Imagine that someone enters your place of business and offers you a way to reduce costs, increase profitability, solidify customer satisfaction, build loyalty, and improve advocacy. After pointing to the “no solicitation” sign on the front door you might decide to give him two minutes to tell you about this brand new form of magic.
This certain someone would mention the miracle of customer relationship management (CRM*). Ok, so maybe miracle is a bit of an overreach, but CRM is the #1 buzzword in Corporate America and, on most accounts, has been very effective in delivering on these points. After getting a promotion for taking the advice of this complete stranger, your next thought might be, “How could this marvelous tool be leveraged to increase critical stakeholder relationships within the K-12 and higher education community?” In reality, CRM as applied to the education industry (student relationship management or SRM) has an almost unlimited opportunity for practical everyday use.
With the goal of tightening relationships between students and their educational mentors, SRM can be a powerful resource to ensure any number of positive outcomes(e.g., increased enrollments, retention, and graduation) for our students. For the sake of brevity I will only focus on three areas that I believe will drive the creation of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between all those with a stake in improving our educational system.
These three focus areas include:
• Increasing levels K-12 college preparedness
• Positively affecting high school dropout rates
• Increasing alumni participation and donation
A successful SRM program helps educators at all levels collaborate to instill and promote a college-going culture focused on arduous coursework and high expectations very early in a student’s educational experience. This holistic approach translates to better lesson plans, a greater sense of shared mission, and the development of students better prepared to cope with the rigors of college.
It is often difficult to inspire a child/young adult to see beyond the moment. As a rule, teenagers aren’t very good at following the advice of their parents. Peer pressure often has the most lasting effect on their level of motivation. Finding and cultivating long-term mentoring relationships between students at all levels has been a proven path toward inspiring students to excel throughout their secondary school experience. It is much harder to drop out of school when your peer group is cheering you on and showing you the real-life benefits of an education.
* Customer relationship management (CRM) is a company-wide business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by solidifying customer satisfaction, building loyalty, and improving advocacy. True CRM brings together information from all data sources within an organization (and where appropriate, from outside the organization) to provide a holistic view of each customer in real-time. This allows customer-facing employees in such areas as sales, customer support, and marketing to make quick yet informed decisions on everything from cross-selling and upselling opportunities to target marketing strategies to competitive positioning tactics.