FE Marketing Naturally Leads to the Whole FE Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment Process
This might include a formal interview for some courses. Although fewer FE providers are now insisting on this with some relying more on Taster Courses and informal meetings.
The recruitment, admissions and enrollment process tends to be quite bureaucratic in far too many cases. Letters, sent to applicants, that say please bring a book and be prepared to wait when we are busy, are a sure sign of this. And these letters really do exist, I’ve seen them several times.
Other providers do all they can to ensure a smooth flow through the process and their invites read far more positive. Some look more like an invite to a fun event rather than a dull boring administrative process.
The Online Application Process as Part of the FE Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment Process
Online applications are increasing at a rapid pace worldwide. If this isn’t the case when I review a provider’s application process it rings alarm bells for me. Certainly paper applications aren’t dead, but in most cases where online applications are below benchmark the problem is usually the application funnel. Online applications need to be easy to understand and accomplish. This can be problematic where the process has not been designed with this in mind.
For example, it is quite common for applicants not to complete the process at “one sitting”. Often they need to find details of exam passes, National Insurance numbers etc and that means a delay. If the applicant can’t save their application it means when they try to continue they have to start again from scratch. This is extremely frustrating for applicants and can prevent them from completing their application. Bear in mind that simpler processes in the online retail world have a “cart abandonment” rate as high as 79% for some brands (see https://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate). Few providers ever check the abandonment rate on their sites or know how to improve completion rates.
Improving FE Application Rates
One of the simplest ways to decrease abandonment is to ensure the applicant “logs in” and can save their application. Better still if the application autosaves throughout the time they are online. Logging in can be very simple and there si currently no need to use that phrase as it puts off some applicants. But where the first page of the application consists of just two items .. name and email .. followed by a “save” or “next” button, that not only moves them forward AND saves their application, abandonment rates decrease by around 50%. This si such a simple process and can effectively double the number of competed applications.
Another simple device is to automatically email applicants that have NOT completed their application within a given time .. say 2-3 days. The reminder needs to gently remind them to complete and give them a means to get back online at the point they need to continue.
The above are just a handful of simple ways to increase applications and aren’t rocket science. Any half competent web/software designer ought to be able to add this to an application process.
Answering Queries Within the FE Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment Process
In the past anyone with a course or application query had no choice but to ring, email or drop in to the provider to get an answer. And often they left it “until tomorrow”. Part of the reason for this was the lack of connection between mediums. If they were on a website having to pick up a phone, find the number and dial was an intrusion and often get left.
Today being on the providers website and wanting to phone is just a matter of clicking on the number that is embedded in the website. Where that number is on every course page the number of calls go up and so does application rates. This is simply because it is easy to do.
But today we have other ways they can contact you .. Let their thumbs do the talking.
Young people text all the time. They seems to have been designed with two thumbs for this purpose!
So where there is a chat facility where they can text and get rapid replies they will use it. The problem with chat is that providers don’t staff 24/7 but prospective students text 24/7. This where the really clever systems work best. These systems use AI to answer questions when the office is unattended. As many as 30-50% of queries can be answered in this way where the system is set up correctly. Installation of these systems on to a website is extremely quick and easy. It surprises me that more providers don’t use them. Please contact me for details if required.
Handling FE Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment Data
One of the areas that currently lead to contention is that of data and under the GDPR legislation this will become more important.
Keeping in contact with applicants can be expensive. So logically we need to ensure we keep our data up to date and clean. This will ensure we don’t have the expense of physically posting to the wrong people. Failing to manage data correctly will also bring us into contention under the GDPR legislation and that has significant penalties.
In the last few days I’ve seen people who enquired about courses , but not applied, being sent letters encouraging them to attend for enrollment. In several cases these people have already asked the provider to remove their name from their database. But the letters and emails have still been sent. This practice is very damaging from a brand perspective. It also costs money to send out letters en masse. But most importantly this will breach the GDPR and I suspect examples will be made of those that transgress from May 2108. Hopefully providers will have put measures in place to ensure they aren’t made an example of!
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