The RNN Group takes their student engagement to the next level with Purlos
The challenges of supporting students through their enrolment journey
Nick Dale, Events & Recruitment Manager knew that traditional methods of outreach (i.e., email, phone, and texts) were labour-intensive, had diminishing returns on staff time and investment and were proving less and less effective at engaging with younger students.
But without any additional staff, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the admissions team to continue providing every student with the high level of individual support that the college is known for.
‘Students apply in November but typically won’t hear anything after that initial contact and interview until July or August of the following year. We wanted to work on additional ways to keep students warm, communication lines are kept open through email, text and telephone calls but we needed a new channel to keep students engaged”
What they needed was a way to communicate with students during the period from application to enrolment without adding to staff workloads. Their ideal solution would not only be responsive to students and capture their attention but also would allow the technology to work for them, instead of the other way around. Providing students with a channel to easily and quickly have their questions answered by the college and the college an avenue to help support students towards key enrolment and retention deadlines.
Thankfully, they’ve found a way to provide students with 24/7 personal engagement and free up more staff time for more one-on-one conversations. The key was partnering with Purlos.
The best way to engage with students
After evaluating Purlos, the RNN team found that the platform would give them the best of both worlds: a way to provide students with highly personalized, two-way conversations via WhatsApp and reduce the time staff had to dedicate to keeping students invested in the process. While also giving them a significant competitive edge on their competitors whose outreach remained rooted in traditional methods.
“Initially, cost was an issue for us, but after much research we quickly found that there was no one else out there like Purlos, and employing another 5 members of staff to cover the work that Purlos could do for us would be much more expensive so ultimately it was an easy decision to make.”
With Purlos they could:
- Proactively nudge students to do everything from completing applications to registering for events
- Provide students with personalized responses to their questions, 24/7 – even outside of staff’s office hours
- Empower students with the choice to pause or even end the conversation if they were no longer interested in attending
- Give staff the opportunity to easily monitor thousands of conversations and better evaluate student interest across their enquiry pool
Given Purlos’ ability to provide personalized, instantaneous responses across a wide range of questions, RNN decided to integrate Purlos into their existing admissions processes immediately.
“I have a lot of unread emails in my inbox, but I don’t really have any unread WhatsApp messages”
Events & Recruitment Manager
Working smarter, not harder
The Purlos team quickly and efficiently trained RNN’s admissions staff, and in just a few weeks they were up to speed and sending their first messages out to students via WhatsApp.
Purlos now answers 80% of all incoming student questions in under five minutes. When Purlos isn’t confident about an answer, a staff member steps in to provide a human touch with the student. This has massively freed up staff time to focus on building meaningful interactions with students and ensuring those that would really benefit from individual one-to-one support receive it.
“The feedback from students has been excellent. They really appreciate receiving personalized messages and reminders and by answering those highly repetitive questions Purlos has saved my team so much time. It’s great to see immediate results like this, and just a reassurance that using multiple ways to reach students is the way to go”
The staff at RNN were also quick to take advantage of the full suite of back-end analytics Purlos provides on individual student risk levels and risk drivers. In order to quickly identify those students at the highest risk of dropping out of the admissions process and so declining or deferring their offer. Early identification of students potentially at risk allowed staff to intervene and support students exactly when it mattered most, and backed by data they were able to address student concerns quickly and efficiently.
A partnership rooted in student success
Purlos continues to partner with the RNN Group to deliver a winning combination of human interaction, WhatsApp engagement and student insights to help the group meet its goals.
Following up with students through WhatsApp campaigns closes the loop from interest to enrollment to retention. And by capturing aggregate student data across multiple channels, the RNN Group understands how they can best serve each student throughout their journey.
“We have now started using Purlos to help us increase our event attendance. We have an apprenticeship event scheduled to take place in a few weeks and approached Purlos to help us boost the number of students in attendance. So far we have sent out two reminders to students via WhatsApp, within a seven day period and the number of students now expected to attend has increased by 200%!”
Moving forward, the group is focused on ensuring they continue to deliver the kind of first-class student experience they are known for and are already planning future campaigns with Purlos to take their student engagement to the next level.
Student engagement skyrocketed once students had access to Purlos. Whereas engagement rates had been declining over the preceding years, students engaged with our outreach 85% of the time.
Hopwood Hall combines strategy and AI to solve an admissions year like no other. Enlisting the help of Purlos to reduce traditional enrolment barriers and keep their students engaged.
For NESCOT, a large further and higher education college in Surrey, 2020 was the first year that Purlos had been used to support admissions. The impact of COVID-19 and the unprecedented use of teacher assessment