Posts Tagged ‘customer service training’

[Video]: Resources You Can Use Now to Finalize ’17 and Ensure a Successful ’18

May 23rd, 2017

As summer approaches, enrollment managers and admission directors expand their focus to critical issues like professional development, marketing planning, research and pre-enrollment service initiatives. Meanwhile, many colleges are still in the throes of making their 2017 class.  According to the recently released NACAC College Openings Update, over 500 colleges and universities are still accepting applications from prospective freshman and/or transfer students for the upcoming fall term.

Wherever your institution falls on this wide spectrum of future planning, we have a number of free tools and resources available to you. On our website and YouTube channel you’ll find an ever growing list of admission counselor tutorials aimed at making your counselors even better at their jobs. You can also download the complete reports from our each of our national co-sponsored studies that dive deeply into the hot-button issues that impact your enrollment.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get even more. There you’ll find tutorials, up-to-date market data, and a wealth of actionable information to help you with your recruiting efforts, today and in the future.

Our most recent video (below) introduces you to the national co-sponsored higher education study we are launching now:  Emotional Motivators. This study is based on an old adage: “Facts tell. Emotions sell.” Students want and need facts and information about the colleges they consider. But their college selection decision will hinge on how they FEEL about the school they’ll ultimately enroll in. This study will tell you how they feel about you relative to the other colleges they considered (or chose to attend).

You should get in as a co-sponsor! There is still time. You can get a deeper level of insight on the pool of prospective students you were/are working for 2017 and get a clear understanding of how you were or weren’t tripping their trigger.

Be sure to check out our Counselor Training Tutorials. At the heart of our highly-acclaimed Interactive Counselor Training Workshop is a proven model of communication that counselors tell us is transformative. The model is simple and highly effective. Adopt this straightforward method and you will see greater success in your recruitment efforts. Our ever-expanding tutorial menu includes sessions covering these high–impact topics from the popular workshops we conduct at college campuses across the country:

Counselor Training Series Overview: Longmire and Company believes that the conversations between prospective students and the colleges they are considering can be much richer and more fruitful for both. Having rich conversations with prospective students provides you with a greater understanding of each student’s unique needs, preferences, motivations, and how they will make their college selection decision.

CHECK OUT THESE VIDEOS ………

The Counselor Training Series is just the beginning of the valuable free video tools available to you. Again, check out our YouTube channel for more tutorials, powerful data from national co-sponsored studies and interviews with some of your peers.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, PLEASE consider getting involved in this new co-sponsored study we’re launching. You’ll benefit from it! Previous co-sponsors get involved year after year because it’s inexpensive and they get insightful and actionable information.

Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

The Four Best Practices of Admission Counselors According to College-bound Students

May 16th, 2017

Just what are the traits of an exceptional Admission Counselor?  Google it and this is what you’ll find: Excellent writing and speaking skills, ability to relate positively to a wide variety of people, enthusiastic, organized, professional in appearance and demeanor, familiarity with technology and data driven systems, able to work both independently and in a team setting, excellent time management skills, and so on. All clearly important attributes for a role that has enormous impact on any college’s recruiting success. But what if prospective students were writing your job description? How would it be different from the stock descriptions you find in a standard job opening announcement?

Here are some clues: In a our co-sponsored study, The Relationship Dynamic, 38% of college-bound students said that their college admission counselor played a significant role in helping them form a relationship the college they chose.

In a separate study, The Value Proposition,” students were asked to identify and quantify the relative influence of specific interactions on their relationship with the college they selected. Across the board, the students rated social media in the neutral range whereas interaction with admission counselors rated much higher, demonstrating a far greater influence on enrollment.

What do students say counselors MUST do?

In our recently released study, Hidden Influences, over 18,000 prospective students are very clear about what they want from a counselor.  Topping the list:  Answer their questions. ALL of their questions, completely!

While this may be impossible in a practical sense, students have a very high expectation that counselors have an answer for their every question. They expect counselors to be knowledgeable about issues relating to cost, financial aid, history of the institution, outcomes, deadlines, classes required for specific majors and so on.

Don’t say, “I don’t know.”  Instead say, “I’ll find out.” And do it!

If the counselor cannot answer a specific question they expect the counselor to find the answer and get back to them in a timely manner.
Students say they develop a strong affinity for a counselor who is well-informed and responsive. It is a key ingredient in their formation of a relationship with the college as a whole and it is influential in college selection.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, students voiced their frustrations with counselors who are unable to answer questions and cited examples of counselors who actually avoided questions and requests for information that fall outside the most basic.

