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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In this blog, we look at the 8 key ways how chatbots for education enterprise can fit the new age into their marketing strategy making it predictive, intelligent & new age. Also suggest ways for institutes to build one !!

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

We live in a world of empathy driven marketing. Trying to solve problems of our buyers & helping them succeed thereby achieve their buying goals. Where communication & engagement with a prospect buyer 24*7*365 has become a norm. 

How marketing communication has evolved with prospects. Courtesy – HubSpot.com

spectrum of messaging

Education being no exception, if you think about it deeply due to the inherent nature of education industry admissions is a time critical event. One of the most important activities not only in the life of a student but the institute itself. For students is the most imp step towards a career choice & for institutes is their core sales & marketing activities.

So how does an educational enterprise constantly keep in touch with their prospects across the clock ? Social ?? WhatsApp ?? Twitter ?? Website ?? Landing Pages ??

 

Enter CHATBOTS

Ok so What Are Chat Bots ?

No need to overcomplicate it. A chatbot is a computer program designed to automate certain human tasks by chatting with users through a conversational interface. These chatbots are powered by AI which helps to answer complex questions with personalized responses to the user. It’s as simple as ordering a list of if-then statements and answering all course related queries, often without any technical mumbo jumbo.

Aside from being awesome for helping with student admission queries, AI-powered chatbots can be part of your education marketing initiatives and help push your students seamlessly through your admission funnel.

 

How Can Chatbots help Educational Institutes?

KEY 1: Personalized admission experience

Having an interaction with an admission counselor who knows you by name can completely alter the nature of a conversation. Chatbots for education can gather data about the person they interact with by integrating with social media. When a student has a admission inquiry, the chatbot can answer it accurately and take the conversation a step further by offering personalized admission/course related advice based on the students aspiration and career goals.

KEY 2: Larger admission engagement ability

Chatbots are unique because they not only engage with your students, they also retain them. This means that unlike other forms of marketing, chatbots keep your students engaged for longer. For example, let’s say you catch your audience’s attention with an answer & he wants to know more, you can then pace this information flow through these rules of information i.e. website, video, docs etc. A chatbot can catch your student’s attention and learn from the interaction, allowing it to send relevant information regarding your institute later.

KEY 3: Reach a wider student / parent audience

Because chatbots for education are sitting 24*7*365 perennially on your website, landing pages & admission forms. This, in turn, opens new opportunities for you to increase admissions & not miss any incoming enquiries. Expecting your customer care team to be able to answer every single inquiry on your website is not only unrealistic, but also extremely time-consuming, and therefore, expensive. With a chatbot, you’re making yourself available to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chatbots not only save you money but also help to stay active on social media platform.

KEY 4: Gather and analyze student feedback and data

Your chatbot offers the perfect opportunity for you to gather feedback from your students. Unless there’s an incentive to do so, students don’t want to spend their time reading detail information. A chatbot introduces questions naturally to help with conversations which in turn helps to gather feedback in an effective way. Additionally, with the right machine learning tools, your chatbot can analyze feedback and other information it gathers from prospect students, giving you more insight into what your student truly wants. From there, you can remodel your marketing strategy to become more focused on your customer’s needs.

KEY 5: Send relevant admission notifications

Students don’t want to be bombarded with emails, text messages, and other notifications every time something happens regarding your business, products, or services. Because chatbots are able to capture and analyze data, they’re also able to send personalized notifications through relevant to admissions.

KEY 6: Make admission with institute brand more FUN

Apart from delivering information chatbots are also able to keep interactions engaging and fun. This type of chatbot makes your marketing more fun and interactive, leaving a lasting impression on the student. It can also share links of relevant blogs which can help in increasing visitors to your website.

KEY 7: Automatically make tour institute brand proactive

Oftentimes, brands have a passive approach to customer interactions. They only communicate with their audience once a consumer has contacted them first e.g form fill, lead magnets etc.. A chatbot automatically sends a welcome notification when a person arrives on your website or landing page making the user aware of your chatbots presence. This makes you seem more proactive, thus enhancing your institute brand’s reputation and can even increase interactions, having a positive effect on your admission numbers, too.

KEY 8: Move prospect seamlessly through the admission funnel

Enquiry nurturing is an essential part of every institute’s marketing strategy; unfortunately, it’s also extremely time-consuming. Chatbots allow you to gather the information you need to then create personalized messages that can help guide your customer’s through their admissions journey.

 

How to Get Your Own AI-powered Chatbot for Education Enterprise

While the thought of creating an AI-powered chatbot may seem daunting, chatbot-building platforms like HubSpot, Motion.AI, IBM, Facebook, Microsoft etc allow you build bots. ExtraaEdge offers its own specialised ChatBots for higher education to assist you in this journey. 

Why your Marketing Needs a Bot Advantage Today & Now !

There’s no downplaying what bots could do. For institutes and students alike, we have a chance to redeem communication and voice of admissions. Research would be convenient, enquiries streamlined, and admissions personalized.

Don’t miss the opportunity here. By nature of what bots are, they offer a radical new reality. Bots are built to be helpful. They require a person to opt-in. And for the first time, they encourage scalable, one-on-one conversations between institutes and prospective students.

It’s the makings of a marketer’s dream: a world where institute brands can build authentic relationships with their students, and students can learn to engage with institute seamlessly.

 Embrace this marketing change today.

 

About ExtraaEdge:

ExtraaEdge is a data-science backed cloud-based 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.

All possible workflows of admissions, course enquiries, marketing & sales are inbuilt from various recipes across Universities, Test Prep, Coaching, B-Schools, Vocational, Skill Development & Training & Educational NGO’s to name a few. You are just a call away from building a personalised ChatBot for your institute without any technical complexity.

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