What does this mean for higher education?
When you consider the wider range of services offered by local councils, and the range of people accessing, I think it's safe to say that the numbers for a university will be significantly higher.
I wrote last year about the cost of customer service, drawing again on work done by SocITM with local councils. The cost of web self service is a tiny fraction of the cost of customer service face-to-face or by phone. (See: The cost of customer service (July 2011))
If it's cheaper by far, and the majority of our customers want to deal digitally (and probably independently) the logical conclusion should be to invest in the online user experience and content management, and to prioritise customer self service as we plan our website strategy. Shouldn't it?