An important day for Enquiry Tracker
While NASA’s successful landing of Perseverance on Mars might justifiably create more coverage, the launch of our newest product Apply – our ‘smart’ online application solution designed for the K-12 schools market – has me pretty excited too!
Because it’s the realisation of a dream that started with creation of Enquiry Tracker.
Living the Challenge
Having worked 37 years in the education and not-for-profit sectors, first as a teacher, then Year Level Coordinator working with the Admissions Office, and later Director of Development, and subsequently spending a great deal of my working life providing consultancy services to schools, I was often writing enrolment and marketing plans. I was constantly drawn to solving the same twin challenges – how to manage and grow enrolments and how to engage with future families – all the while delivering accurate and instant reports in a timely manner. It invariably took a lot of time.
To manage applications at the highest level and provide essential customer service, we have to appreciate the pipeline begins with an enquiry, not necessarily an application. The physical application is the expression of a continuum that always starts with interest even if that interest was never known by the school.
Enquiries often start with a visit to a website; a request for an information pack; attending a school tour or an open day; perhaps even a private tour; a phone call; an email; or even a walk-in visit. These all need to be captured and nurtured to then ideally turn into an application for enrolment. That’s a lot to stay on top of, especially since many of these are the responsibility of different team members.
This, combined with the challenge that schools are time-poor with the admin team often caught in the day-to-day tasks of manual paper based applications or static PDF files, prevents them from higher order planning, critical analysis and, more importantly, customer relationships.
Understandably, the Admissions Office primary focus is on the smooth management of incoming cohorts - thus restricting the role by sheer necessity to an administrative function.
Questions That Need Timely Answers
Conversely, Principals, Business Managers, Marketing Managers, and moreover the Board, want to see the horizon, so they can see where the ship is sailing - they need the data. To get the data, you need a centrally managed database.
And this is crucial because any one of these people are within their rights to ask any or all of the following questions...
- How are enrolments tracking next year?
- What’s the enquiry to application ratio?
- What’s the yield rate for enrolments?
- How many applications were started but not submitted?
- Why did they choose to come to our school?
- What was the reason they decided to withdraw?
- How many people enrolled from Open Day last year?
- How many personal tours did we do last year and how many converted?
- What’s our gender mix?What’s our alumni split?
- Where do our students live?
- What trends are we seeing in suburbs - which are dropping off? Which are growing?
- Where do our students come from? Which are our top ‘feeders’? Are they up or down?
- What are the overall trends compared with the last 5 years? Up or down?
These are more than reasonable to ask, but much of this information is very hard to get, and often would require Admission or Marketing staff to down tools for hours or even days to get the reports. And when they do most are completely out of date. I know, I did it for ages! It needs to be instant and dynamic and 100% accurate all the time.
From Enquiries to Applications to Admissions
The answer is to have a solution that allows schools to capture leads on their website, nurture those families with automated and personalized emails and, when ready, have those families complete applications for your school. Of course, you shouldn’t require those families to create an account and force them to fill in all that same information yet again!
This is Why ‘smart’ Applications are Key
Other systems on the market tend to be linear, whereas Apply online application solution for K-12 schools is ‘smart’ - and that can make a profound difference...
Apply sits on top of Pipeline, our K-12 CRM solution, and pulls in existing data to pre-populate the application form with data already held by the school. This not only saves the parent time, but also delivers an amazingly efficient customer service experience.
Picture the scenario. You have an Open Day - people register online and answer a bunch of questions, only to find that, frustratingly, they have to complete the very same questions all over again when they apply. They are thinking “Why don't you just fill this out for me?! After all, you’ve got my information”. The result: they may think the school is not technically savvy or worse, simply doesn't care.
Next is the audit trail. The Apply ‘smart’ solution not only preserves the original application for both the parent and the school, but each successive version is saved and can be retrieved by either party should the need arise.
Let’s not forget integration. The simple analogy is the Enquiry Tracker ecosystem is like a tiered cake. Seamless and integrated. In fact, you can’t build a data management tool that starts with an Application system first and then gets somehow built backwards? Unless, of course, you want an upside down cake!
Finally, the ‘smart’ approach means data has to be sent to the school management system and in the exchange of data between systems. Our approach is to work harmoniously and partner with Student Management Systems.
We are pretty happy with the end result!
Want to learn more about Apply?
Contact us today and we will schedule an online personal demo at your convenience.