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What your CRM data analytics can tell you about your students…

At present, we’re gearing up to attend CISG-PCMG19 - one of the key events in the new technologies calendar, which promises to explore and reveal the new and up-and-coming possibilities of how tech can enable us all to work better, faster and smarter.

As with previous conferences, this year’s event will focus on the role technology, analytics, AI, service integration, hybrid environments and data as a whole play in enabling higher and further education institutions to create better, faster and smarter working practices.

Using data to shape the student journey

It’s very true that technology and data is having an increasing influence on learning environments, particular where online and blended learning’s concerned. It’s also making its mark on enhancing the overall student journey, particularly when implemented via effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

Education institutions have been using CRM systems to attract, engage and communicate more effectively with students via digital platforms at various different points along the student lifecycle for a while now.

But it’s not uncommon for different departments within universities to install multiple CRMs as a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to a specific, narrow need. Venturing down this route means they often wind up with numerous CRMs that fail to provide them with what they need most - a single customer view.

What effective CRM data analytics looks like.

We know this because we work with universities to help them manage the student journey and boost student satisfaction rates using pioneering Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM solutions. Let’s take a look at some practical examples of what embracing a CRM data analytics mindset involves:

Action - Students visiting a university’s website or signing up to an enrolment programme.

In taking either of these steps, students inadvertently leave behind a data trail. Universities can, and should, use this valuable insight to build a clearer student profile and enhance their understanding of how to support them.

Benefits: By analysing an individual’s data, institutions can make sure they present their students with information that’s relevant to them and their long-term goals, depending on where they are in their overall journey.

Action – Students attending an induction/registration session

While universities will know that students are committed to their institution at this point, retention is also key against the backdrop of rising drop-out rates. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 26,000 students in England, who started studying for their first degree in 2015-16, failed to make it past their first year. And this figure has increased year-on-year for three years running.

Investing some time in getting to know their students more is therefore incredibly important at this stage. For example, how do they prefer to learn? How much time will they be spending off site vs. on site? Are they finding anything particularly challenging? Do they need extra support in certain areas? How often do they want to be kept updated on course and university developments? Do they want to be informed of wider university activities? How do they prefer to be kept updated? And so on…

Benefits: Asking these core questions at the outset will help universities immediately gain a greater level of understanding of their students and, in return, make their students feel welcomed and valued.

Action – Students accessing content online.

As more-and-more content is delivered digitally, the volume of data that can be mined is growing at an exponential rate. Rather than just produce content piece after content piece, universities should analyse how they’re individually performing by asking for student feedback and analysing their actions. Which sections are paused and re-watched the most frequently? The same principle applies to content types, i.e. online lecture recordings and podcasts, too. Are podcasts more popular than videos?

Benefits: Rather than generate content for content’s sake, universities can provide students with information they find most valuable and are more inclined to interact with, as well refine it to make it more effective for others.

Effective CRM data analytics provide universities with insight on how the decisions their students make early on impact their long-term outcomes. And the most effective systems, even predict students’ next move before they even know it themselves.

Do you want to find out more about how to use your CRM to significantly improve your student journey? Contact us on 01675 466 477 or go to to discuss your requirements with us. You can also find out more about our CRM solutions here.