Many students shared experiences where a counselor had given them information that they later discovered is “wrong” and “inaccurate.”  And, students have a very low tolerance for counselors who respond to specific questions with “vague” answers and information.

What qualities do top-notch admission counselors have that lead prospective students to enroll?

  1. They are knowledgeable and responsive. They know the answers to every question about their school, campus, costs, loans, scholarships, etc…  And, if they are asked a question that they don’t have an answer for, they find out fast.
  2. They demonstrate a sincere interest in the student.  They get to know the prospective student as an individual and understand his or her particular needs, preferences and motivations.
  3. They connect the student to people, places and activities that will create excitement about the college. Because they have mastered #2, they know just who those people, places and activities should be.
  4. They make sure to let the students know that the college is interested in them.  They make the student feel wanted.

Here’s what admission counselors need to know.

You know that a student’s college selection is tied closely to the strength of the relationship they build with a college over time. And, you know that creating relationships is a multifaceted, nuanced and crucial part of student recruitment.  But do you know this?  Your role is crucial. You are a powerful motivator when you use all of the tools available to you.

We help colleges and universities with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you, please let me know. If you’ve thought about helping your staff with professional development, now is the ideal time to train and motivate your staff. Email or call me if you are interested in how we can help. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. We will be sharing more key insights from our studies so be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you can stay up-to-date.

Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

Six Ways You Can Relieve Prospective Student Stress

November 15th, 2016

Right this minute, all over the country, college-bound students are in the throes of making what is most likely THE biggest decision they have ever made: “Which college is right for me? Will the college accept me? Can I afford it?”   Their parents are offering guidance and counsel because they know this is a crucial decision. Certainly, they too have a hugely vested interest in being certain that the final decision is the “right” one. Let’s face it: For nearly every student and their parent this is a period of high-anxietystress-baby.

No college would want to do anything that would ADD angst to an inherently stressful process, right? No college would do so intentionally but as an industry we do it all the time.

Through our pre-enrollment research, we communicate with hundreds of thousands of prospective students and parents every year and they have been very specific about the things colleges do that add stress to the selection process. Here are the 6 stress-inducing actions most often cited about the college admissions industry:

  •  That we communicate poorly
  •  That we’re slow to offer or reject admission
  •  That we have burdensome processes
  •  That admissions people are not responsive
  •  We are poorly organized, and,
  •  In some cases, they believe we’re being DISHONEST

Are you ready for some good news? Since these things happen more than you can imagine it gives you an opportunity to differentiate your college or university by doing the opposite. You can differentiate your institution by RELIEVING rather than ADDING stress to the college selection process.

Here’s how.

Students and parents have told us what you can do to help. Here are 6 stress-relieving actions:

  1. Communicate often and artfully. Students want information that’s relevant to THEM.
  2. Provide helpful advice and counsel throughout the college shopping process.
  3. BE RESPONSIVE. Return calls and emails promptly.
  4. Make decisions promptly.
  5. Treat each prospective student as you would expect and hope to be treated.
  6. Above all, show a sincere interest in the student.

These may seem obvious but it’s amazing how many colleges fail to practice these proven behaviors that will serve a prospective student and parent well.  Every student has a unique combination of needs, preferences, perceptions and motivations. Identifying and dealing with all of them enables the college to have a deeper and stronger relationship with the prospective student. Uncovering them requires that the college focus on the student rather than the institution.

There are communication techniques your staff can learn that will help them feel confident about reaching out to prospective students to ask the right questions. This is one of the core techniques we teach in the Interactive Counselor Training Workshops we hold on college campuses throughout the country.

Longmire and Company’s on-campus Interactive Training Workshops improve the performance of counselors and staff in areas such as effective communication with students and parents, applying creative entrepreneurship to their jobs, validating past and planned actions against outcomes, and discovering and leveraging the motivations of students (and themselves).

The end result is improved service to prospective students and families, measurable increases in yield, increased counselor and staff job satisfaction, enhanced teamwork, and innovations in work process within the department.

We help colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you please call or shoot me an email. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.

Use Your Orientation To Build Relationships and Minimize Summer Melt

June 14th, 2016

Over the next couple of months, thousands of eager newly-admitted students will be stepping onto college campuses across the country to participate in that all-important college orientation. iStock_000003607414XSmallYou already know this is an essential step for your incoming class, but for many students college orientation represents even more significance:  It is when and where they will ultimately seal the bond with your school that will ensure they are on campus when school starts.

