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Why Your CRM Isn’t Built for Texting Students

4 min read

Your college's CRM is a powerful tool in your communication strategy. But using your CRM instead of a texting platform to engage with students gets complicated. It's important to know if CRM texting will help, or hinder your student engagement efforts. 

Here are some of the drawbacks to texting with your CRM.

Permission Levels Create Roadblocks

With a CRM, access to information is based on permission levels. Different staff members might be restricted from accessing CRM functions. When tasking your staff to use a CRM texting function, it might not be a matter of whether they are capable but whether they have actual permission to do certain things.

It is up to senior members of your staff to circumvent permission restrictions, adding another level of work to your texting strategy. With a separate texting platform, you don’t have to cut through the weeds of access and permission levels.

Ease of Use and Adoption

When deciding whether to use a texting platform or the text function of your CRM, it’s important to keep your team in mind. If texting isn’t easy, it’s going to create problems - wasting time in manual processes, difficult training, and lack of adoption to name a few.

These problems will get in the way of helping students. Texting platforms have time-saving, easy-to-use features including mobile apps, texting templates, automation, etc., that save valuable staff time and improve student engagement.

If your team experiences any amount of turnover, training and processes become a major concern. Consider how easy the learning curve is for a CRM texting feature and whether or not it would benefit your college to have a dedicated texting expert to help your staff.

Carrier Violation Risks

Since texting isn't a priority for CRM companies, they're usually the last to hear and adapt to industry changes. New phone carrier requirements are a perfect example. As of April 2022, industry-wide best practices have changed to require consent before engaging with your contacts.

When CRMs lag behind industry standards, the schools using them suffer. Schools need support in their solutions to protect them from harm and to ensure they see results from their texting campaigns.

[📣 Industry-wide standards now require consent in order to text contacts through texting platforms, including CRMs with texting features. Follow this compliance checklist to safeguard your school.]


Sometimes, CRMs Never Get Up to Speed

When you’re texting ten thousand students, the texts do not go out all at once. Those texts need to be throttled or stalled a bit in order to avoid carrier violations. For schools texting through a CRM, they need to manually add delay functions and throttle large groups of texts, otherwise, they risk having their numbers blocked.

With a texting platform, your text messages are automatically throttled and sent in an efficient manner. You can also take advantage of functions such as scheduling and segmenting texts to ease the workload of your staff.


Budgets Are a Reality

The benefits of texting with your CRM are plain to see - you’re using technology that you’re already paying for and you have everything in one place with one system. What isn't so easy to see is the hidden cost - incremental fees and weeks of monthly wasted time in manual processes.

When using your CRM to text, you have to factor in incremental fees and countless hours in staff time. Plus, a texting platform that integrates with your CRM allows you to easily use data to communicate with students.

If you’ve never texted with your CRM before, you’re going to need to learn how to do so - and then train your staff to do so. Considering you will not have a ton of support for this task, it can be daunting. When there’s an issue in texting with your CRM, you are on your own. 

It can’t be overstated how important it is to have the ability to reach out to a dedicated expert when you need help. If you’ve ever frantically poured over help articles to solve a time-sensitive problem, you know how valuable it is to have a team of student engagement experts in your corner.

Utilizing Data is Critical

It should be easy to pull and use data from your school’s CRM for your text communications, but that is not the case. Your CRM is built as a tool to store student data, not as a tool for communicating with students. Knowing which texts are working and which are not working is a struggle.

You will be able to see that you’ve sent a text through your CRM but you will not know how that text has performed. A two-way texting platform allows you to easily view crucial texting metrics in your dashboard. 

In order to use and report on important data such as reply rates and click-through rates, you have to manually run reports and decipher the information. If you can’t adapt your texting strategy, you will lose students.

The Goal is to Reach Students

Outcomes are important. Higher ed professionals are tasked with helping as many students as possible with limited resources. It makes sense to consider using your CRM to text.

While CRM texting features allow for mass text updates, they don't allow for the two-way conversational texting that drives results. Ultimately, you have to decide if your school wants to text students or actually reach them.


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