Customer contact in education? You bet


There’s something about early September that takes me back to the carefree days of being in college, especially when there were no exams till mid-October. I better move on before I digress too far.

So as hundreds of thousands of students return to their campuses, little do they know how much effort and resources were spent attracting them. All higher-education administrators on the other hand are keenly aware of the intense competition for prospective and current students. Online colleges, private schools, graduate schools, four-year universities, junior colleges, and even international universities compete not only for students; this hand-to-hand combat extends to faculty, staff, and corporate and community donors.

Many higher-education administrators are crafting and deploying customer relationship management (CRM) strategies because they are fully aware that student enrollments, endowments, and donations keep the lights on. These CRM strategies, known within the industry as “student life cycle management,” enable institutions to enhance the overall experience from prospective student to alumni to the corporate world.

So why are institutions implementing student life cycle management solutions such as Aspect’s CommunityOne?

  • The falling CRM learning curve. CRM deployments are no longer considered “risky” adventures, thanks to the corporate sector’s proven strategies for deployments, workflow automation, and user adoption.
  • Collaboration. CRM deployments provide the optimum platform for all departments (such as faculty, office staff, athletics, alumni, corporate relations, and marketing) to use a single platform to communicate and interact with their constituents.
  • Customization. Aspect’s CommunityOne platform is an extensible solution that can be tailored to an institution’s business processes. For example, your athletics department can leverage a Microsoft SharePoint Web portal to manage Web registrations, collect credit card payments, track event tasks, and follow up with registrants.
  • Integration. CRM platforms can be connected to other key line-of-business applications such as admissions, SIS systems, and learning management systems to provide a single access point.
  • Workflow automation. Institutions can generate significant workforce efficiency gains by defining and automating business processes to ensure that key business rules are followed across the campus.
  • Deployment flexibility. The Microsoft Dynamics platform supplies on-premise and cloud deployment options. For those who want to start now, Microsoft offers a 30-day free trial.
  • Reporting. Use out-of-the-box functionality or create custom reports on both quantitative and qualitative information to support quicker and more intelligent business decisions.

The best part is that Microsoft recognizes the importance of adding more educational institutions to their client portfolio now and therefore is providing incentives, including significant discounts. The combination of Microsoft incentives and Aspect’s streamlined implementation and training provide quick ROI and a low total cost of ownership.

We’re anticipating explosive growth in North America and across the world on the number of higher-education institutions deploying CRM solutions to manage critical student life cycles. Indeed, Aspect is already working with several organizations to implement CRM solutions.

So as I settle in to watch some college football games this weekend, I think I’m going to ask my alma mater what CRM platform they’re using the next time they call me for a donation.

Til next time.