Auckland University of Technology (AUT) had a problem. They also knew that first impression count and you don’t often get a second chance to attract a student to your University. AUT’s problem centred around the processing of applications. They knew they needed a solution which would allow them to improve both their communication and response time to the application.
Of AUT’s prospective students, 25% apply to multiple programmes across different faculties, and this is where the problem was. These prospective students could potentially receive individual correspondence for each of the programmes they had applied for, with no co-ordination between faculties. The applicant could potentially be offered a place in one programme that was not their first choice and would have to wait for the correspondence for their preferred programme. The response time from a faculty could be lengthy and result in the applicant making numerous calls to the University to get updates on what was happening. AUT recognised they needed to communicate with the applicants more effectively by sending out letter regularly showing the progress for each of their applications. Most of all, AUT just wanted to provide these prospective students with a better ‘customer’ experience.
The solution to this problem is now a reality for AUT, thanks to a combination of Microsoft CRM, education specialists Business Mechanix and changes to some internal University processes. The real-time Smart Letter solution has changed the way AUT communicates with 25% of it applicants and has provided a consistent and clear communication for their prospective students and eliminated the need for them to make numerous phone call to the University. Delivery of the full solution, including functionality and two-way integration with AUT’s Student Management System was achieved in just 7 weeks.