​One of the greatest frustrations an admissions professional experiences is a prospective student not answering the phone after inquiring.   It’s certainly reasonable to be frustrated - after all, if a prospective student is asking for someone to contact them with information, why wouldn’t they pick up the phone?   The Legacy Team has spent over a year researching a variety of contact protocol combinations to help admissions professionals connect with more prospects that inquire.  Our research has discovered a combination which has helped many of our education partners connect with up to 40% more inquiries.  We’re thrilled to share those results with you.

In our 15 month study, comprising 42 of our education partners and 157 admissions professionals, we discovered the best conversion of inquiry-to-appointment-set took place within the first two weeks of the inquiry being received.  Beyond two weeks, the results are disastrous: 46% less appointments set and 55% less appointment show.  We observed schools were making too many calls and sending too many texts and emails as a “hope strategy” to make first contact in order to conduct the “first impression” phone call.  Not only were these outdated approaches overbearing and aggressive, and in some cases noncompliant, but the communication templates (emails, texts and voicemails) were ineffective in connecting with the needs, motivations and expectations of today’s student.  

We implored our education partners to limit their contact attempts to a fraction of their typical number of attempts, spread over a 14-day time period based upon the time of day the inquiry was received (before mid-day or after mid-day).  Not only were the results incredible, but the conclusion of our study has been praised by several CRM vendors and meets compliance standards.  

This study did not involve inquiries deriving from third-party aggregators, as such strategies must be swifter.  Additionally, this study focused on a strategy which improved the immediate contact attempts from a phone call and text message, not email or other “drip campaigns.”  

With a more limited phone contact protocol, our participating schools were able to connect with up to 40% more inquires, utilizing an average of six contact attempts, and enjoyed an average inquiry-to-appointment-set rate of 69%, with an average show rate of 81%.  Additionally, admissions professionals were able to better manage their calendars, which allowed for more time to conduct admissions appointments.  

Here’s how they did it…

Phone Contact Strategy Protocol 

In the first two weeks, make up to six (6) phone contact attempts.

Attempt StatusInquiry Received BEFORE Mid-DayInquiry Received AFTER Mid-Day
New Inquiry – Contact Attempt #1(1st Day),Text immediately Call within 20 minutes of text – No voicemail(1st Day),Text immediately Call within 20 minutes of text – No voicemail
Contact Attempt #2Same Day (1st Day) Call later in afternoon – Leave a voicemailNext Day (2nd Day) Leave a voicemail
Contact Attempt #3Next Day (2nd Day) No voicemail(5th Day) No voicemail
Contact Attempt #4(6th Day) Leave a voicemail(9th Day) Leave a voicemail
Contact Attempt #5(11th Day) No voicemail Text Message(12th Day) No voicemail Text Message
Contact Attempt #6(14th Day) Leave a voicemail Text Message(14th Day) Leave a voicemail Text Message

As we begin to enter a busy season in our sector, take time to examine your existing approach and consider if there’s room for improvement.  If so, we hope the results of our study motivate you to inject this strategy into your operating platform, and then condition your team to execute it, so they can connect with more future professionals and enjoy greater success throughout 2017 and beyond.