At ApplyBoard, we are committed to helping international students achieve success. One of the ways we do this is by ensuring that we, and our recruitment partners, provide our students with exceptional customer service along their educational journey. A student’s journey starts when they initially reach out to learn about their study abroad options and then wait to hear back regarding their next steps.
What you do at this step has a significant impact on whether or not a student will be successful. How do you get the best results when following up with prospective students? We’ve pulled together some best practices to guide you through.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Start by putting yourself in your students’ shoes. Think about how you would want to be treated and responded as if you were a student interested in studying abroad. You would likely expect to be:
- Responded to quickly and professionally
- Provided with accurate information
- Given resources to support your decision making
- Supported by having questions answered
Additionally, you would want to communicate using the channel that’s easiest for you. This could include phone, email, social media, WhatsApp, etc.
When reaching out to prospective students, we need to remember that we are here to deliver an A+ customer experience. To help you do this, we’ve created the 3Ps of Supporting Student Success: Be Proactive, Persistent, and Personalized.
The Three Ps of Supporting Student Success
When you receive a new lead or inquiry, you must reach out as soon as possible! Do it within minutes, not hours. Quickly responding is a great way to make an excellent first impression as people expect an instant response these days. Providing a prompt response builds trust by showing just how interested you are in supporting their education journey.
It’s no surprise that people who respond quickly are the most successful in qualifying and converting business, compared to those who take their time in responding. Harvard Business Review recently shared research showing that companies that responded to leads within an hour were 7x more likely to convert leads. The faster you can connect with a prospective student, on the platform they prefer (It’s essential to be flexible with your communication tools, be available by phone, email, text, WhatsApp, and even social media) the better your chance to make a connection and start a discussion.
Think of it as a race; the first person to make contact with the student will have the best chance to build rapport and differentiate themselves and their product.
Persistence is key!
You won’t always be able to make a connection on your first attempt, so keep trying! Once you do connect, it’s essential to stay in communication with your student. Our experience shows that students will continue to respond, even after you’ve made several connections. At ApplyBoard, our best practice is to complete 10 connections over 10 days via email, phone, etc. As you reach out, continue providing value through resources and innovative ideas to help your students along their journey. This can include providing students with useful articles found on the ApplyBoard Blog, links to videos from the ApplyBoard’s YouTube channel, or school-specific resources like our UK Resources page.
No one wants to get a generic, boring message. That’s why you must put effort into personalizing all forms of communication with students. Before reaching out, make sure you’ve done your research on the student and know the following:
- Their first and last name
- Where they are located
- Their educational background
- What they are interested in studying
- Where they are interested in studying
These points of information will allow you to personalize your conversation with students. When communicating back and forth, make sure to ask thoughtful questions that provoke a response. This will create a connection right away and show you are genuinely interested in supporting students along with their study abroad journey.
For example, if a student does not have a language test, ask if they are looking for coaching options and capture it for future reference.
Remember, students are probably checking out multiple options. Show them that you understand their goals and dreams and provide valuable insight into how you can help them get there. Respond with that in mind, follow the 3P’s of being proactive, persistent and personalized, and you’ll find the most success in working with your leads.