It’s been three years since we sent out a paper schedule,” Cheryl Thomas, Registrar at St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, India says with pride. Cheryl has worked at the college for 37 years, so she has seen the full evolution of administration operations.

I’ve gone from pencil, paper, and a calculator for figuring cumulative grade point averages, to masses of tablets for scheduling, to typing every transcript, to what we have now. Sometimes I think to myself, How did I do it?”

Since the past 4-5 years, the number of students that were recruited in St. Joseph’s College of Nursing has doubled in itself and is on an upward rise.

What is the reason behind this admission magic?

The magic wand behind this transformation is the  Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) transformation & correct implementation.

If you ever wondered what CRM systems are and why should education institutions consider purchasing one – this article is for you.

CRM is about understanding who your customers and potential customers are, and nurturing the relationships you have with them. CRM Systems are software applications that help to automate and manage communications with the prospective lead and/or with the current opportunities.

Just like the other ever changing industries, the education industry needs to adapt with the changing scenarios. It cannot just rely on the traditional practices like bulk e-mailing, sms etc. According to  survey of around 603 admission enrolment & marketing professionals in U.S.A. by Advance Global Higher Education ( AACRO ) publication on State of CRM in Education Report the findings were pretty clear.

Education institutes using CRM

Fig 1. Universities & All types of Institutes are already jumping on the CRM bandwagon

Need for shift in the educational industry gave rise to need of CRM System that would help the counsellors in shifting to more practical approaches like automated periodic communications, offline lead capture and integrations. The potential ‘customers’ of an educational institute are the ‘students’, ‘their parents’, and ‘alumni’.

So what a CRM system can help you is it can track the activities of a potential student. It can help you in Integrating the leads i.e. to bring together the targeted leads. To qualify the leads i.e. to identify the genuine prospects by their activities and online behaviour. The counsellor can then persuade the prospects by communicating and following-up the prospect by sending him information about the institute, send general reminders and thereby help them in the final conversion i.e. get admitted in the institute.

A recent example of Reinhardt University can be traced to see the success of CRM system in an educational institute. Implementing a CRM system has made a significant impact on Reinhardt University’s ability to successfully recruit and enrol new students. In 2015 Reinhardt finished their recruiting season with 398 new students. In 2016, they recruited 483 new students. In 2017, they set the bar even higher and enrolled 525 new students.

Areas where CRM make a deep impact

Fig 2. Key areas wherein an Education CRM makes a deep impact

Four Major Benefits of using a CRM System are:

1. Drive faster service – Emails and other types of automated communication can help in speeding up the response time and thereby drive faster services.

2. Automated activities – The use of workflow automation will make sure that you do not miss out on any activities of following up, also ensuring that the right thing is delivered to the prospect at the right time.

3. Improved experience – The ultimate purpose that CRM serves is in seamless interaction with the customers and thereby leading to improved experience when you interact with the brand. It makes sure that you are aware of the experiences customers are having with your brand, and reacting accordingly.

4. Increased satisfaction – The use of CRM helps in building the trust amongst the customers and helps you in further activities. An increased trust results in increased customer satisfaction.

Areas where CRM sees maximum benefit inside an Education Enterprise

Fig 3. Areas wherein a CRM sees maximum benefit inside an Education Enterprise

Shifting an institution’s use of their CRM to “strategic” is an undertaking similar to any other institutional change effecting both practice and culture. To do so effectively and efficiently takes strong institutional leadership, comprehensive and in-depth change management skills, a willingness to let go of old business practices, perseverance over time, and, of course, the necessary resources. Fortunately, a plethora of readily available guidance exists for change management and leading such changes. The key to successful CRM implementation is for the management / influencers to do “soft- selling” of the CRM to employees after the CRM implementation through team building exercises, training, and cultivation of a CRM culture.

Fig 4. Institutes have seen great success with CRM outcomes if leadership, business case & users are aligned with the right technology partner

About ExtraaEdge:

ExtraaEdge is a VC backed pioneer in Admissions & Marketing Automation software for the education industry. We are the category leaders when it comes to understanding education marketing & technology that powers educational enterprises. This blog is an effort to share our learnings from the Industry and help education marketeers, admissions counselors and all associated stakeholders of education enterprises learn and grow together.

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