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Have you tried the latest iPhone X? It can recognize your face and unlock your phone. And it works like a charm. I don’t know about you, my friends, but it’s easy to believe that technology has officially taken over our lives.

However, I have a newsflash for you. Drumroll please…

People still prefer talking to people over machines.

Yes, actual people, as in living, breathing, human beings.

I know texting is fast. Social media is fun. Emails are convenient. In fact, automation and speed are great for business. And, personally, I’m more than happy to let my robot bring me my cup coffee.

However, there is nothing like talking to a real live person.

I’ll go so far as to say that face-to-face communication is the new differentiator in enrollment marketing. If not now, it will be soon enough.

Of course, you wouldn’t know it from the way schools are responding. Right now, Higher Ed Technology spending is on the rise. IT leaders and campus admin are projected to invest in everything from online learning solutions to personal devices. According to Ed Tech Navigator, Higher ED spent 12 billion on technology in 2017, and that number is expected to rise as schools look to survive and grow in a very competitive landscape.

And, don’t get us wrong, at Education Connex we’d be the first to say that those numbers are warranted. Schools must compete in technology. The world is only going to get faster, smaller and smarter. Schools need to stay on the cutting edge to keep up. It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

However, often lost or forgotten, is the human factor. When we ask schools about declining enrollment, it is inevitable that we hear schools respond that the “fix” is just “one technology solution” away.

Sadly, most of the time, the real solution can be found in people. In truth, people and the personal touch is the most critical and important asset in the student journey, regardless of the channel of engagement.

A recent Verint research paper found that 82 percent of consumers still prefer human interaction especially when the issue is complicated. And we all know how complex the student journey can be, which is why prospects still want to speak to a live human being, either in person or over the phone.

What’s needed in enrollment is a more balanced approach, one in which humans are supported by technology. Let’s call it an approach in which technology allows the interaction to be even more human and personal than it was before.

When personalization prevails in the student journey, loyalty is created.

Of course, we know technology is never going to go away, nor should it. We just need to be ready for it, and then human enough to know how to use it to create more meaningful connections.

According to global research by Accenture, 88 percent of consumers will utilize digital channels during a portion of their shopping experience. Yet, only 36 percent of them think digital channels are better than human channels. In short, technology will never control the student experience.

Every interaction must be personal and proactive to produce genuine emotion for your school’s brand. Technology can help, but you need a person to share the difference.

And that difference will be your difference.

Education Connex is a Student Engagement Company founded to help non-profit universities grow total enrollment through personalized contact that leverages technology.