In our recently released co-sponsored study, “The Relationship Dynamic,” over 12,000 college-bound students opened up to us about the factors that contribute to building a bond with a college that leads to their enrollment. (Click here to download a copy of the full report.) Surprisingly, 21% of college-bound students told us that their Blog Yield Relationship Timelineemotional connection to their college of choice (their feeling of having formed a relationship) did not develop until the summer months of June, July and August. More precisely, many of these students said the bond with their chosen college was triggered by specific experiences and relationships realized during orientation.

Unfortunately, orientation – or any other process we put students through – doesn’t guarantee they’ll show up on the first day of class. The predictor of enrollment is excitement and emotional commitment. Students who don’t feel an emotional attachment to your college are far more likely to melt.

“The Relationship Dynamic” study findings point to specific actions you can take during orientation and beyond to strengthen and maintain the relationships you have worked so hard to build with your admitted students AND create meaningful connections with those students who have yet to bond with your college.

Make this Priority #1

What goals have you established for your orientation program?  Do they read like a laundry list of paperwork, must-do’s, must-know’s and must-see’s?  Instead, your goals and practices should be developed in the context of, “How does this strengthen (or create) the emotional bond each student has with us?”

By its very nature, college orientation is very process-driven: read this, hear this, watch this … Kudos to those admission teams that have created entertaining programs and activities that engage students, foster enthusiasm, and enable the student to feel what it’s like to be a student and a part of a community.

Have you built in opportunities for admitted students to connect with (not simply meet) other newly-admitted and current like-minded students? Are your programs one-size-fits all or are you constantly searching for and testing new and unique ways to engage with students.

Find out if you have “moved the needle”

Orientation affords yet another opportunity to find out if you are changing or enhancing the student’s perception of your institution. Ideally, you have a chance to ask each student personally, “How was your orientation today? Did you meet some great people? Are you starting to feel like a (insert your mascot, school nickname)?” Based on the answers, your follow up might be “Is there anyone you’d like to meet before school starts?” or, “What would make you feel more comfortable or excited about your decision to enroll here?”

Sometimes that highly personalized interaction is simply not practical due to a high volume of students. However, it is still possible to gauge changes in student enthusiasm. Does your college do a post-orientation survey? We highly-recommend this tool to evaluate your level of service delivery during orientation as well as a channel to identify students who aren’t yet emotionally committed to your college. Be specific. “Did your orientation experience make you feel more connected to our college? Are you more or less excited about attending? What can we do to make your transition to our college better?”

You can maximize your orientation events and minimize summer melt by making this your mantra: Every interaction with a student, in any form, should be measured on the basis of, “Does it make our relationship stronger?”

Get On Board with our Next Co-Sponsored Study!

We know that prospective students don’t always tell us what they really think. Sometimes they don’t want to be completely honest about their REAL first-choice college because they think they’ll hurt our feelings. They often say one thing and do another. Why?

Hidden_Influences_ProspectusWe will answer that critical question in our next co-sponsored study, “Hidden Influences: Revealing the unspoken perceptions that prospective students have about your college and why it matters in your ability to grow and control enrollment.” This unprecedented study will break new ground in exploring the hidden perceptions and opinions that influence students in choosing your college or another. Unlike any other higher education research or non-matric studies, “Hidden Influences” will dive deeply into the emotions and perceptions that factor into the college selection process. This study will provide you with actionable information you can use immediately and effectively.

For more information or to reserve your participation in this study, contact me at (913) 492-1265, ext. 708 or by email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com or Bob Longmire at (913) 492-1265, ext. 709, blongmire@longmire-co.com. Colleges are signing up now so we encourage you to contact us soon if you are thinking about participating. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION.

We help colleges with their recruiting efforts every day. If we can help you please call or shoot me an email. Continue the conversation on Twitter @LongmireCo. For more information about Longmire and Company and the tools we have to offer, click here. Be sure to subscribe to Versions of Conversion today so you don’t miss any of this highly-valuable information.

RickMontgomery_100x100Rick Montgomery is as an Enrollment Strategist at Longmire and Company. With over 20 years in higher education marketing, he brings an innovative and dynamic approach to helping colleges and universities meet their enrollment goals. Rick can be reached at 913/492.1265 x.708 or via email at rmontgomery@longmire-co.com.