Higher education, like many industries, is facing a competitive landscape unlike any in the past. Today, it’s more important than ever for colleges and universities to attract and retain students. Like those other industries, these institutions are facing tighter budgets and fewer resources. How do colleges and universities remain competitive in this market? Some are turning to the same customer relationship management (CRM) tools other industries use.
CRM has traditionally been considered a tool used largely in retail environments, but over the last few years, more and more nonretail organizations are realizing that they need CRM, too. In higher education, the student is the customer, and institutions that have begun to view students as such are seeing higher percentages of retention and completion. Below are three additional reasons colleges and universities should tap CRM for student success.
Student Life-Cycle Management
Student life-cycle management is a relatively new phrase that refers to the relationship an institution has with a student, from recruitment through alumnus. During this life cycle, the college or university communicates with a student about a variety of issues, from program information and registration through course requirements and ultimately the move from graduation to alumnus. Institutions that manage and track these communications effectively communicate better with their students, which results in higher student retention rates. CRM helps institutions effectively manage these communications in an automated fashion, allowing faculty to focus their time on students who require more assistance to reach graduation.
Stronger, More Personal Relationships
Much as CRM allows retailers to build more personal relationships with customers, it can do the same for colleges and universities. For example, some universities use CRM to monitor both external factors and student behavior to find patterns that might indicate that a student is struggling and risks failing a course or dropping out entirely—for example, a student whose weakness is mathematics but who also suffers a family loss during a semester. As soon as the student’s grade or attendance hits a specified threshold, the system can notify the appropriate faculty. The faculty member then reaches out to the student to support and guide him or her back onto the path to completion.
Another example is a student who’s consistently performing at the top of his or her class. In this situation, again, the correct faculty member would receive an automated alert, but the faculty member could them point the student toward special programs, internships, or awards that would propel both the student’s college career and his or her career after graduation.
New Learning Modalities
If CRM helps colleges and universities guide students to enrollment, and then provides support as those students move toward graduation, then along the way it will certainly change the way higher education is traditionally delivered. New learning modalities that target the specific way students want to consume education will lead to greater student success. For example, some institutions are going to online learning environments to open access to education to all students. In those institutions, CRM is a tool used to monitor the way students access those courses, the devices they use to do so, the behaviors they exhibit during access, and many other facts. These data are then examined to determine how to improve learning opportunities. Education no longer has walls, and institutions that adopt CRM will be able to take advantage of this new and changing landscape.
Traditionally, colleges and universities have been slow to adopt technologies for fear of degrading the learning experience. Now, however, more and more institutions are learning that technology in education—specifically CRM—can improve education through enrollment, retention, completion, and beyond.
About the Author
Jerri Ledford has been writing about business technology for more than 20 years. Her articles, profiles, news stories, and reports have appeared in such venues as Intelligent Enterprise, Network World, Information Security Magazine, DCM Magazine, and CRM Magazine. She develops and teaches technology courses for enterprises such as Sony, HP, and CNET and is the author of 19 business technology books, including Google Analytics and The SEO Bible. Jerri is a Studio B analyst.
ERP; higher education; student life cycle management
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 17, 2017 at 11:06AM