From a clear vision to communications that engage
Edge Hill is a university with a legacy of innovation and success that spans more than 125 years. Yet it recognises that it cannot rest on those laurels in the face of dramatic and unprecedented changes in higher education, such as increasing tuition fees. It has to evolve to meet those challenges and stay competitive.
The university had made steps over the years to improve the way it communicates with and engages students, specifically a database to track enquiries. Though it had undergone many upgrades and alterations, there had been no unifying vision. “It was very unintuitive and required a lot of working around it,” says Liam Owens, Head of Student Recruitment. “We had no effective method of understanding whether individuals who made enquiries went on to apply.”
The university also lacked the necessary technology to tell its story – one of solid student satisfaction and graduate employment. “We knew student recruitment in the UK was going to be more market based than ever. And we needed to be ready to respond to that.”
After securing management support and consulting with other universities, Edge Hill issued a tender and began the journey to a comprehensive CRM solution.
“We wanted something different, something that would grow with us as we grow. That was one of the key reasons for going with Azorus.”
Owens characterises the university’s interactions with Azorus as that of “a true partner, because we’ve never felt like we’ve been given anything without a proper discussion about what we needed.” Geographic distance and time zone differences were not a factor, and Owens was delighted by Azorus’s grasp of the UK’s higher education sector. “There were no remedial discussions about how it worked.”
What resulted was a CRM solution that addresses Edge Hill’s requirements and challenges. Owens is impressed with the variety of information the university can offer prospective students, and the degree to which that can be personalised.
“Being able to display the full range of information at the outset and allowing prospective students to self-select themselves out of a particular subject based on interests has been very beneficial in engagement.”
Owens says enquiries are up approximately 30% and credits the CRM system with the lion’s share of that growth. The university is also benefiting with more intelligence as to what prospective students are doing, and how they are doing it, at every stage of the enrolment journey.
“The ability to do reports quickly on how we are performing is something we’ve not been able to do before. But the crucial thing is that we are able to tell our story in a very consistent way thanks to Azorus.”
The next steps
Edge Hill is readying to integrate its applicant system with the CRM solution, and looking at how to adapt it to enhance communications with post-graduate and international students.
“We want to use our CRM solution to keep innovating. Having the ability to work with a team like Azorus that shares our view of innovation just makes the whole experience that much more pleasurable.”