By: David Glezerman, Executive Consultant
As we approach the new year and start thinking about personal and professional New Year’s resolutions, it’s a good time to think about how to optimize how we communicate and interact with our students, families, and other institutional stakeholders.
Too often, institutions have relied on a single contact method to deliver information to their students—usually a school-provided email address. But students report being overwhelmed with emails from the “.edu” address coming from multiple institutional offices with a variety of news and information. The result is that students tune out and ignore all school emails, regardless of the value or urgency of the message.
Thoughtful communicators have found that schools can coordinate their efforts through increased collaboration across departments to reduce and simplify information requests and messaging via email channels. Student service offices should regularly review the types and content of their written communications to students, both electronic and U.S. Mail, to simplify and improve how and what is being delivered and when. Seeking out options for sending fewer, but more focused, correspondence can improve mail opening rates and lead to more timely bill payment and responses to information requests.
Revising your messages to provide clear and concise language can help in setting expectations and achieving desired results. If your message sounds too robotic and bureaucratic, is peppered with acronyms, and fails to clearly spell out what you need or expect, your message likely will get little or no attention. Consider enlisting your institutional marketing department or working with student advisory groups to help rewrite messages that will lead to better response rates and generate fewer questions that lead to office visits, phone calls, or emails.
Using a multi-channel communications strategy not only will be more appealing to students’ varying preferences but will also most likely increase individual reads and actions. Whether using text messaging, portal checklists, or chat features, using different communication tools, both separately and in tandem, will help your institution reach students and also demonstrate your commitment to quality service delivery.
Let us review your institution’s current business practices and related communications. Together, we can develop a comprehensive program to help manage your student accounts receivables and communicate with your students in a service-friendly and compliant manner. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation!