Competition is the order of the day, and it is not any different in the education sector, more so in the higher education institutions (HEIs). Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps organizations in practically all verticals create and develop a strong relationship with their customers. Likewise, in the education sector, a CRM solution helps higher education institutions to attract, retain and better serve their students.
As discussed by StudyPortals, Higher education CRM systems normally serve three key audiences: prospective students, current students, and alumni/donors. With competition on the rise in the higher education sector, HEIs are looking for ways to gain an edge by streamlining their operations. A CRM system is a perfect tool that gives an educational institution the ability to deal with students, parents and alumni, and streamlines such internal processes as student admissions, teacher evaluation and fee payments.
CRM in an academic institution
While CRM systems are used throughout every type of industry, their purpose in academia allows an institution to automate and manage communications with prospective and current students, employees, alumni, donors – everyone in your institution’s community.
As StudyPortals notes, customer information – such as a lead’s/customer’s name, gender, educational background, telephone, email, marketing materials, social media and any other relevant information across different channels – is compiled into a single database, enabling easier information access. This allows messages to be personalized and customized – as well as the channels used to deliver the message to the student in a timely manner. Every interaction with the “customer” is tracked by the CRM, all in one place.
Reasons why higher education institutions should start using a CRM
Serving students and their parents in the right manner and streamlining business processes is the key to the success of any higher educational institution.
According to Kate Tattersfield reporting for TrustRadius:
“Higher education is becoming increasingly competitive and globalized. Naturally, the focus on the quality of digital communication has intensified.
“It’s safe to say that students have high expectations when it comes to the ways in which their institutions engage with them. This is not surprising, considering the average 16-24 year old spends around two hours and 26 minutes engaging with online platforms such as social media on a daily basis.
“To stay ahead of the game, universities need to drive value at every stage of the student lifecycle. If not, they run the risk of losing prospects to more astute institutions that better cater to their students’ expectations. CRMs help universities manage communications with students before they enroll, during their tenure, and after they graduate.”
Specific reasons are as follow:
A CRM system manages your admission process – With a CRM system in place, you can manage the complete student admission process from a single platform. From a student’s course and program to everything else required to complete the admission process, a CRM solution can streamline the entire process. A CRM system helps identify and recruit the best candidates, allows you to engage with them more successfully – and improves your enrollment results.
A CRM system can handle all student inquiries – You can easily follow up on every inquiry in a timely manner. By keeping all your data in one place, a CRM system records every interaction that you’ve had with a student during a counseling session – thereby helping you improve the communication process between your institution and the student.
A CRM system can track all your potential leads – Prospects depend on digital channels to collect information about universities. With a CRM system in place, you get the tools that help you track leads through various engagement programs – including email, print, online and physical events – and evaluates their feasibility. It allows your institution to track which website a student used to find you. A CRM system, therefore, helps you to plan your marketing campaigns smarter and more effectively.
You can streamline teacher evaluations – A CRM system increases consistency and efficiency for the teacher certification process and other career-oriented processes. You can streamline tasks that help you to allocate resources in the right manner. You can also find and place your best available talent on your all-important courses.
You can build beneficial alumni relations – It is important to keep track of your former students. They can help your current students define their career goals and provide them with key networking contacts that can help them get employment opportunities after graduation. Of course, alumni have great value as fundraisers. A CRM system allows you to cultivate all your connections, and build a strong relationship with them. You can also get to know more about your donors, which help you to plan your resources properly.
You can effectively monitor fee payments – The bulk of the funds that your institution receives is through student fees. Automating fee payment process avoids delays, human error and discrepancies.
You can get all the reports with a click of a button – It is important for every institution to assess its performance on a periodic basis. A CRM system lets you do so on several parameters, as you have access to real-time reports. From reports related to your students and faculty, you can assess each aspect easily and conveniently, taking corrective actions to increase efficiency.
You can improve student lifecycle management – Student lifecycle management (SLM) covers the following areas: application, admission, registration and module booking, exam, fees, progression and graduation. You can keep track of all these activities efficiently and guide the student in the right direction, reaching out and engaging during all the touch points during their experience as students. You can also improve their interactions by opening personalized communication channels that offer measurable results, which can help you make better-informed decisions.
Now that you know CRM solutions aren’t just for the corporate world, our team at eZnet CRM is ready to answer your questions and help develop the right system for your college or university. Contact us to learn more.