A lesson on enhancing customer relationships, for educators
Welcome to Customer Relationships 101, where you will learn a few easy ways to build, nurture and sustain better bonds with those who pay for your services. Listen well, especially if you are in the business of providing education to young or older students. After all, every student is your customer and very often, it’s their word-of-mouth references that garner even more students for your institute.
According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, India has over 1.4 million schools and more than 35,000 higher education institutes, and there’s still plenty of potential for further growth. That kind of boom in any industry, spells greater competition and of course means that you have to work harder to attract and retain students. In the current scenario, brick and mortar education institutes, also face stiff competition from online education providers and from distance learning centers that are quickly gaining popularity.
It’s not hard to gain an edge over your competitors. Remember that happy students, who have a great experience with your institute, will be sure to recommend you to their friends and family members.
Are you in the business of education? And would you like to educate yourself on a few ways that cloud telephony can help you increase leads, convert potential students, and raise satisfaction levels amongst your students? If yes, do read on.
Ensure contact convenience
If you have a website to promote your institute and courses, there’s a neat ‘click to call’ feature you can implement, to engage students, once they arrive at your page. All you have to do is introduce a widget on your website and implement a ‘Call Now’ button for prospective students to click on. This button is usually attached to a short form in which the prospect has to fill a few details such as his or her name and telephone number
When the site visitor clicks on the button, the cloud telephony system will automatically call an agent that works for you and simultaneously connect to the student’s phone number and then bridge both calls. In case you don’t have multiple agents to handle multiple calls, you can also configure the system to call the student’s phone and play a recorded message promising to have an agent call back later.
If you don’t have a website, that’s no problem either. You can promote your institute offline by listing a phone number and encouraging prospective students to give you a missed call. When the student gives a missed call to the listed number, the system will again connect simultaneously with the prospect and an agent and then connect the two of them. The missed call mechanic is great for students to get in touch when they want to register themselves, or get more information.
By ensuring that prospective students can reach you or an agent easily, to get relevant information that they require, you demonstrate how important they are to you. This also gives reflects to some extent, the level of attention they will receive, when they enroll in your institute.
If your students are minors, you will need to ensure that their parents know that you are taking good care of their wards. You can send parents notifications and updates via SMS, to let them know their child’s progress, or intimate them about events, upcoming tests, and even provide fee payment reminders. Check with your cloud telephony company if they support the sending of bulk SMSes or voice calls.
Measure your marketing efforts and tailor your offers for students
Call tracking is a useful mechanism that can help you figure out which one of your marketing campaigns is working to generate the most leads. Let’s say for example, you have an online web banner offering a discount for enrolling online and another offline newspaper advertisement that offers a referral refund, you can simply allocate a virtual number to each of these campaigns.
Virtual numbers are automatically redirected to your business phone and tracked. All you have to do is look at the number of calls made to each virtual number. This will tell you which promotions generate the most calls and therefore which promotions are attracting more students. This is doubly beneficial for you. You will be able to offer prospective students more attractive promotions, and also be able to allocate your budget to the campaigns that offer more returns.
Why should students pay the price?
They shouldn’t, especially when they are calling to get more information about your institute or courses. Implement a toll free number for your education business, though a cloud telephony service provider. The prospects that call in will be happy that they are not being billed for the call and you will see an increase in the number of inquiries being made via the telephone.
Individual attention inside and outside the classroom
Educators today understand the importance of giving students one-to-one, personalized attention, within the classroom, based on their unique abilities and qualities. Outside the classroom too, when students connect with you, or your institute, it is vital to make them feel good and show them that you know them and what they are interested in.
You can easily achieve this level of personal response by integrating your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with your phone system and implementing an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system into your phone system. Here’s what happens then. A current student calls in to inquire about another course he is interested in. The IVR greets him politely and directs him to an agent to learn more about the course. The agent can see all the details of the student in the CRM, and can then tailor his conversation to match the student’s interests and expectations. This kind of personalizing always makes a prospect feel more positive about the people he or she is interacting with.
In addition, if your cloud telephony service provider supports call recording, it’s a great way to improve your interactions with prospective students. Since all conversations are recorded, you can play back the mp3 files, to learn what changes you can make to better your dialogue with students and prospects.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” He was of course talking about the importance of education. However, we see this as applicable to educators as well. If you’ve invested some time reading the points above, and in doing so upped your knowledge on how cloud telephony can make a difference to your business, then our work here is done and your investment will soon pay rich returns.