More and more educational institutions are now adopting Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs). That helps them attract, engage and communicate better with students, teachers and parents. As in the business world, having consistent communication throughout channels it’s crucial for academic institutions as well.
As a result, the core of academic CRM must be similar to traditional CRM. An academic CRM should have a clean and user-friendly interface, making it easy for end-users to use it on a daily basis. Also, it should help organizations consolidate all communication pipelines into one. Thus, it will provide staff the tools to communicate consistently with stakeholders.
In addition, academic CRM can improve the entire journey of a student or applicant by providing contextual content that can be easily enriched from internal data resources.
But where do traditional CRMs differ from academic ones?
The basic differences that this kind of customer relationship management platforms have are:
- Collected data are different
The purpose of an academic CRM is to gather and categorize student-related data such as grades, courses, credits etc. Compare that to a traditional CRM that it is focusing on sales-related interactions such as purchases, invoicing etc.
The traditional CRM focuses on client relationships and how to grow these relationships in financial terms with relevant marketing activation. On the other hand, academic CRM puts an emphasis on how to streamline communication between students,teachers and parents for improving the educational process by removing data silos.
- Design architecture is also different
Academic CRM platforms are designed in such a way that allows non-sophisticated users to perform daily tasks without extensive training. In the case of K12 education, such a system must be designed in a way that will be also easily used from kids.
This requires extra attention not only on usability issues but also on compliance. A system used by kids should be safe-proof from malicious software attacks.
- Different end-user
Traditional CRMs have designed to be used from employees with extensive IT background that, in most of the cases, have a basic knowledge of database administration, SQL, etc.
On the other hand, an academic CRM must be easy to be used from educational institution’s front office staff. These people usually perform simultaneously other tasks, so it’s not easy for them to use sophisticated software.
This requires a simpler CRM architecture with a focus on easy-to-use features, without the complexity of big, enterprise CRM solutions.
- Recruiter’s lingo instead of sales rep
Both business and academia have the same needs to track, analyze and report on their “customer”. But, the language used in an educational CRM differs in a major way from that of a typical CRM. Replace words like funnel, customer acquisition, demo requests with courses, credits, parent-teacher meeting. You can realize that it’s quite a different lingo between these 2 types of CRM.
What are the key features for academic CRM?
Spreadsheets, student information systems and email marketing platforms may work well in isolation. But, the fact that they don’t ‘speak’ to each other means a lot of manual effort for copying information from one place to the other.
This is not only a time-consuming task but also a risky one. Misplacing data can be harmful, and in some cases, it may cause compliance issues. Especially in the wake of the new GDPR requirements within EU countries.
An academic CRM such as Classter provides you with several important features for improving daily operations for your educational institutions.
It may help you schedule and manage your academic events quickly and easily, online and, offline by using event management software for schools.
It also provides teachers with the ability to create events online on their personal dashboard that are automatically uploaded to the central school calendar.
Each user, either students and parents or teachers and employees can have his/her own personal calendar. In this way, all the events, meetings, actions, assignments and exams can be easily organized and managed in one place
Moreover, when an academic event is taking place, academic CRM can enable attendance registration, ensuring the successful registration for your event. You can also create easily your daily announcements and update users.
An academic CRM, like Classter, allows you to control the admission process and registrations effectively, making candidate management an easy-to-handle task. Manage your candidates, documentation, admission checklist, applications, and enrollments, while academic CRM features also allow you to manage the relationship between your institution and the Alumni.
Features such as Alumni portals help you to establish a strong, successful and life-long communication network with your graduates.
Another important feature is that it provides you the opportunity to record bullying incidents accurately and efficiently. Keeping a detailed record of such events will promote effective prevention and therefore, bullying management. Furthermore, academic CRM offers teachers the ability to managing incidents and feedback.
This helps them to keep accurate records related to the various incidents and events that take place in the school environment and inform parents accordingly.
Academic CRMS can also help you managing document requests, such as certification official copies or any other official report, transcript or document requested by the student.
Last but not least, academic CRM helps you inform your users in real-time through the personalized dashboard and send mass messages via email or SMS with targeted content.
Different but with a purpose
In a nutshell, CRM systems are a cornerstone for educational institutions in the same way they are for traditional businesses. A good CRM can make or break the relationship with existing or potential students and impact the whole organization.
Also, educational institution leaders should be extremely careful about choosing the CRM that fits them to the nature of their institution. This choice can have a serious impact on the performance of the whole organization and its stakeholders.