Wednesday, January 08, 2014

eMessages Provide Great and Extremely Effective Service and Communication with Students

I just had the opportunity to see a very smart and effective way to get messages to students and improve communication with them.  It is called PointAcross Solutions (PAS). They help you create visual messages that fill in where your website content or your emails aren’t working and a video is too much or too expensive.  (Spoiler alert – Students aren’t reading your emails because you overload them with emails.) Their eMessages provide information in an active and engaging way, making sure the message gets across. They are customizable to your school, can be used for any audience and message, and best of all, really affordable.

The PointAcross platform creates informational video-like messages that keep the student’s attention while getting the information across. It takes topics such as telling students how to get financial aid, drop or register for a course, or inviting alumni to events, and turns the information into a message that takes students step by step through the process. Much of the content is created in PowerPoint, giving you the flexibility to easily change dates, deadlines and other key information each semester.  Each message has a call to action link and analytics to measure student responses.

This is a real boon for the FAQ’s we have been urging you to create for your school.  These messages will provide the information in an engaging way, thereby reducing the number of times you have to repeat the information. They can also ensure every student (parent or alum) has the same experience, thus making them very customer-service friendly.
They partner with every type of school and boast The Johns Hopkins University, Buffalo State, University of Wisconsin Superior, Pearl River Community College, Bristol Community College, Creighton University, Monmouth College, NACUBO and AACRAO among the early adopters. 

 Here are just some of the results from various eMessages from their 40+ partners:    
·         Enrollment: doubled the registrations for orientation events
·         Enrollment: Record enrollment deposits in 24 hours
·         Bursar: 90% reduction in procedural phone calls
·         Business Office: 10x increase in payment plan usage
·         Registrar: 12% uptick in first-day-of-orientation registrations

I wish I had known about the PAS tool when doing audits for a few colleges recently; they really could have used them.  At one school, there were long lines to financial aid and most of the students had similar questions – How do I apply? How do I complete a FAFSA?  What does it mean that I was selected for verification?  PAS eMessages would have saved students an hour in line and saved the people at the counter the need to repeat the same message until it hurt.  Students could simply view the eMessage on their phones or tablets and be walked through any number of financial aid FAQs. The same is true for any office such as the cashier, advising, enrollment services and more. 

What is so great about eMessages, especially compared to videos  I’ve seen some schools use, is they are easy to produce and any school can afford the PAS packages.  The entry-level package starts at just $8499 for as many eMessages as you can create, and the annual fee includes hosting, analytics and creative assistance. Another thing I really like about these folks is they give great customer service.  They do all they can to make sure colleges and universities are getting great results and are happy with their services.

The best way to see what these can do is to see an eMessage in action, which you can do at their website or blog, or by clicking the sample here on why students leave and what is a service audit to keep more of them. I like these messages so much that I am going to use them.

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