Students can buy cars out of a vending machine in minutes. The pedestal on which we’ve placed a higher education is not quite as tall as it was twenty years ago. Your audience is discerning, intelligent, and plenty used to convenience.
Some schools are giving students what they want - hyper-personalized communication.
Here are some tactics your institution should try if you want to bridge the gap:
1. Make your staff available
Enrolling in college is like getting lost in an Ikea - there are so many choices and it sometimes can feel like the exits are hidden. Schools that guide students through the confusing process will win them over.
Text early and often - and end every text with an opportunity for a student to ask a question. Follow those texts up with an email in cases where more information would be helpful. Make sure they know they have somewhere to turn if the journey gets confusing. Are you capable of remembering an oil change appointment without a reminder text? Nudges aren’t annoying, they’re appreciated.
2. Give quick access to financial information
When it comes to choosing a college or university, it’s all about the experience. Did a school answer your questions quickly, or did they make you fill out a form and wait a week? Tell them the cost, and make it easy to find on your website. This can be easily accomplished with a chatbot conversation.
An open dialogue on financials allows your school to keep in touch with prospective students and reach out through the critical touchpoints of their enrollment lifecycle. They’ll be more open to back-and-forth texts, emails, or chats if they’re getting the information they seek.
You should also make students aware of financial resources early in the conversation. Are scholarships and/or financial aid attainable? Show them how to apply and make yourself available for follow-up questions.
3. Demonstrate the value
Deciding the rest of your life is kind of a big deal. If a student can see the return on investment from their education, the clamp on their skulls will ease up a bit. Make them aware of not only what they’re getting for their money, but the opportunities available when they get their degree.
It helps to have real-life examples, such as testimonials from graduates in major areas of study. If I’m in pursuit of a degree in Biomedical Sciences, I’d love to hear from someone whose path I’m about to follow.
4. Let them customize their journey
Admit it, you used to cheat and read ahead when you were reading ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books as a kid. That’s because people want to know what they’re getting into. When a student visits your website, they’ll have a much better experience if they can identify what they’re looking for and be led down the proper (non-dead-end) path.
The right chatbot eliminates the need for twenty questions because it starts with one question - “What are you looking for?” From there, the bot does the rest, like an over-eager concierge. It’s much more pleasing to a website visitor than having to search and filter through dozens of website pages, trying to get answers on majors, protocols, or financial information.
Hyper-personalized is the norm
Whether they’re ordering dog food or surfing for the next show to binge, students are used to a personalized experience. Timely texts and a diligent chatbot serve as a red carpet, leading to your institution.