How to Rethink Your Enquiry Management to Boost International Student Recruitment

Is your admissions team effectively managing all student enquiries? We’ve got some tips to ensure a seamless student recruitment process.  

Efficient enquiry management and consistent, clear communication is critical when moving students through the international student recruitment journey.  

Your admissions process needs to prioritize the needs and concerns of the student, empowering them to ask questions, providing step-by-step instructions, and assuaging any fears or doubts they may have.  

To do this, your enquiry management must be organized, continuously tracked and updated, and personable. So how can you implement this?  

Setting your enquiry management strategy 

As with most things, you’ve got to set and implement your strategy and processes before rolling out a new program.  

Examine your current enquiry management processes and identify gaps in processes that need to be addressed.  

For instance, is your team tracking a student’s progress throughout the entire enquiry to enrollment process?  

Our QS Enrolment Solutions team found that the average number of days between an initial enquiry and enrollment for international students to the UK can be as long as 494 days for Saudi Arabian students, 475 days for Nigerian students, 381 days for Singaporean students, 361 days for Chinese students, 332 days for Canadian students, and 290 days for American students.  

With such a long enrollment process, your admissions team needs to be consistently communicating with prospective students to ensure ongoing engagement and eventual enrollment.  

If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth or resources to deliver this level of communication while also responding to ad hoc questions, then it may be worth exploring external agencies who specialize in this area.  

Whether you do it in-house or use an external agency, you need to set a strategy that details:  

  • How your representatives respond to enquiries 
  • What language they use in communications and how to build rapport with students 
  • How they track each individual enquiry to ensure every representative understands where the prospective student is in their journey and when they were last contacted  
  • How to ensure constant touch points for students that are relevant and valuable 
  • How these communications can be personalized 
  • How your team ensures continuous coverage over multiple time zones  

It’s important to note that your strategy will be the firm foundation that your team uses to seamlessly communicate with students, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a one-size-fits-all approach.  

Personalized communication is key. Each representative should be trained to respond to students on an individual, personal basis, as well as the planned ongoing communication.  

Top tips for student conversion   

Now that you’ve established an enquiry management strategy for your international student recruitment efforts, what tips can improve your team’s success?  

Firstly, time zone coverage is an issue that many universities struggle with. Being able to send timely responses to prospective students in different time zones is a critical component of effective enquiry management.  

Whilst this may be difficult to organize with an in-house team, regional representatives or an external agency could ensure this time zone coverage is comprehensive.  

When communicating with students, representatives should be trained on the effective questioning of students, empowering them to get to the root of a student’s issues and concerns.  

They should also receive training in how to build rapport with students to ensure the communication process doesn’t feel automated or sterile.  

Students want to speak with empathetic and understanding representatives, and these interactions will often dramatically shape the way they view your university, its staff, and how welcoming it is – all key components in maximizing conversion. 

Interestingly, speed of response in enquiry management is often seen as an indicator of teaching quality, with teaching quality being the most important factor for students when choosing a university. 

Another tip is to explore the possibility of weekend enquiry management. Many universities only provide enquiry coverage during the week, but many students are studying or working during that time. 

Our QS Enrolment Solutions team found that weekend calls have increased levels of success when it came to prospective students engaging in in-depth discussions. Certain markets responded more positively than others, with Kenya, India, and Pakistan being especially responsive to weekend calls. 

Whilst it may be worth exploring the possibility of weekend calls and other out-of-hours enquiry management for your own university, these numbers also demonstrate the importance of leveraging data and analyzing your enquiry performance. 

Don’t ignore your data, collate it and examine it. It will illuminate areas where your enquiry management is succeeding or failing and provide you with a framework for progress.  

If you’d like to learn more about how to transform your enquiry management and boost your international student recruitment results, contact our QS Enrolment Solutions team today 

You can also download a copy of the International Student Survey for comprehensive insights on prospective students, including their communication preferences and decision-making processes. 


About the Author:

As the B2B Content Marketing Manager, Sarah Linney is responsible for communicating the insights, research, and market analysis that have positioned QS as a thought leader in the higher education sector. After completing a Communications-Journalism degree at Charles Sturt University in Australia, Sarah worked in radio news and B2B print publishing before joining the content marketing sector. While working at a content marketing agency, Sarah was transferred to their New York office. She then led content marketing efforts at two tech startups in New York as a Content Manager before deciding to make the move to the UK and QS. 

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