Many universities may have experienced frustration from their students during enrolment. We know students can find the lengthy application process and the seemingly endless questions, and steps required before day one to be onerous.
However, the future of enrolment for higher education institutions will see movement towards a customer centric method akin to a concierge service, as innovation helps to enhance the process.
In my previous blog post, Using human centred innovation to drive enrolment in education, we established the importance of communication in the initial stages as a student explores study options. These same benefits are seen in ongoing interactions in the enrolment process. Human conversations contribute to setting students up for success before courses even begin.
At OES, our enrolment process does just that. Our systems are designed to remove the load from students by taking responsibility for administration tasks wherever possible. This approach is aimed at creating an easy transition from consideration of a course to that first login on the first day. Since implementing this design, we have seen greater success in both student satisfaction and speed to closing a student’s enrolment.
Blending back-end innovation with the human touch
In the Student Recruitment Team, we use numerous innovative tools which enable seamless discussions with students.
Throughout the course planning process, we start by asking questions to identify career plans, what the student aims to get out of study and explore any previous academic history.
Onboarding discussions are underpinned by branching inner systems which enable interactions to be free flowing and dynamic. Based on information being inserted into the system, logical questions are generated for the Course Consultant allowing irrelevant questions to be skipped. This gives the person on the end of the phone an organic conversation while our Course Consultant is guided by technology without being scripted.
Asking the necessary questions in the context of a natural conversation also allows for sensitivity in how a student may interpret certain questions, which otherwise on paper may come across as irrelevant or unreasonable.
From there, we have a purpose-built interactive study planner where the student fills in commitments such as work, travel or family to visually plot how many hours they have in a week to reach their goals. Understanding the impact study has on a student’s schedule, is a powerful preparation tool – encouraging honest and useful planning discussions.
Matching qualitative information from calls with the interactive study planner enables us to create a tailored course plan at the outset to identify the most appropriate foundational units to help them get into the swing of online learning.
Working to build extensive student profiles at the onboarding stage helps to assist students over the span of their study by providing relevant intervention and support programs when needed. But importantly, to the student, this should feel like nothing more complicated than a conversation with their Course Consultant.
By utilising an onboarding process which combines the benefits of insight driven technology and human emotive intelligence we can ensure students log on to their first day of study more confident, with all of the information required to set them up for success.