Indiana State University has been using its current CRM solution since 2005, but this past year started to push the solution beyond recruitment and admissions. Today, the university’s CRM solution is integrated with its SIS, LMS, and much of its social media data, to form a next-generation early warning system for at-risk students.
Examples of how CRM for retention extends beyond admissions at Indiana State University:
- Online education: Initial tests are underway to intervene if a student has not logged into the LMS by the first Friday of a semester, in which case the system automatically sends an email to the professor to check in with the student to see if there is a problem with start-up.
- Financial aid: If a freshman student drops below the minimum 12 units required for federal financial aid each semester, the system automatically prompts the student success office to take immediate action.
- Registrar’s office: If a student puts in a transcript request, instead of the boilerplate “we’re sorry to see you go” email, the student is contacted immediately by an advisor through the student’s preferred communications channel (currently undertaken via multiple systems, but moving toward a full CRM integration).
- Event management: Emails automatically sent to qualified work-study students suggesting they attend a work-study fair.
- Varsity athletics: Monitor and record feedback from professors regarding athletes’ academic performance and engagement (e.g., attendance and grade checks).
In addition to early intervention on academic and financial aid issues, Indiana State is extending its early-warning system in other unique ways.
CRM and Social Media
Indiana State has begun a more complete integration of an SMS solution with its CRM system. Thus far, data has been passed between a legacy system and the CRM to text (and tweet) freshman about events, engage in recruiting, and for general announcements. FY ’14 will usher in a fully integrated platform which will communicate directly via the CRM.
The school cafeteria? Yes.
The CRM system analyzes card swipe data in the cafeteria of full-time, first-time freshman students, to identify possible at-risk students. If a student doesn’t eat in the cafeteria Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the system will generate a report Thursday morning and send it to hall directors and residential assistants initiating an action to simply find out if that student is okay. While these might not be appropriate campaigns for other institutions, Indiana State was able to build data driven triggers based on criteria specific to the institution, based on multiple data sources, and a more holistic view of students.
After just a few months of operation, Indiana State’s CRM project called ‘Data-2-Action’ contributed to a Fall 2012 first-time freshman retention increase of 2.5%. Karl Burgher, Chief Strategy Officer at Indiana State University, summed it up during a recent Webcast: “If you can think it, you can CRM it. It’s not about the technology anymore. It can do whatever you ask of it with a bit of effort. It’s now about the management of people and processes within the context of CRM solutions. It’s about execution and using technology to customize and deliver a most efficient set of data-driven actions for operations and student success.”
Karl E. Burgher, Ph.D., P.E.