College enrollment has become a largely bureaucratic structure in recent years. For many first generation college students, the process of applying to higher education can be a muddled, unclear process. The basis for all enrollment is a clean-cut CRM system that actively engages with the student, and learns as time goes on to share the burden with the college administration.
The Evolution of CRM
In the 2000s, institutions largely had a record-based system of student interactions. This left little room for intelligence or growth, observed Campus Management's Jennifer Beyer in her CRM session at AACRAO SEM.
In the 2010s social media and mobile channels changed the way students engage, and now there is a push to use CRM systems that are aware and able to prescribe best solutions. Moving forward, the basis for all CRM systems should be one that is a modern platform; constantly evolving, learning, and actively engaging with the constituent. This provides accessibility for students, and lessens the burden of the institution administration, which is limited by their staff size and human constraints.
What Kind of Systems?
Chat bots are the most widely referenced CRM system used by college administrations currently. They allow for 24/7 accessibility, 364 days a year. Dr. Timothy Rennick, Vice Provost for strategic enrollment at Georgia State University, attributes the high enrollment and retention rate of their minority and first generation college students to their chat bot system.
In addition to chat systems, it is important to have a wide array of open communication. Social media marketing, email marketing, text messages, and in person events and appointments all help attract students, and sustain relationships with them.
Learning from Data
Like the CRM systems, the administration officials must learn from the data collected. See what signals you get, develop appropriate “nudges,” and modify as needed. Quantify your data and leverage it to continue building relationships. Become competitive by keeping an eye on new markets and creating asset relationships with relevant companies. The future is in evolution.