University of Glasgow


The University of Glasgow in Scotland has a lot to be proud of. Not only is it the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world, it continuously ranks as one of the top 100 universities, placing it within the top 1% globally.

Within the UK, it is one of the top ten institutions in the country.

Since its foundation in 1451, University of Glasgow alumni have made their impact: Adam Smith redefined modern economics, and many top UK prime ministers, justitians, and business leaders have at one point passed through its halls.

Today, the University of Glasgow has 32,000 students spread across multiple faculties. Visitors from the UK and abroad come to the University to see the wonderful architecture that is often described by students and visitors as being like the Hogwarts school from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.


  • Education
  • Retail


  • Student Experience
  • Customer Experience



Providing a first-class experience for 32,000 students and visitors is no small task. That responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Commercial Services team. Not only are they responsible for accommodation and dining services, they also manage sport facilities, the University of Glasgow gift shop, and run printing services.

Because of the possible impact – both positive and negative – their work has on thousands of people, the Commercial Services team needed to understand whether students, staff, visitors, and others were satisfied with their experience across their six areas of responsibility.

Other than occasional online surveys, they had no way of understanding their audiences’ experiences. For example, is the water temperature of the shower areas having an impact on students’ use of the facilities? Were there any menu items the catering service failed to provide for lunch that day? Even if Commercial Services wanted to act immediately to prevent negative experiences, it would be too late.

This lack of knowledge of their audiences’ experiences also created long-term problems. Would audiences rather have a more expensive, higher quality catering experience, or is having cheaper meals more of a priority? Would audiences rather have a WiFi upgrade, or more welcoming common areas? There was no way to identify what areas needed the most work in order to provide the best experience, thus limiting Commercial Services to educated guessing.

To face these challenges, the Commercial Services team needed the following:

  • An easy performance indicator at the global and the department level, updated in real-time, to monitor and act on negative experiences.
  • Clarity as to what audiences want and expect when interacting with the University of Glasgow, beyond just educated guesses.
  • Anticipate potential issues before they become problems, being then able to dispatch the right teams within Commercial Services to handle the problem.


“The Ombea team has been very professional from day one, asking the right questions to understand exactly what we need. Ombea’s also constantly innovating, which means the platform will develop as our organizational needs develop.”

After exploring the local market for real-time feedback solutions, the Commercial Services team chose Ombea. The combination of attentive customer support with a constantly developing product convinced the team of their choice.

Working with Ombea’s Customer Success team, the ideal setup for UofGlasgow’s goals was defined:

  • 14 ExpressTab tablets spread equally amongst the gift shop, eateries, student residence halls and printing stations.

  • After using the printers, users get a receipt over email which includes a survey link powered by Ombea’s Anywhere tool.

Because Ombea collects feedback from fourteen different touchpoints simultaneously, Commercial Services has established the “87%” performance indicator. In each of the six working areas, in any given day, 87% of feedback received must be excellent. In other words, 87% of users must press the dark green smiley. If a particular location drops below 87%, the appropriate team is notified, which then acts on the issue to get things back on track.

To gain clarity on what audiences expect, Commercial Services have been using Ombea’s logic function. At each touchpoint, including the fourteen tablets and the Anywhere links, users are asked “How was your experience?” If they indicate complete satisfaction, the survey is complete. If, however, the user chooses any of the red, yellow and light-green options, a follow-up multiple-choice question appears: “Sorry your experience didn’t live up to your expectations, Please tell us why,” from which they can choose an appropriate option (“self-service,” “cleanliness”, etc.). With this information, Commercial Services know exactly where they need to focus their efforts long-term.


The 87% performance indicator isn’t just helpful to the Commercial Services team. Every month, publicly visible posters are placed in each of the fourteen locations, showing the Ombea chart that breaks down satisfaction. Commercial Services will shortly be communicating the actions taken based on the feedback. Doing this shows audiences that leaving their feedback matters because it will be acted upon, thus encouraging even more feedback.

Once the feedback data enters the Ombea platform, it’s easy to break it down by department. This means that each week, management can see performance at the department level without having to dig through comment cards, surveys, or make educated guesses. If something’s off, management knows exactly which department they need to talk to, making for more efficient performance meetings and transparency.

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