You can generate record levels of applications, and your engagement levels can totally smash last year’s effort, but if your call handlers don’t know their stuff, then it could all be a complete waste of time.
The National Clearing Survey revealed that call handlers must have a solid understanding of all the information a Clearing student needs. Obvious? What actually is this information needed?
What does a Clearing student need to know then?
What we expect from Clearing call teams has changed over the years. The National Clearing Survey has told us that the factors students rate as important do not match what call handlers have been trained in – or have as a priority. Are they behind?
Call handling teams should be trained on a range of information, such as course requirements, places available, Clearing students needs, course content and modules, possible career options and availability of student accommodation.
We’ve been able to use the data from the survey to see how Clearing students rated staff’s knowledge of these key factors while on the phone.
Call handling teams scored high for knowledge of entry requirements, but not for other factors. In particular, Adjustment Students were less satisfied with the calls they had than any other group; the lowest area of knowledge was the availability of accommodation, scoring 5.51 out of 10. We would have expected Clearing call handlers to stay up to speed with accommodation information – apart from making sure they have a place at an institution a student is surely going to know they have somewhere to live? Across the board, this is an area that all call handlers need to improve on.
In particular, Adjustment Students were less satisfied with the calls they had than other Clearing groups. Their overall satisfaction rate at just 6.49 out of 10. In comparison to the other Clearing profiles, Adjustment Students have over-achieved against their original offer and are likely to see the new institution as more attractive than the one at which they are holding an offer for. Ensure this quality is reflected in the way call handlers deal with the query so that students are not lost to another institution.
It’s really important to make sure institutions should find out whether they are recruiting significant numbers of Adjustment Students during Clearing. Not only is it important to make sure that your staff can deliver the relevant information on the phone, but you will also need to reflect this in your digital marketing too. Net Natives will be able to work with you on tailoring bespoke campaign messaging and targeting them to this specific demographic online.
Tip: think outside the box
If institutions were able to bridge this gap and fulfil learner expectations with trained call centre staff, then conversion rates could be improved. Take the time to look at ways this can be improved for your institution. For example, have you considered using course staff and alumni to answer the calls during Clearing? You are then placing industry experts who have in-depth knowledge of the institution as a direct touch-point with your potential enrolment. Prospective students will enjoy hearing the experiences of past students, who will be able to share tips, tricks and pointers – which could be a crucial deciding factor.
Looking for more information, insights and recommendations on how to recruit students during Clearing? Download the National Clearing Survey for free.
Remember, our Digital Strategists are on hand to plan, implement and track Clearing campaigns and increase student enrolments.