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7 Tips For Choosing The Perfect CRM For Your Admission Needs in 2021

7 Tips For Choosing The Perfect CRM For Your Admission Needs in 2021

For those of us who are still trying to grapple with the enormity of a CRM system’s power and reach in securing admissions in today’s digitalised era, it would be unnerving, to say the least, to navigate through the plethora of Customer Relationship Management tools available online, in an effort to choose one that’s perfect for your institute. And with the onset of the admission season, it becomes even more imperative for institutes now to streamline their communication process among the counsellors and recruitment team, in order to gain the maximum ROI on admissions. Here, we offer you 7 wonderful tips that’s guaranteed to make your search for the ideal CRM system easier – well in time before the admission buzz kicks off for 2021!

  1. Identify your Institute’s Needs :- An ideal CRM tool is one that helps you engage with your customers in a timely and appropriate fashion, while encompassing key business processes such as admissions, communication and operations within its software. However, before implementing a CRM system within your institute, it is necessary to first establish the objectives of your organisation, so that you can choose an option that caters to your specific business needs. You need to choose a CRM system that offers customised solutions to the specific issues you are facing, rather than several generalised ones. You also need to keep in mind whether you require a CRM system only to enhance the institute’s communication channel with the existing student body, or to strategically increase your student count across your centres.
  2. Go with a User-Friendly CRM :- If you don’t pay attention to the specific features offered by the CRM system you purchase, your whole effort might turn out to be counter-productive. Check for a CRM technology that specifically answers your admission needs – is your institute only looking to marginally increase the existing student count, or are you looking to improve admission count across all your centres and batches? An ideal CRM tool should be capable of automating your recruitment process, and organising leads’ data in a convenient way that helps you manage communication with those leads, throughout their admission journey. Invest in one that is easy to use, as well as to train your staff on. Make sure it has easy-to-find tabs or icons, a fuss-free dashboard, as well as a search bar to help you locate different fields or tools.
  3. Choose a Reputed Vendor :- The reliability of the company offering you a CRM system is just as important as the tool’s quality. Your ideal CRM vendor should be able to provide you with optimal solutions that can augment your team’s student admission efforts, thus helping you streamline communications, organise data and create factual reports on the leads generated and subsequent follow ups. Look for vendors who can boast of a good market presence, and try to check with their existing clients whether they provide round the clock support and guidance, not only while implementing the software, but also in terms of providing necessary training, as well as in offering to resolve technical issues in the long run.
  4. Go for one that is Scalable :- It would be a good idea to check for reviews from other institutes on whether the CRM system you are planning to purchase was designed to scale or not. Find out how long have they been using the tool, and whether the vendor was able to adapt the technology in line with the exponential growth of their school/college. It is important to ensure that as more and more of your staff, students and/or branch members start accessing the purchased software, it should not crash, hang or in any way become unusable or redundant. Invest in a CRM that’s both dynamic and scalable – capable of meeting your growing business needs down the years.
  5. Always request for a Demo :- A demonstration of the CRM you intend to purchase will help resolve all the doubts clouding your mind – be it about the CRM’s features, reliability, or overall usefulness. The vendor may be able to allay your fears by lucidly explaining which functions specific to your institute could be customised before purchase, how easily can the staff be trained to use the tool, and how capable it would be in adapting to your institute and its environment. He may also be able to share the benefits of their years of industry experience with you, and guide you on how to use their CRM system to its fullest potential.
  6. Go for one that requires Low Maintenance :- A good quality CRM system is often the result of years of dedicated work by a team of seasoned professionals. They are capable of seamlessly integrating admission records, lead conversions, marketing strategies and inter departmental communication, all under a single streamlined tool. It is more likely to be consistent in its usability, adaptability and design, which not only increases your admission team’s productivity, but also makes it a cost-effective solution in the long run. Therefore, it’s imperative to choose a well-designed CRM software that not only has relevant features, but is less likely to develop bugs or glitches while in use, regardless of the number of years you need to utilise it.
  7. Check for a CRM with regular updates and upgrades :- A CRM system that has a demonstrated history of regular updates as well as upgrades happening is always recommended. Regular upgrades suggest that the tool has evolved according to market demands, and offer clear proof that the CRM provider conducts technical upgrades and compliance requirements much required for the education sector. Regular updates and upgrades also demonstrate the sincere intentions of the architects and developers involved, to keep improving upon the CRM system.

To sum it up, adopting a reputed and reliable CRM software need not necessarily be a cause for stress – rather, armed with these tips, you can be sure of making an informed decision – one that can not only aid your communication strategies, augment admission campaigns and improve your ROI and overall business profitability, but can also help your institute achieve a very high level of customer satisfaction!

