Using CRM to Increase Student Enrollment in Higher Education – A Report

Shocking statistics. 

54% of Post-Secondary web-based inquiries did not get a response! 

CRM Dynamics Ltd, a gold certified Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada conducted a study on the Canadian Post-Secondary Education sector that will alarm most readers. In the study, conducted in May of 2015, the focus was to measure a college’s or university’s ability to respond effectively to a website-based inquiry. You would think the education facilities would have some of the most advanced methods, tools and processes to respond to students inquiring about their school. The result was the exact opposite. The test measured the following:

  • Response time (first attempt)
  • Response time (second attempt)
  • Method of submission (phone, email, form, live chat)
  • Auto response vs. real person (context of response)
  • Follow-up
  • CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law) permission

The most shocking result is that 54% of web-based student inquiries were not responded to at all! You read that correctly; out of 110 tests, 54% of them never responded to our question.

Digital engagement from the web page is very important. The primary tools in order of effectiveness are:

  1. Phone Number
  2. Email Address
  3. Contact form
  4. Live Chat

The study revealed that out of the 110 Canadian post-secondary institutions that were surveyed, only 19 had an email address on their homepage. That’s only 17%! Web based inquiries are by far the most leveraged by today’s youth and therefore the most important. Among the 17% of web-based inquiries that were responded to, it was found that only 64% of them have a phone number on their homepage, 4% have a live chat option, and only 42% have a “Contact Us” page. The average post-secondary student is coming directly from high school and is typically 17 or 18 years of age and digitally astute. As Maclean’s writer, Erin Miller, reports, a study done in 2005 by Statistics Canada showed that the withdrawal rate of post-secondary students was 15% and growing; the main reason being that they didn’t like the program. Helping a student select the right program, school, and monitoring the early warning signs of failure are all ways to increase enrollment and retain students. You can read the full Maclean article here.

Due to the high number of unanswered web-based student inquiries, one could assume that many first year post-secondary students will begin their term with uncertainty. Digital communication is today’s main means of contact between students and their post-secondary institution. With unanswered questions, and perhaps a common adolescent lack of confidence to seek the answers, many students will be “in the dark” about aspects of their program that could prove invaluable to the student’s success. That being said, only 56% answered the web-based student inquiries out of 110, which is poor when you consider the competition for students. A Canadian post-secondary institution without the means or worse, without the enthusiasm, to attract new students will be at the mercy of other Canadian institutions who do have it. In various meetings with post-secondary institutions, CRM Dynamics found that many Canadian institutions shy away from “selling” to students. But CRM Dynamics says, “You don’t have to call it selling. Put the tools and processes in place to attract students.”

By leveraging tools used by some of the more sophisticated sales companies, a Canadian post-secondary institution can attract and digitally nurture the students it needs to fulfill admissions standards. The institutions that are attracting students with these tools are overpowering the institutions that claim to be afraid of “selling” their school’s benefits. A Canadian post-secondary institution with the means, enthusiasm, and ability to attract students to their campus will benefit from a large number of new students. The 56% of students who received a web-based reply have a greater probability of attending institution X than the 54% who did not receive a reply. Those students who received the reply and attend institution X have an improved probability of graduating from their program of choice and becoming dedicated Alumni, possibly with children who will one day attend their parents’ Alma Mater.

Canadian post-secondary institutions must attract and retain more effectively. In a highly competitive environment, a student graduating from one of the institutions who did not respond to the web-based inquiries is exponentially lower than the odds of a student graduating from one of the institutions who did respond. A Canadian post-secondary institution will easily be surpassed by any other institution who is not afraid to attract their students and take the appropriate steps to acquire the tools to do so. Digital communication (CRM and Marketing Automation) is essential to any Canadian post-secondary institution. It is a necessity that if left unchanged in the state that many Canadian institutions are currently in, will result in the decline of admissions for all Canadian post-secondary institutions. They will lose to more aggressive international schools who currently use these practices. Canadian post-secondary institutions can take their current percentage of 56% for web-based replies and turn it into that essential 100% simply by improving their digital communication strategies, therefore attracting and nurturing students more effectively.

For a more detailed report please contact us directly. We can help increase student enrollment at your educational institution.

Rob Triggs – Sales Enablement

[email protected]

www.CRMDynamics.ca

by CRM Dynamics

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