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Is Communicating With Your Institution Like a Mac’s ‘Spinning Beach Ball of Death?’

Will prospective students have a positive experience trying to interact with your school? 

March 18, 2012

As consumers, we are an impatient group. With more institutions than ever before, sub-par communication with prospective students is bad business.

The prospective student’s expectation is for seamless communication flow from the first time they learn about your school to when they submit their application.  The most common path might start with a visit to your website, followed by an attempt to contact your institution by email, phone, or through social media.

Will they have a positive experience? Or is your school’s communication like a Mac’s ‘spinning beach ball of death’ – frustrating and non-responsive?

See how this TEDTalk presenter was challenged by the ‘spinning beach ball of death.’

Immediacy and accuracy are expected from websites, customer service, advisors and degree program teams. If prospective students are discouraged, they may seek an education elsewhere. Worse yet, they may tweet their complaints.

Communication suggestions:

1. Interact with students on their terms: provide appropriate answers in the medium of their choice, whether that’s a website, Facebook, Twitter, email, phone, or an in-person visit.

2. Strive for user-friendly communication across touch-points: concise, consistent, relevant, with a personalized tone. Try to anticipate student needs and proactively address them.

3. Take stock of your current communication flow: How are prospective students trying to engage with your institution? What messages do they receive and when do they receive them?  Are messages consistent? Does communication reflect student needs, or does it simply mirror how internal departments are organized?

4. Ask students for feedback: survey students to gauge their experience.


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