Why Automation Is Indispensable For The Growth Of Your Institute

— VANDANA DEVI SREEJITH

Why Automation Is Indispensable For The Growth Of Your Institute

There is a reason why institutes around the world have been increasingly adopting a technology-centric approach since the turn of the new millennium. Moving towards automation in managing academics is not only guaranteed to enhance student experience, but can also significantly improve the pace of your institute’s growth. Read on to know how!

  1. Automation helps in minimizing manual efforts and eliminating human errors

Technology provides you with a valuable platform that can help reduce manual efforts while bringing errors down to zero. Automated IT operations effectively perform the tasks of several people at once, leading to savings on the cost of labour. Processes tend to be streamlined better and accuracy level increases, thus eliminating human errors by a wide margin. Unlike human labour, automated processes require minimal supervision, and are capable of giving a better ROI, along with increased productivity.

  1. Automation helps in streamlining the fee management system of the institute

Technology has come a long way in alleviating the burden of fee collection that’s usually part and parcel of the running of an institute, by enabling fee reminder options for your wards who have outstanding fees’ pending, as well as by offering them multiple payment options on their student app, which is helpful in prompting them to do payments via bank or credit card transfers. It also regularly provides reminders to your administrative staff to conduct follow ups with students whose payments are overdue, thus helping institutes optimize payment recovery.

  1. Automation is both cost effective as well as time effective

One of the biggest advantages of automation, that has incidentally caused a major shift towards technology in the educational sector since the past few years, has been the ease and speed with which day to day activities are performed – from receiving system generated updates on fees or admissions and timely reminders about scheduled classes or lectures, to getting notifications about early class dismissal or upcoming college events – all this without the need for any manual intervention! Automation makes it possible for your admin staff or teachers to share institute related or examination related updates to several hundred students at one go, thereby saving precious time and effort. Automation turns out to be cost effective as well in the long run, as institutes can employ a lesser number of staff to manage administrative and operational activities, and can themselves turn environment friendly by transitioning to a paperless mode of functioning.

  1. Automation helps in tracking and converting potential leads to actual customers

Automation can be a powerful tool for institutes who wish to augment the efforts of their counsellors by providing detailed reports about interested students, potential leads, as well as actual conversions. These reports can be accessed in a date specific or month specific manner to help them identify the peak admission season, thereby mentally preparing the sales team to put in aggressive efforts. Conversely, these reports can help institutes identify the lean periods as well, thus providing them an opportunity to analyze their team’s marketing efforts, and prompting them to take corrective measures as necessary – either by offering limited period discounts or early bird offers. Apart from admission trends, institutes can also benefit from an automated software by viewing reports on the kind of subjects or courses that are most sought after, or even about the faculties who have been rated highly, so that these factors can be utilized effectively by their counsellors in securing more admissions.

  1. Automation provides valuable and real time data analytics to support decision making

An advanced institute management software can readily generate detailed reports that help institutes inspect relevant data concerning both academics as well as operations, thus helping them discover useful information, conduct a thorough analysis, reach important conclusions and formulate valuable decisions. Data obtained from system generated reports are real-time and auto-updated, thus helping institute heads track the centre and batches’ progress in a more efficient way. Institutes can take prompt and well-reasoned decisions anytime, either on the academic front or the operational front – thanks to the constantly updated and automatically segregated data generated on their institute’s ERP platform. Moreover, automation being a scalable option, institutes can retain valuable data in an organised way on the software, without the fear of losing them, for years and years – and access them whenever needed, with just a few clicks. Only the owner would retain the complete access over the institute’s data – thus ensuring that no information is modified or manipulated without his/her consent.

  1. Automation helps in improving the scalability of business

Any cutting-edge institute management system can help educational institutions standardize operations across its centres or batches, thereby allowing their business to become more centralised. While this in itself is good, an automated system also allows institutes to cover repeated processes digitally, thus saving on time, and helps institutions streamline their backend processes, so that their centres operate more efficiently, helping them grow to scale. A software that has been designed to scale can be adapted according to the latest needs of the institute, and in line with its exponential growth. A scalable system also ensures that as more and more of your staff, students and parents start accessing the purchased software, it would not crash, hang or in any way become unusable or redundant.

  1. Automation helps in streamlining staff schedule

Resource allocation is another major advantage of utilising an automated learning management system, wherein the schedules of faculties along with the shifts of the administration and support staff of the institute can be tracked, and even streamlined, if necessary. Both the institute as well as the students are provided with an overview of the teachers’ calendar, helping them book lectures at their available time, without worrying about classes clashing with each other. In case of any last-minute cancellation, the same can be viewed and rescheduled according to the mutual convenience of the faculty and student. Institute heads can also gain insight into the workflow of their teachers, helping them accurately rate their professionalism and performance.

