Many institutions across the country are considering/investing in CRM software to better compete for students and build relationships across the enrollment lifecycle. At least that’s the vision
But higher education CRM projects often devolve into simple email communication automation rather than business initiatives that improve the student experience across recruitment, marketing, and service functions.
Are Your College or University CRM Efforts Really Social?
The inspiration for my post comes from a story pitch I received today from Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble and the former founder of GoldMine, an early sales contact management software. Jon shared his thoughts on the latest buzzword “Social CRM.”
According to Mr. Ferrara, “Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and other traditional CRM systems fail at relationship management, and that’s why people don’t use them to engage the customer. You can’t just append the word “social” in front of legacy CRM platforms and expect it to make a difference.”
In our college secret shopping work at DemandEngine, we see institutions with Facebook profiles that don’t respond to inquiries in a timely fashion – if at all.
That’s not very social.
Improving the Student and Constituent Experience
There is no disputing the role of social media today. But rather than viewing social technologies such as Facebook and Twitter as additional channels to blast your “unique message”, how many colleges and universities are using these mediums as a focal point to clean up recruitment, marketing, and service processes?
In other words, improving the student or constituent experience.
Relationships are About Listening and Being Responsive
A Facebook page or a CRM software purchase will not decrease response times, improve service support, and be responsive to students. Fundamentally, this requires the alignment of planning and processes with the right people, training, and incentives.
Build relationships by listening, focusing on individual needs and wants, and being responsive. The tools only play a supportive role.