21 January 2015
Web Chat Software - Happy Professional New Year?
What New Year’s resolutions have you made this year?
Join the gym, quit smoking or to learn a new language?
They are just some of the promises we make ourselves. But what about our professional lives, shouldn’t we be striving for perfection at work as well? In this blog we are looking at how you can become a go-getter in the office by maximising recruitment efforts in one of the UK’s most profitable sectors – the international market.
As mentioned in our previous blog, The Art of Student Recruitment using Web Chat Software (Part 2 ), overseas students are worth an estimated £5bn to the UK market. Shorter course lengths and costs (compared to the US), the ability to learn English for an international career, a higher starting salary and the strong reputation of UK degrees makes the UK an attractive further education option for overseas students.
Several international students are unaware that they are considered an attractive individual
It’s important to create a marketing platform that reaches out to them in every possible way. It can be argued that the process of converting a student enquiry into a placement at your university comes secondary to establishing initial contact with that student – without the latter, the former isn’t possible.
Once an international student has been approached or has proactively chosen to take up contact with your university they are usually faced with two options, phone or email. Depending on where the student lives and how long the conversation takes, calling a foreign number can be expensive for the enquiring student; especially if they have a strong accent that drags out the conversation because they are difficult to understand.
Email is therefore more popular with foreign students because it doesn’t put their language skills on the spot and, so long as they have access to internet, provides a free method of communication. The only downside is that it can take your international office several hours, days or even weeks to get back to them, especially during the busy summer months. In a highly competitive environment this isn’t nearly good enough. If an eligible overseas student sends your university an enquiry but is then headhunted by another UK institution in the time that it takes for you to reply, there is a good chance of losing them.
Web chat Software covers the middle ground. It is instantaneous like phone, but free and accent-agnostic like email. Overseas students that are interested in your university are not going to attend open days or other UK exhibitions where you have a presence; online accessibility is therefore the key. By including a chat button on every page of your website (or even just your pages dedicated to international students) you minimise the amount of effort it takes for foreign students to initiate contact.
Once contact is made, the challenges that arise in international recruitment generally fall into one of four categories:
- Transcripts and references
- Application and personal statement
- Language ability
- Visa complications
These can all be managed via phone or email but neither of these options is that efficient. Directing students through the university’s application process or visa submission over the phone can be frustrating if you cannot see what the student is viewing on their browser. As we have already mentioned, foreign accents can also make communicate slow and confusing.
International Recruitment Officers are often expected to provide tangible evidence that their student’s English language skills are strong enough to attend a UK university. Besides transcripts and references, conducting a phone conversation is the most common qualification method. Unfortunately this might not be convincing enough for superior decision-makers who need proof that their spelling and grammar is sufficient to produce essays and perform exams. Authenticity questions are prevalent however, so you need a guarantee that it is the student speaking on the phone and not a third party.
This is another distinct advantage of web chat software. Recruitment Officers can see the strength of the student’s spelling and grammar, and verify the identity of the student through integrated video support. This dialogue can then be archived and even integrated with your university’s CRM system for future reference.
In conclusion, if your university is serious about international recruitment and you’re looking to make a fresh new start to your career; consider implementing web chat software. Talk to one of our University Coordinators for a demonstration on 0845 123 5871, email firstname.lastname@example.org or experience web chat software for yourself at www.click4assistance.co.uk.