  1. Automation is the most environment friendly choice

When you actually think about it, most of the administration work in schools and colleges involves form filling, maintaining records, printing invoices or fee receipts and preparing exam questionnaires – which eventually translates into piles and piles of paper! Adopting technology in the form of automated institute processes not only saves precious time and effort on the part of the admin team, counsellors or teachers and increases efficiency, but also helps your institute take a leap towards becoming more eco-friendly and reducing the consumption and printing of paper – which, in due course, leads to a better brand image.

  1. Automation can help scale up the institute’s record keeping practices

Maintaining the colossal mountain of records at your institute can be a tiresome, and often thankless, task. A highly scalable and advanced software, however, offers you powerful reporting features that help you retrieve any kind of institute-related data that you are looking for, to help improve your institute’s administration and day to day operations. Such data includes (but is not limited to) batch count, student information, faculty attendance, resource allocation, course module, admission enquiries and follow up, exam schedules, fee payment updates, registered grievances, lecture feedback, lesson plans and more. This helps you in not only evaluating your institute’s performance as a whole, but in also formulating measures that improve your institute’s revenues.

  1. Automation helps bridge the gap between institutes and students

A major reason why automation has gained popularity in recent times is because of the way it managed to revolutionize the traditional classroom, and bring in personalised attention and friendly rapport between the teachers and their students. Not only has this led to students understanding their subjects and liking their courses better, but has also led to greater job satisfaction and reduced burnout for the teachers. The ultimate benefit, is of course reaped by the institute for whom automation has led to goodwill, trust and increased student count year after year.

Although its possible to still go on listing the innumerable benefits that automation has bestowed upon the educational arena, it may be sufficient to say that automation has surely ushered in an era of increased visibility and improved functionality for institutes, which has ultimately resulted in an improved learning environment and a more enriched brand image for institutes, whose leaders can now proudly hold their heads up high!

Excel or Educational ERP – Which of these two will benefit your institute more?

— VANDANA DEVI SREEJITH

Undoubtedly one of the most popular tools in institutes and establishments around the world, Microsoft Excel is a handy software program that helps laymen make sense of a large volume of data by organizing and storing them, as well as by allowing them to format or analyze data with the help of in-built formulas. Enterprise Resource Planning (or ERP) on the other hand, is a software that has been steadily gaining momentum as an all-inclusive wonder which delivers an integrated suite of applications that can automate business functions across an organization, thus helping it work seamlessly as one unit. Since both these tools have a steady fan following, let’s take a closer look at their features to help you decide which solution will benefit your institute more:-

Microsoft Excel
For the past three decades, institutes across the world have been relying on Microsoft’s multi-tasking spreadsheets to help them navigate and track data, as well as to automatically calculate sums, averages and totals, produce graphs and charts, create budgets and forecast future performance. Excel’s widespread popularity can be attributed to its flexibility and speed, its massive capacity to perform calculations with user-friendly commands, and its ability to automatically update charts in PowerPoint. It is a convenient professional tool for analyses and statistics, and definitely a familiar software for most people.

Enterprise Resource Planning
For institutes looking to manage their business functions within a centralized and integrated system, ERP offers a comprehensive solution that helps them gather and organize business data through an integrated software suite. Everything from accounting, admissions and administration to batch management and exam scheduling can be automated under the ERP umbrella. A reliable ERP software not only gives you timely access to accurate reports, but also allows you to share relevant information across all departments, batches or branches of your institute.

ERP vs Excel
Although Excel happens to be a powerful tool to analyze and store data, it relies heavily on manual input for all its functions – thus being heavily susceptible to data entry errors and data manipulation. Different departments may rely on department specific excel sheets, thus leading to duplication and possible inconsistency of reports. An institute head might find that the data across various excel sheets are not just confusing or misleading, but may also have consumed valuable hours of his/her workforce. Moreover, a system crash or a careless sleight of hand may result in the deletion of important files, which may be hard to recover. ERP systems, on the other hand, eliminates unnecessary multiple inputs of data by providing a single, accessible source of reliable data for the entire institute to use. It is a total business management software, and not a stand-alone program like Excel. ERP applications have a much wider applicability in comparison to Excel, and allows you to co-ordinate the operations of your institute in its entirety from a central user location. An ERP application can even be installed on and accessed from a smartphone, thus allowing users the flexibility to access data real-time from anywhere in the world. Moreover, an ERP software has the ability to run smoothly and uninterruptedly without the need for any manual inputs, and gives its owner the power to control and grant access to users to view or modify data, as he/she deems fit.

It should therefore come as no surprise that advanced ERP applications are the reason that small and mid-sized organizations, especially in the field of teaching, have cropped up in these last few years, to confidently take on their more established rivals in the market. Unlike Excel, an ERP system happens to be a smart business investment for any institute looking to level the playing field with their competitors. For example, saving files locally on Excel can end up being deleted or lost, but files on an ERP software is stored in the cloud, making it a much safer (and faster!) option. Notifications are in-built into the ERP software, ensuring that you never miss an update. It also saves you time looking for the right data, which can be accessed through a well-organized dashboard, rather than spending countless minutes looking for the same file saved on Excel.

