar with we can answer the question fully and with reference to no one else.

Redirecting

Definition: “direct (something) to a new or different place or purpose.”

When to redirect: If the student has come to the wrong place we can redirect the enquiry to the appropriate information source or specialist service.

Gatekeeping

Definition: “The activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something:”

  • Service
  • Information
  • Location

When to gate keep: colleagues may have already provided information to students and do not want enquiries on this referred back to them. In these cases we reiterate the original message and answer questions where colleagues have provided information how they want us to respond.

Signposting

Definition: “An indication, sign, or guide”. This usually involves telling the student about information available to them and where they can go to obtain this. This could include:
• a website
• a telephone number / email address
• the name and address of a service

When to signpost: It may be that the answer will require the customer to consider a great deal of information. In these instances we signpost people to an appropriate resource. This may include something like signposting to a web page or self service area.

Referring.

Definition: “the act of directing someone to a different place or person for information, help, or action, often to a person or group with more knowledge or power”

When to refer: Often you can provide a student with some response to their enquiry but not all. We refer an enquiry to another service specialist when we have limited information, where we are unsure, or if we do not have the authority to decide or provide information. In these cases we explain the situation to the service and introduce the student and explain their enquiry as far as we understand it.