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The students in the educational setting are a special group of customers. They need specialized care, extensive help, and a holistic approach. Given the extended duration of their engagement with a university, which often spans multiple years, this is understandable. Students expect a high level of service quality because they are spending a lot of money on their education.

Personal interaction is crucial for universities to meet these expectations. This means providing exceptional experiences and delighting the student.

The key features of personalized engagement in education

Personalized engagement has emerged as a critical component in fostering student success and satisfaction. Universities are increasingly recognizing that one-size-fits-all approaches are inadequate. They tailor their support and services to individual students.

“Student services are things that traditionally universities haven’t paid that much attention to but now are becoming increasingly important”
– Pablo Pareja-Alcaraz, Pompeu Fabra Unviersity in Barcelona

Source: Connected Student Report, Third Edition, Salesforce

Student services in higher education are shaped by several critical factors. The following factors contribute to a student-focused educational experience:

  • Academic advisors
  • Responses to current issues
  • Retention rates
  • Student experience
  • Onboarding process.

Advisors as navigators

Academic advisors play a pivotal role in personalized engagement. They serve as guides, helping students chart their educational journey. Without a comprehensive system they are not able to manage the relationship with their students. That is where Salesforce steps in. It provides a 360-degree view of a student, with all information about past and present actions. With this help academic advisors assist students in selecting courses that align with career goals, passions, and strengths, ensuring students stay motivated and on track.

Whereas 34% of students wanted more help managing their work-life balance in 2021, 40% reported feeling the same in the 2022 survey.

Source: Connected Student Report, Third Edition, Salesforce

Addressing current issues

Personalized engagement enables universities to address immediate challenges faced by students. Whether it’s academic difficulties, personal issues, or financial concerns, customized support helps students tackle these problems effectively. By being responsive to individual needs, universities foster an environment where students feel heard and supported.

“Now students have a place to go to see these opportunities and submit applications to participate. We saw a pretty sharp increase in engagement once we started focusing on experience”
CMO, public research university.

Source: Forrester Report: The Total Economic Impact Of Salesforce Education Cloud, October 2020

Impact on retention rates

Retention rates are a key indicator of a university’s success. Personalized engagement significantly influences retention by identifying and addressing the root causes of attrition. When students feel valued and supported, they are more likely to persist through challenges, resulting in higher retention rates.

The Forrester Report aggregated experiences of the interviewed organizational leaders:

  • The average retention rate is 88% before Salesforce
  • After the Salesforce investment retention rises to 93%, 94% and 94% in the following 3 years.
  • There is an increase in retention rates after 3 years 6,8%.

Source: Forrester Report: The Total Economic Impact Of Salesforce Education Cloud, October 2020

Enhancing the student experience

The student experience is greatly enriched through personalized engagement. When students receive tailored guidance and support, they are more likely to thrive academically and socially. This leads to a positive perception of the university, which can translate into word-of-mouth referrals and alumni advocacy.

Compared to students who had a poor university experience, students who had a great university experience are: 31x more likely to be proud alumni and 51% more likely to recommend their institution to family and friends.

Source: Connected Student Report, Third Edition, Salesforce

The crucial role of onboarding

The onboarding process sets the tone for a student’s entire university experience. Personalized onboarding ensures that students receive the information and resources they need to navigate the university seamlessly. It introduces them to support networks, campus services, and academic expectations, laying a strong foundation for success.

Students who have a great onboarding experience are 35 times more likely to have a great university experience.

Source: Connected Student Report, Third Edition, Salesforce

Personalized engagement is a necessity in today’s universities. It empowers students to make informed decisions, provides timely assistance when needed, positively impacts retention rates, and ultimately creates a more fulfilling and successful academic journey.

As universities continue to adapt to the changing needs of their diverse student populations, personalized engagement will remain a cornerstone of student-centered education.

Personalized engagement shapes university mission

As universities continue to adapt to the needs of their students, personalized engagement remains a key component of their efforts. It’s not just a marketing tactic. It’s a commitment to providing the kind of support and experience that helps students succeed and become proud alumni. Personalized engagement is the compass universities use to fulfill their mission of nurturing bright minds and shaping the future.

Case Study

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Marketing automation
at the University

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