Attracting and retaining students is a top priority for colleges and universities, but this is becoming more of a challenge. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the number of undergraduates is down nearly 5 percent compared to two years ago.
Experts agree that the key to attracting and retaining students is connecting with them early and often throughout their academic journeys. Personal connections and easily accessible communications with administrators contribute to positive student experiences and increase students’ pride and loyalty to the school.
Higher education institutions should make enhancing student communications a top priority. Investing in a contact center solution is an easy way to significantly improve student engagement and communications from recruitment and enrollment to graduation and the alumni experience.
Recruit Prospective Students
According to a U.S. News & World Report, the number of colleges each high school senior applies to has increased, creating more competition for students’ hearts and minds and driving the need to engage prospective students as early as possible.
In addition to fighting for students’ attention, schools are also fighting for an extended period. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) recently extended admissions deadlines beyond the May 1 date, forcing admissions teams to expand their recruitment practices and campaigns over an extended enrollment cycle.
Now that students have more options and more time to choose a college or university, admissions teams must engage students before they ever even visit campus. Modern, simple-to-use contact center solutions can be implemented quickly — without needing a technical background — making it easier than ever to reach potential students.
Contact center solutions enable admissions teams to produce effective outbound campaigns while also fielding inbound inquiries. A contact center as a service (CCaaS) platform with omnichannel capabilities helps administrators connect with potential students on their preferred channels, including voice, chat, social media, etc. CCaaS platforms also offer a centralized platform for all interactions and notes, so anyone can continue the conversation, giving prospective students the personal connection they look for in an alma mater.
Support Current Students
How the world communicates is evolving, and so is the delivery of higher education. In 2021, 59 percent of higher education students were enrolled in remote learning courses, proving that IT teams must be able to support students wherever they are and whenever they need help.
To keep up with the increasing number of remote students, university IT teams have felt pressure to overhaul the existing communications technology. But implementing campus-wide technologies to support student communication goals can be laborious and expensive, drawing scrutiny from school leaders and board members who fail to see IT as a revenue driver. This is why higher education institutions are behind when it comes to technological innovations and why there is a significant gap between the technology students expect and what universities provide.
IT teams can combat this reluctance to deploy new technology with a simple, modern, affordable, and easy-to-manage CCaaS solution. Cloud based contact center technology can be up and running quickly and managed from a centralized platform across multiple channels, departments, and locations. CCaaS features like advanced call routing can help students reach the department or person they need quickly and efficiently; once connected, scripting tools can support consistent messaging based on the most up-to-date information.
Alumni donations are a crucial revenue stream for many higher education institutions, but according to Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL), these donations are decreasing. Alumni relationships with their alma maters are changing, and engagement is plummeting.
Among RNL’s key suggestions for increasing donor engagement and donations is bringing campaigns and communications into the digital realm. With people spending more than eight hours per day on average using digital media, it is time for academic institutions to undergo a digital communications transformation.
Cloud-native contact center technology can help administrators connect with alumni on a variety of channels and provide a central platform for all records and communications. This omnichannel approach allows the real-time responses that today’s consumers expect. A contact center solution created for omnichannel communications can help track the alumni journey and measure success so administrators can adjust campaigns and outreach strategies to boost ROI.
Support the Student Journey from Start to Finish with CCaaS
Because engagement and communications are closely tied to the technology that supports these efforts, IT teams are often held accountable for spearheading technological improvements. Investing in a CCaaS solution like GoContact can increase engagement throughout the student journey while also improving internal communications and collaboration. Admissions teams can create low-code outreach campaigns; support teams can manage calls, chats, emails, and social media interactions using a single platform; and alumni outreach teams can solicit and receive real-time donations using multiple communication channels.
Contact us to learn how GoContact can help administrators support the student lifecycle.