Why is there a need for CRM in the Education sector?
Student enrollment is a highly competitive environment and you are interested in ways to boost conversions. You already have a quality student information system of record such as Ellucian or PeopleSoft. We’re going to be referring to the student information system a lot so we’ll call it sis.
Some private universities like SRM, have lakhs of students enrolling every year. With such a huge rush, your workload can get extremely heavy and intense, bogging you down with manual data entry. When you’d rather be spending your time on the most important tasks such as taking decisions on applications.
What is CRM in the Education Sector?
Let’s assume you’re not using CRM for your education business. It is likely you haven’t heard of it. Which is okay because we’ll explain what is CRM in education. CRM stands for constituent relationship management. It’s a powerful yet simple-to-use tool that integrates with your sis. Lets you access information and communicate with students in ways you can’t without it. CRM automates many activities you currently do manually. Which greatly increases the number of applications you can process and frees you to do the most high-value tasks such as making decisions rather than data entry.
How CRM Works?
Let’s see how CRM works for your educational institution. Let’s assume you’re sending letters to prospective students. This is a complicated procedure because there can be so many different types of letters.
There are letters for students who are accepted. Then there are conditional offers for students who need to meet certain criteria. There are letters requesting missing information. Letters requesting transfer credits and equivalencies. Exemption letters, reminder letters, follow-up letters, refusal letters – not to mention the special letters and procedures for international students.
The list goes on and on and it can be an enormous, time-consuming task. Putting a big strain on your admissions department, leaving people overworked, tired and prone to making errors.
Let’s see how you would typically handle this without CRM. For this example, let’s assume you get an application from a student applying to an English program and she’s missing some prerequisite courses. The application comes in by mail or online and your staff enter the information into the SIS.
Then you would get a note informing you that an application is in and this is where you would get involved. First you would evaluate the application to check in the SIS and notice that the student is missing credits. You need to identify which course or courses the student is missing.
You then manually enter that information into a template then manually create a PDF and email it to the student. Your staff follows a very similar procedure for all the letters they are issuing to students for all their particular situations. It’s a constant cycle of looking for information in the SIS and manually entering data into student communications.
It takes a lot of time and a lot of manual labour besides the entire process tends to be prone to all kinds of clerical errors.
Why is there a need for CRM in Higher Education?
Now see how different the procedure would be with CRM. Again the student applies to the English program and your staff enters the data into the sis.
However this time CRM kicks in immediately and you’re not alerted about the application. You don’t have to intervene at all. CRM automatically checks the student’s record against requirements for the English program. If all the requirements are met, CRM triggers an acceptance letter and automatically emails the customized PDF to the student.
If the student is missing credits as in our example, CRM would trigger a personalized PDF indicating exactly which courses the student needs to take. It can even include details of those courses such as associated costs, locations and days. Note that the entire process is automatic and requires no human intervention.
This sounds too good to be true but actually is true. So many customers provide feedback that in the previous years, the manual process was a nightmare. And in the present scenario, with a quality CRM, the workflow has been smooth as glass.
The tremendous time saver comes from CRM’s ability to pull data from the SIS and generate custom PDFs. Lakhs of students see all the required fields in yellow, CRM pulls them automatically from the sis.
Each PDF is customized for a particular student. In the due course of time when any information changes after the document is sent or a course number or anything at all, CRM will generate an updated version and send it to the student automatically.
Benefits of CRM in the Education Sector
CRM can follow up with a series of reminder letters as critical dates approach. Again it’s all automatic. In fact about 90% of all responses to student applications can be fully automated. CRM will flag the other 10% which require verification or a decision by you and that’s the true beauty of CRM.
It frees you from hunting for information and doing data entry and lets you do the most important work like making decisions on applications. And the speed and efficiency you get from CRM, it’s nothing short of fantastic.
If your department currently takes 3 months to process applications you can count on accomplishing the same thing in 10 days. That’s right, what’s currently taking you months can be done in days with CRM.
And when it comes to boosting enrollment, responding to students quickly is critical. With CRM, it’s easy, automatic, incredibly fast and virtually error-free.
And here’s some more great news! You can use CRM to manage touch points with all your students including prospective students, current students and alumni.
With CRM in the Education Sector, it’s all equally effortless and your IT people are never involved.
Also read our blog on Google People Card!