Three ways to improve your college’s recruitment program

Again, this results in backpedaling, cost overruns, and a huge lack of confidence in the data among end-users which begets user-adoption issues. Testing is a detail-oriented process, but your vendor can provide guidance around a testing plan and best practices for ensuring all scenarios have been thoroughly reviewed before go live. Be thorough up front, as it can haunt you later.

3. Take an incremental approach: Don’t try to do everything at once. The best CRM projects are incremental – by enrollment department, student segment or process area. Find areas with eager users and clearly defined processes for initial projects to build support for broader initiatives.

A successful CRM strategy begins by first focusing your efforts on the customer – the prospective student. With this customer focus, reexamine your enrollment process from end-to-end (marketing and outreach through first day of class). Consider questions of customer experience, information sharing, and key milestones.

When and how is the prospective student first “touched” by your institution?  How does this first contact develop into more meaningful interaction that provides both the student and institution more clarity of a potential “best fit”?  How are key customer data collected efficiently and then shared within the institution and back to the student for process/progress transparency?

The question is how to move from this vision of a customer-centric enrollment process to reality? Creating a customer-based CRM plan begins with the identification of enrollment goals and supporting objectives that tie to success for the institution, and its students.  

Tie technology to your goals

Over the last few decades in the business arena, CRM evolved as from a “nice to have” to a must have. Witness to this success, campus leaders recognize the power of CRM and must learn how to do it right.

CRM success is primarily a function of people, process and clear business goals and, only secondarily, about enabling technology. The potential of CRM lies not in technology itself, but in the process of using technology to support organization goals, processes, and people.

Essentially the technology should provide your institution with an in-depth understanding of your prospective students and drive unique, valuable interactions through the entire student lifecycle, beginning with prospect.

In order to better recruit and retain students, institutions must devise CRM strategies that go beyond technology.

If executed properly, a CRM initiative should provide your institution with growth toward enrollment goals, enrollment process efficiency, customer experience quality and deep intelligence about what’s working and not working.

Ultimately, these CRM benefits will, in fact, enable your admissions office to better serve its student base.

Todd Gibby is the president of higher education for Hobsons.

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