1) Track every interaction
How do you know what prospects are engaging with? You may be able to track open rates or clicks in emails, but that’s never going to cut it in 2021. With a Gecko and Slate integration, you can get really granular and track every single interaction…
Susanne explains, “One of the biggest advantages of the integration is that I can see anyone and everyone who is interactive. I can pull up any person in the system, they don’t even have to have applied. I can see if they’ve interacted with the bot, if I’ve met them at a different recruitment event, or if they have visited our website.”
2) Estimate the likelihood of matriculation
Having greater visibility of the level of prospect engagement is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to predicting yield rates – and we all know how important that is. With a better read on engagement, you can really tune into the level of buy-in from students.
Susanne explains, “The integration enables us to gauge interest, so we can estimate the likelihood of students matriculating. If we see that they’re interacting with the chatbot a lot, we know that they’re definitely still interested. But if they don’t visit our website for months after they interview for a place, we know they’re probably not interested.”
3) Tailor your strategy to hit recruitment targets
Finding the balance between admitted numbers and final enrollment numbers is a tightrope that higher ed institutions across the States have to walk. However, closely monitoring your communication strategy means schools can be agile and adaptive where they need to.
Susanne explains, “One year we did quite a lot in terms of our outreach strategy. But then we started getting a lot of acceptances, and we can’t have a class of 70 matriculating. It’s definitely a balance. We bank on a certain matriculation rate, and if we get too high, that leads to financial stress that we try to avoid. So understanding who’s going to matriculate and where they’re coming from is important so we can target our recruitment.”
4) Be personable rather than pushy
Finding out what you need about students without scaring them off – or letting them know what you know about them – can be tricky. When you use a Gecko chatbot you can track what you need to know, without having a prospective student feel overwhelmed.
Susanne explains, “We had concerns with some of our other technology that it would scare students away. We know their IP addresses so it would be like, ‘Oh, hi. We see you’re in Arizona. What can we do for you?’ I think the bot is nice because it’s more passive. If a prospective student wants to interact with it, they do. If they don’t, they don’t need to. But we collect all their information from the bot conversation and put it into our platform, so we’ll know if the bot has had a conversation with someone and they end up applying.”
5) Take a more strategic approach to events
The visibility of all these micro-interactions also means that a school can better track what’s working for them in terms of recruitment events. In a nutshell, they can measure the ROI of certain events and consequently be more strategic in their approach in future.
Susanne explains, “A lot of time we’ll look at the data post-matriculation and be like, ‘How many people that we met at this recruitment fair actually enrolled?’ We can analyze the effectiveness of that fair and make a decision about whether we should return to it.
“We can also apply that to virtual events, like live chats. We ran a series of live chat sessions through Gecko this year, advertised to our PhD applicants while the application was open. It will be interesting to see who matriculates out of the people who attended the live chats and that we interviewed.”