Admissions Mistake: Phone System Frustrations

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Getting students arrived for their scheduled tours is something that almost every technical school or career college struggles with. It’s something that can make an immediate improvement in your show rates.

We secret shopped over 400 different career colleges and technical schools across a variety of different sectors; Cosmetology, technical, allied health, and so on. We found that mistakes are being made a lot more often than people may realize. And we identified 20 mistakes that were being made in a very large degree.

The majority of schools have five mistakes or more. These mistakes can affect your statistics, your show rates, the number of tours that you’re doing, and then ultimately of course, your enrollments. We work with schools to fix their lead generation, while also improving their admissions team’s results, and these results lead to increased enrollments. One of the 20 mistakes we have found to hurt admissions comes from phone system frustrations.

When a call doesn’t get properly routed it’s extremely frustrating. No one likes phone trees and no one likes waiting to get an answer, whether it’s a text message or an email. Speed to lead is extremely important and that shows up with how quickly someone can talk to a live person or get a text back from a live person. Think about speed to lead and how frustrating it is to not get an answer or not be able to get through to someone very quickly. If you must have a phone tree, then make it as simple as possible. If there is any kind of delay between when a lead comes in from your website and when you’re able to get back to them, make that as short as possible.

Having a clear policy and a clear script of what is said when someone calls is very important. It’s never good if your front desk person says, “Let me check. I’m not sure about that. The person Who handles that isn’t here right now. She’ll probably be back in 45 minutes. Can you call back in 15 minutes or can you call back in 45 minutes?,” or, “I don’t actually handle admissions. The person who does is on a tour right now. I can have her call you back.” You know just not being prepared, not being professional, not being friendly, not being helpful. Some schools make the huge mistake of having students answering the phone and that opens up a whole other can of worms from a compliance standpoint and also because a student isn’t usually trained to answer phones. That’s getting to become more rare but we still see it at schools. If there’s students answering the phone, that’s something that needs to be corrected right away.

Your front desk team should not be answering admissions questions. The best way to get into trouble with the Department of Education or your accrediting body, is to let inexperienced and untrained people discuss financial aid, admissions, any other sensitive topics at all. So don’t open yourself up, or your school up, to serious consequences as a result from allowing someone who isn’t properly trained to speak with a prospective student. The person that is talking to a prospective student needs to know what they’re doing.

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