Smashing school admissions, one email at a time
We all know that the school admissions period is one of the busiest times for Customer Service teams in local government. Every year it costs authorities thousands of pounds just to manage the overflow of incoming calls in just a short period of time. But the question on everyone’s lips, or at least mine when I meet with all my incredible clients is “But does it have to?”
Each year the Deadline Day for parents to apply for primary school places is around mid January. This is closely followed by Offer Day in mid April. During this period incoming contact increases dramatically for the customer services, whether it be phone calls, emails or other forms of contact. The reason for contact can more often than not be broken down into a small number of common questions, with the most common (from what I’ve seen) being ‘Did you receive my application?’ and ‘I haven’t heard anything yet, should I have?’. So “What can local authorities be doing to combat this influx of contact?” I hear you ask.
Using what we know about most common questions from previous years we can pre-empt what questions are going to be asked and when. Birmingham City Council ran a brilliant campaign providing regular emails throughout the admissions process, confirming applications had been received, urging parents not to call until after the offer day if they had not heard anything and encouraging them to visit the website for information. Their results…
- 65% open rate
- Reduced calls by 72%
- Total of £13,400 savings
Gloucestershire County Council also ran an impressive campaign after observing that a high number of calls were coming into Customer Services from parents wanting confirmation that their application had been received, due to distrust of automated emails via the admissions system. So they simply started to send targeted confirmation emails directly from the council to all applicants weekly, as well as sending updates on the process. This resulted in a 30% reduction in calls each week.
So in answer to our original question, no it doesn’t have to. By pre-empting increased levels of contact we can target the right people, with the right information at the right time and smash school admissions, one email at a time.