Texting revolutionizes the student communication game
When considering recruitment and enrollment goals at Carroll University, located outside of Milwaukee, it is not about the number of times contact is made with a prospective student—it is about the number of quality contacts.
“We want to have two-way conversations so we can understand our students better,” says James Wiseman, vice president of enrollment. “The more quality contacts you have, the more engaged a prospective student is and the more likely they are to choose us.”
So to increase quality contact opportunities—and use admissions and enrollment staff time more efficiently—students need to be met where they are. Texting seemed like a natural solution.
“We tried using free texting platforms on iPads, but it did not work very well because it was hard to see who was opting in to receiving texts, and difficult to keep contact lists current,” says Wiseman.
There are many companies that offer mass text messaging, but that is not conducive to creating personal, quality conversations with individual students, says Wiseman. He reached out to Mongoose, a communications solutions provider, to discuss creating a new texting product.
Mongoose Texting’s software can be used in any browser on any device. Admissions staff can send any student or group of students a personal message that comes from a phone number that reflects the area code of the institution. Opt-in lists are automatically updated nightly, and information from the institution’s SIS is pulled in automatically, allowing users to see the whole picture of the student they are contacting. Template messages can be saved and sent to multiple students.
“They wanted to help us and develop a platform that fit our needs,” says Wiseman. “The team there really understands admissions in higher ed, and they had fantastic suggestions for features. This is one of the most robust, well-thought-out systems.”
After some testing during the summer, Mongoose Texting was launched at Carroll in fall 2015.
“It is a very intuitive system with a very short learning curve,” says Wiseman.
Simple student buy-in
The option to accept texts is promoted to all students who visit or receive emails from Carroll University. Students are promised that they will not receive spam.
“Students do have the option to opt out, but we have not had anyone opt out,” says Wiseman. “We are very purposeful in how we text, so no one feels inundated with irrelevant information.”
Since engaging Mongoose Texting, Carroll has seen quality contacts increase by over 700 this year as well as a record number of applications. Admissions staff credit Mongoose Texting with improving the efficiency and efficacy of their role. Because the platform can be used on any device, conversations can continue when admissions staff are on the road or working from home.
“I have a very seasoned staff, including one counselor who has been here over 20 years,” says Wiseman. “She said Mongoose Texting is the best thing we have ever done.”
Texting—in this meaningful, purposeful way—has the potential to change the higher ed communication game, according to Wiseman.
“This is cutting-edge. I think email communications in admissions and other departments will move to a similar format.”
For more information, visit www.mongooseresearch.com