It’s getting tougher for colleges and universities to meet their enrollment goals. As high school students apply to more institutions to broaden their options, yield rates – the percentage of admitted students who actually enroll – have been trending down. Only a third of admissions directors say they met their enrollment goals for the 2017-2018 academic year by May 1, according to a recent Inside Higher Ed survey.
Although many contributing factors are at play here, colleges and universities can increase the chances of prospective students accepting their admissions offer. One option is to equip university contact centers with tools that make it easier to nurture relationships. Not only does cloud communications allow admissions staff to engage with high schoolers and their families in a myriad of ways, it also strengthens collaboration among team members so they can answer questions more quickly.
How to Encourage Admitted Students to Say ‘Yes’
Be where the kids are: Today’s high school students aren’t as receptive to automated phone calls or paper-based brochures as previous generations were. Instead, they use their mobile devices to search for information on potential schools.
Although university websites and email are the primary ways admissions officers market to this generation, social media is fast becoming a key resource in the decision-making process. As we all know, young adults are heavy users of social networking sites. Pew Research Center found, for example, that 78 percent of them use Snapchat, with more than 70 percent checking the platform multiple times each day. More than 70 percent of young adults say they use Instagram, while nearly half are on Twitter.
Some schools, such as Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan, put Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at the center of their recruitment efforts. Through these channels, interested students can get immediate answers to questions about the application process, financial aid and other areas of interest.
By adopting an omni-channel strategy, admissions teams have a better chance at reaching prospective students in their preferred environment. Cloud communications streamlines these interactions by enabling the admissions team to interact with students in every channel – voice, web, text message, web chat and social media – from a single interface.
Save time: Digital marketing combined with cloud communications also offers economies of scale. The time spent making personal phone calls and writing one-to-one emails – which often go unanswered – can lead to a poor ROI for recruitment efforts. Compare this with the seconds it takes to answer questions and share relevant information on social media—information that all applicants see. Contact center agents reach more prospective students per day, maximizing their chances of attracting more new students.
Better manage campaigns: Using scripting modules, admissions teams can deliver a consistent message to admitted students, while keeping call times to a minimum. With intuitive visual scripting interfaces, managers also create scripts that can be modified with zero downtime. Plus, agents have the freedom to manipulate their messages in real-time and use different versions, depending on the personality of the person on the other end of the line. Also, with campaign management tools, such as list segmentation, automated data imports and scheduled reporting, admissions teams can create more targeted and impactful campaigns.
Leverage data for better results: Better data means contact center managers can set appropriate staff levels and avoid paying agents to make calls and posts when no one is listening or online. Cloud communications also keeps the admissions team focused on higher, value-added tasks. Rather than mailing out flyers or making endless calls with poor results, they can devote more time to engaging students in the channels where they’re most likely to pay attention.
Set the University Apart From Competitors
Colleges and universities who leverage modern technology to recruit prospective students set themselves apart from their competition and demonstrate leadership in innovation and communication. By adopting cloud communications, the institution not only increases enrollment, but also earns a reputation for its commitment to creating a more personal, productive and collaborative learning environment.