What you will learn by reading this article
After we decided to acquire more colleges under the Asher umbrella, we realised we needed something better to make the admissions process easier for counselors and students. We needed to be responsive, and be able to get back to prospective students quickly.
Like Kim, an easy-to-implement admissions process that allows you to be maximally responsive is critical to your ability to increase your enrolments.
How to simplify your admissions process, respond to prospective students quickly and increase your enrolments
Step 1: Know and commit to the basics
I cannot improve what I cannot measure.
Know what you are currently achieving
Do you have a clear idea of how quickly you can respond to new admissions? Do you have clearly established benchmarks and unambiguous data on how often you meet them?
Your first step in improving the rate and quality of your responses is starting to record how long it takes you to respond to new admissions, as well as every step in your admissions process. Start recording this today.
Learn where your responsiveness is the best
Once you have an idea of how quickly you typically respond to admissions, determine the conditions under which you respond the fastest.
If your team responds to admissions via a portal, do you get back to prospective students faster if they reach you on that platform? Is your team more responsive in the mornings, or in the afternoons?
Figure out the platforms and conditions with which your team performs the best. This information will be useful in Step 3.
Collectively commit to benchmarks
Once you have a sense of what your admissions team can do and how their performance varies depending on different conditions, get everyone together to commit to some benchmarks.
What your admissions team should have clear and unambiguous standards for
Time to kill
What is the longest an applicant should wait before receiving their first communication?
Make the connection
What are the communications / information every applicant must receive?
Close the loop
How long should the entire admissions process take?
LeadSquared’s custom reports help us track everything, from activities to goals on the level of each rep. We combine data from these reports and can now make more informed forecasts and plan things right from budgets to the number of outreaches to the correct call scripts.
Step 2: Create the tools you need to perform at your best
With a high volume of inquiries, it’s important that our admission counselors prioritise and reach the most engaged ones first.
Increasing your enrolments depends on your ability to respond to inquiries and process admissions as quickly as possible. The following three steps will put you in a great position to begin interrogating how efficient your admissions team is now and what it would take to get them to the next level.
Improve and use your FAQ
Does your website have a Frequently Asked Questions section?
FAQ pages are a very useful way of answering your prospective students’ questions without taking up the time of your admission or support teams. But could your FAQ page be doing more to relieve pressure on your admissions team?
Update your FAQs with a detailed account of the admissions process as well as the questions your admissions team is currently receiving.
Prospective students who are aware of the admissions process and what it requires can be processed more quickly. You can also speed up the admissions process for individuals by directing them to resources in your FAQ, rather than having your admissions team spend time explaining the same thing multiple times a day.
Create templates and shortcuts
Your FAQs are an example of a shortcut: rather than taking up your admission team’s time explaining the same information to different prospects, you can direct them to your FAQ’s page and engage them when they would take less time from your team.
Don’t waste time creating custom responses to common questions.
Consider the most common responses your team is required to produce and create templates for them. When these questions are raised you can respond by simply updating the templates, delivering the same information in less time.
Think about what other multi-step processes happen everyday. If you typically receive 5 emails a day enquiring about a specific course, and each time are required to respond with a series of emails, confirmations, questions or forms, plot out that process and keep all the material / templates in the same place. In this way you will be able to reduce the amount of time it takes to perform common procedures.
Remember these benchmarks?
- What is the longest an applicant should wait before receiving their first communication?
- What are the communications / information every applicant must receive?
- How long should the entire admission process take?
How do you ensure that these standards are met by your admissions team? Set up time-based alerts to remind you when a deadline is approaching.
Your email system or customer relationship software should allow you to set timers after receiving an email or a certain action is taken. If not, your team can manually set alerts for themselves.
If you haven’t heard of email automation, you’ll be surprised that you haven’t been made aware of something this useful before.
Some Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Lead Management Systems (LMS) allow you to create emails in advance and have them be sent automatically to people who perform certain predefined actions, such as filling out a form on your website or clicking on one of your adverts.
This enables your team to deliver important information to applicants in personalised, appropriately timed emails completely automatically, freeing them up to only focus on applicants who need their focused attention.
Step 3: Set up the processes that will produce the best results
Smart Views helps our reps organise their inquiries by engagement and status in the enrolment cycle. Hence all prospects are informed about every step, which helps us enroll the right students to our school.
Now that you’ve invested the time to learn about your admission teams’ capacities and develop some tools to empower them to complete admissions quickly, you need to establish the processes that will ensure you speed up your admissions, respond to applicants as quickly as possible and thereby increase your enrolments.
Filter people to where your responsivity is best
Once you have determined the platforms and conditions with which your team performs the best, focus on making those conditions as prevalent as possible.
Your admissions team is able to respond faster over the student portal than over email? Let prospective applicants know that admissions and high-priority communications should be sent over the student portal rather than via email.
Your verification team is typically held up by requests from other departments until 11am? Let students know that they should only submit admissions after 11am.
You have been able to produce more shortcuts and templates for your undergraduate courses than for your postgraduate courses? Dedicate more of your team to completing postgraduate admission processes and get your smaller undergraduate team to practice using the templates and shortcuts.
By now you should have learned a lot about your admissions team. Put that learning into practice by building processes that make use of what you have learned.
Decide how each tool is going to be implemented
What is stopping your team from completing their processes? Where are the gaps, difficulties and challenges?
Think about which problems and shortcoming your FAQs page, your templates, your shortcuts and other tools could solve.
Your tools aren’t doing you any good until you put them to use. Start employing them in your processes and you will soon realise what issues they could solve and which processes they could speed up.
Your ability to increase your enrolments will depend on your ability to accurately monitor, analyse and improve on your admission team’s performance.
Print out this article and keep it on your desk, on your wall or somewhere you might find it in a month. Interrogating your team’s performance, building new tools and reexamining your processes every few weeks is something that will not only improve your team’s performance, but develop a culture of continual improvement that will see your admissions team grow from strength to strength.
With LeadSquared we’ve defined a straightforward, 21-contact strategy on our CRM so that the reps are notified about each touchpoint and reaction from the prospects regularly.
Thanks to LeadSquared, the Asher College admissions team was able to increase its speed-to-lead by a factor of 12. Its contact rate went up by 13% and scheduled campus appointments improved by 5%.
Marketing automation never looked this good
LeadSquared provides an all-in-one solution to lead management, helping you collect and track leads from all your online and offline sources. With tools like lead scoring, lead qualification, and lead distribution, you always know who your hottest leads are and where they are in your sales funnel. You can also automate tasks like follow up and scheduling to continue nurturing relationship at scale.
Try LeadSquared today with a 15-day free trial and discover a better way to manage your admissions process.
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