Jules Murray, Training and Development Consultant, Spider on the Wall Ltd.
The anguish of admissions
Her anxiety levels at an all-time high are evidenced in her lack of sleep, the worry lines etched on her face and the way she holds her neck when she talks. She has four children and finds little comfort in any of their 2020 milestones. Tom, just 4 weeks in at Leeds University, experiencing none of the longed-for Fresher fun and games. Denied his first proper taste of independence and freedom, the time to blow off steam, and learn more about his course, campus, and clubs. Now confined to a cell-size room, no face-to-face interaction just sporadic online lectures.
Tom’s twin brother, Jack, denied his 6th form leaving parties. His travelling gap year now a pile of unthumbed Lonely Planet guides. The cruel chants of ‘You didn’t earn those A grades – you were given them!” Jack now sleepwalking his way through the endless days desperately searching for where he fits in.
Harriet, 13. Diagnosed dyspraxia, attending the prestigious, international school. What of her continuation of learning if campuses must close again? How will this impact the school fees? What provision will be provided if she is to learn remotely and what of the online safeguarding procedures?
Lastly, there’s little Poppy, so desperate to catch her siblings up in every aspect of her life and now contained and confused and directed daily to behave against her natural tactile instincts. To obey the endless handwashing and follow the arrows on the floor which mark the way – the safe way! Her childhood slipping away this year along with her zest for team sports, girlie hugs, and sociable impact.
What lessons can we learn from this parent’s anguish?
Admission’s Managers it is time to look through a new lens at your value proposition and your customer journey map and adapt it: to give parents the confidence they crave in your safeguarding ability, to show clarity and efficiency in your communications, and to demonstrate understanding and empathy to parents’ individual, situational needs.
It is no longer enough to respond to an email enquiry with a generic, automated template which lists the necessary documents which must be submitted, urgently, attested, and in triplicate! You must extend a deeper level of empathy and understanding to address the emotional needs of the parent and guide them through, with reassurance and virtual hand-holding every step of the way. Addressing the parent’s anxiety about the disruption to their child’s education and the on-campus safety procedures, and having clear responses and evidence to show them, is of paramount importance if you are to maintain their loyalty.
It is time to focus on the extraordinary customer service elements of your school’s offerings and ensure those parent relationships are nurtured like never before. Going the extra mile to maximise the (non) touchpoints of every customer journey is now an essential part of your school experience.
A smile behind a face mask is still a smile in the eyes. A warm and welcome greeting without a handshake is still a warm and welcome greeting with open body language. An instruction to ‘follow the arrows on the floor’ can be delivered in the tone of a friendly, reassuring guide.
How far will your school go to leave no stone unturned? To enhance your school’s ability to maximise enrolment opportunities. A family’s decision on which school to choose will most definitely be weighted by the emotional and personal impact of the encounters and the memories that you leave them.
Join Jules on 19 November for her webinar, School Admissions: Making a performance of it. LEARN MORE
What do you think about the points raised in this article? We’d love to hear what you have to say.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jules Murray is greatly in demand for her experience in dramatically enhancing a school’s ability to maximise their enrolment opportunities. She has a proven track record of making an immediate impact on schools’ recruitment numbers. She provides valuable insights into 2020 challenges, she advises on simple practical, strategies designed to improve the Customer Journey and ultimately maximise new student recruitment. The result of which is seen in greatly improved conversion ratios and enhanced and empowered recruitment performance.
Jules Murray is a global training and development consultant. She is greatly in demand for her experience in dramatically enhancing a school’s ability to maximise enrolment opportunities.
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