The University's been doing a lot of work over the last few years on CRM (Customer Relationship Management), particularly for prospective students. We've developed a system in-house which brings together on one screen all interactions with prospective students, including what information they've been sent, what open days they've attended, what course they've applied for, what accommodation they've been allocated, any phone calls they've made or emails they've sent - a very popular system which has gone down very well with most of the departments who have used it. It also allows people to book places on open days through a web form. Now this pilot phase is being extended - imaginatively called CRM2 - and I'm on the Steering Group. As well as improving the current system, we will be extending the project to include all interactions with students - the virtual student file - by utilising technologies such as our document management system.
Part of the Steering Group's remit will also be looking at ways of improving the way prospective student enquiries are actually handled - guidelines have already been produced, and we've been running some training session on how to get the best out of our phone system - (how many people for example haven't set a personal voice mail message?)
Mystery shopping is being carried out - not just on academic departments, but on professional service departments as well - to see how calls are handled. We all have to realise that anyone who deals with an incoming phone call, or an email, or speaks to a visitor, is acting as an ambassador for the University and should deal with the enquiry professionally.
This is an exciting project, with implications for all of us - I'll keep you posted on developments.