thoughtful higher education call center professional

A Personalized, Relational Approach to Higher Education Call Center Services


thoughtful higher education call center professional

Sextant Marketing offers more than your average higher education call center, focusing on engaging students on their terms, building relationships, advising, and treating students with understanding and respect as they make a life-changing decision.

Everything we do points to the fact that not all call centers are created equally. As with every phase of enrollment management services, we have reimagined what can be done with a call center and created a better way to engage modern students.

“We’re helping students make a choice that will be one of the top three financial decisions of their lives,” said Matthew Speer, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner for Sextant Marketing. “We work hard to personalize the experience, communicate with students where they are, and understand all aspects of the student journey.”

Not All Higher Education Call Centers Are the Same

Jimmy Lynch, Vice President of Engagement Services for Sextant Marketing, says that choosing the right kind of call center as a partner is a critical decision for colleges and universities.

“Nothing less than the reputation of your institution and your brand is on the line every time an engagement campaign is executed on your behalf by a vendor,” says Jimmy. “While I am not advocating that you go with the most expensive, I would advocate that if you are considering a low cost vendor you fully weigh the potential impact on the quality of services you may receive.”

Jimmy points out that academic institutions should carefully consider all options, performing their due diligence that includes reviewing the company’s strategy and raw materials and listening to some of their phone calls with prospective students.

With a partner like Sextant Marketing, colleges and universities can look at prospective students as more than mere numbers on an enrollment data report. Together we see prospective students as people trying to make one of the most important decisions they will ever make about their future.

It’s a decision that will change someone’s life for the better, affecting their career, personal life, and financial goals. Sextant endeavors to treat that decision with the respect it deserves, taking steps to help students better understand the college application process and walk them through enrollment, registration, and beyond.

As part of our modern approach to enrollment management services, our call center focuses on supporting prospective students and building a relationship for the long term.

“They are not out buying a toaster, they are making a life changing decision,” says Jimmy. “The interactions and messaging must be designed to nurture and support and not appear as cold and transactional.”

Many prospective students make their decision based on how they feel about the school and the emotional relationship or bond they either have or anticipate. The quickest way to lose a prospective student is to give them an admissions process that lacks warmth, compassion, and understanding.

Building a Relationship with Prospective Students

The entire Sextant approach to providing higher education call center services builds upon being relational, not transactional, with students. Advisors focus on learning about the students' goals and aspirations and connecting them with the right degree program.

Sextant sees its role as consultative in nature. In many cases, students have are interested in a school, but are not yet ready to commit. They remain a viable and necessary part of the enrollment funnel for a university and should be treated as such.

A variety of situations can keep prospective students from entering a program. They may need to complete a specific exam, prerequisite course or earn a license (such as with nurses preparing to earn a BSN). According to Jimmy, “regardless of the reason, it is important to continue to foster that initial engagement and to continue to build on the relationship.”

Communicating with Students

Continuing contact with students, engaging with them across multiple modalities, is another focus that sets our higher ed. call center apart.  As Jimmy said, “We do not make phone calls for the sake of making phone calls.” Instead, Sextant uses a multi-faceted, omni-channel contact strategy uniquely designed to fit the needs of each client.

Sextant communicates with students through mail, email, phone, SMS, online chat, and social media. Through each of these channels we have the ability to focus on both initiating engagement and reinforcing a prospective student’s interest in the school and their chosen field. Through initial engagement, nurturing, and reengagement Sextant, adjusts the type and frequency of messages depending on each student's needs and preferences.

The Sextant Enhanced Student Services Difference

Case studies  show how our Enhanced Student Services approach offers a better return on investment. One such study involves Kentucky State University. The HBCU wanted to increase enrollment of traditional ground-based undergraduate students on its Frankfort campus. They wanted to do so while maintaining the school’s commitment to social responsibility, academic standards, and core values.

In other words, no shortcuts. Instead, they bought into the approach offered by Sextant Marketing. Together, Sextant and Kentucky State created a high-touch communication model that allowed Sextant advisors to serve as extensions of Kentucky State’s admissions office. They enhanced student support, built strong one-on-one relationships with students, revamped some of the school’s admissions material, and provided front-end support to several university offices, including student success, institutional research, and financial aid.

The process included 46,000 phone calls, 13,000 targeted emails, 4,728 pieces of direct mail and seven campus visits by 11 team members. The result: Kentucky State University experienced a 90.2% increase in fall first-time freshmen enrollments and a 170% increase in spring first-time freshman enrolments.

Those numbers are a testament to our approach to higher education call center and enrollment management services. It’s an atypical approach that leads to extraordinary results.