Forging stronger ties with students: TAFE Queensland South West revamps its CRM system

The success of an educational institution today is measured not only by the quality of its courses. League tables that account for ‘overall student experience’ often factor student support and engagement into their rankings. In fact, a 2016 Student Experience Survey funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training reveals that only 61% of students from Non-University Higher Education Institutions (NUHEIs) rated their experience as positive when it came to student support like enrolment, orientation and administrative matters.

A centralised and integrated system

Brisbane’s expanding population in the southwest corridor has resulted in rising enquiries and enrolments at TAFE Queensland South West (QLD SW). Great news for the institution–except that its Customer Service Centre was struggling to efficiently track all inquiries across its ten campuses. TAFE QLD SW opted for a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform built on Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Within six months, the system was rolled out by Microsoft partner Ecleva in time for the next student recruitment cycle. On the first day of going live, TAFE QLD SW handled a record-breaking 8000 enquiries. “We chose to work with Microsoft Dynamics 365 because the platform is so flexible and open, and the framework could be easily integrated into our existing systems,” says Garth O’Mara, Manager of ICT Solutions at TAFE QLD SW. “Ecleva’s expertise in the education industry also means they’re familiar with the student lifecycle, with products tailored to the industry that reduces the need to build new processes from scratch.”

With a turn-around reply time of 24 hours, the Customer Service Centre is now the main enquiry “go-to” point within the institution. “We can now track leads to enrolments, as we have quality data to make informed decisions regarding our curriculum,” says Julie Poole, Customer Service Manager at TAFE QLD SW. “We are better able to identify target student audiences and market to those segments, as well as convert an enquiry to an enrolment. The faculties are now confident that we’re responding to all enquiries in a consistent and reliable way.”

An investment for the future

The new system enables teams from student advisory, careers guidance, international student support services, and the fees office to work closely together in a systematic and visible way. All interactions–inquiries, phone calls, emails, chat sessions–are captured in a central and secure database, helping administrative staff do their jobs efficiently and resulting in effective decision-making for all. The platform also uses Microsoft’s Power BI to analyse student data and build student profiles that help teachers advise students and help them achieve their goals.

The focus remains on giving students a holistically enriching experience in their higher education years. “The level of detail and insight streamlines the service and support that an educational institution can provide to its students,” says Microsoft. “Having a platform for intelligent engagement is a powerful way to create a strong and sustainable community for any business. Microsoft Dynamics is delivering that intelligence and letting educational institutions forge much stronger relationships with their students.”

The student engagements facilitated by platforms like Microsoft Dynamics build relationships that can last many years. In turn, the educational institute’s branding and reputation will increase, even as it continues to maintain an authentic and supportive relationship with its alumni network. An investment in a powerful CRM software, and the student relationships that it supports, generate benefits that go well beyond monetary value.

Microsoft partner ECLEVA is an Australian-based, leading expert in developing business technology solutions for different sectors. The company’s EduRe suite of applications, designed for universities and TAFEs to enhance their commercial and student relationships, are built upon the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure platforms. Find out more about Dynamics 365 or speak to a consultant today.

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