One of the most wonderful features about the ERP system is how data gets linked automatically and organized systematically within the software, thus giving you a clear workflow of projects and enabling transparency of data. While Excel poses a risk of data being manipulated by anyone with user rights to it, automatic statistics with a stipulated number of fixed fields in an ERP software ensures that the risk of changing formulas is mostly negated. Unlike Excel, an ERP system is capable of linking documents, emails, invoices and even quotations with the right contact automatically, enabling faster data access. It also enables you and your team to work on, and even track, one or more files simultaneously, thus fostering team work and productivity. In fact, a very significant aspect for institutes envisaging growing success in the future, is an ERP system’s ability to give you a simple overview of your operations and a one-shot SWOT analysis of your business, thus helping you analyze the next best move forward.

No doubt, Excel is simple enough to grasp and use, but there ends its advantage. From the standpoint of accuracy of figures and security of institute-sensitive information, to efficient running of operations and greater clarity on reliable data, ERP makes a strong case all the way through. Unlike spreadsheets, ERP applications are both time and cost efficient, and allows everyone in your institute to access and rely on the same set of data, that can be monitored by a centrally appointed user, thus ensuring that the reports and facts are current and up-to-date – which in the long run, helps those at the helm to make the right decisions at the right time!

— VANDANA DEVI SREEJITH

Coaching Class : Automate Your Fee recovery through Online Payment Gateway

Online Payment Gateway for your students to Pay course fees

Almost every coaching class or training institute spend lots of resources in scheduling and then recovering due installments of student. Student fees are mostly collected in couple of installments as per the agreement between student and respective Coaching institute.

 

This course fee for every student might have some discount, might have different payment schedule and keeping its record and then following up for their payment recovery as per decided is decently big task. This fee recovery is most important, monotonous and non value add task for coaching class and training institutes.

Every educational institute will be happy to reduce time and efforts spent on fee recovery from student. So how do we do it.

 

Answer to this question is very simple : Automate this with online payment integration.

Automate your student due fee recover through online payment gateway

Automate your student due fee recovery through an online application like Agam Edu.

What will Agam Edu will do for you is following :

  • Easier to schedule course fee installment plan for every new admission
  • Records all this Due fee installment schedule admission by admission systematically
  • Every due fee installment amount and its date is recorded systematically
  • Reminders to students and parent for their due fee installment is automatically trigger from system itself
  • Until Due fee installment is recovered from student, Agam Edu application will keep sending due fee reminders to student and parents
  • In every fee reminder notification(SMS/Email) student and parent will receive an online link. If student only clicks on this link he will be able to pay his due installment.
  • As soon as student pays his due fee installment, Student will get his/her payment receipt cum invoice. Generation of this receipt cum invoice is automatic; No manual intervention is required
  • Student payment will be reflect in application and his balance fees will reduce appropriately and automatically
  • Student login and Admin login of application will show the updated fees with reduced balance
  • Accountant can take out report of due fees and paid fees for every date range.
  • Cancelled admission due fee installment will not trigger any notification

Biggest benefit of this online fee recovery application is that : coaching classes and training institutes will save lots of resources currently occupied in fee recovery from student. Automation will reduce all the human errors. Parents can pay fees from any where at any time as per their convenience. Transparancy and standardization will be maintained across all your centres. Education institute will reduce risk of loosing post dated cheques.

 

Online Fee collection from student is sign of implementing new technology to your Coaching class or training institute. It gives big facility to your students and parents. Agam Edu keep them well aware of all the due fee schedule. Agam Edu recovers from them on time and Agam Edu get systematic report for you; All of this automatically, without manual intervention and human errors.

 

This saves your huge cost and gives better picture of your educational institute to students,parents.

 

Mode Of Online Payment for fees

Students and parents can pay due fees online by logging into Agam Edu Application. They can also pay fees online by going in their mobile application provided by Agam Edu. Students and parents also have option of paying online through a link sent to in payment reminder SMS. All of this online transaction will result to same action and student account will be credited with this paid fees and balance fee will be reduced. Also student can instantly take print of their receipt cum invoice.

 

Challenges in implementing Online payment integration with educational institute

 

For every new facility, there comes challenges. You must be aware of these challenges. Currently no online gate, no online transaction is free. Every transaction made has around 1% transaction charges and then GST on these transaction changes applicable. This 1% transaction charges goes to your payee bank, payer bank, Visa/master card provider and payment gateway integrator. All of the above parties  have their costs and margins coming from this transaction charges applied on every online payment done by student. As per RBI circular institute is to bare these online transaction charges and not to be passed on to student.