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Is a Higher Education Call Center Right for My Institution?

Is your admissions team unable to get to prospective student leads quickly enough? Or does the outreach strategy need improvement? Are you struggling to hit your enrollment goals and looking for ways to improve admissions conversions?

If so, partnering with a higher education call center could be exactly what you need. But how do you know if it’s the right answer to the issues you’re facing?

In this article, you’ll discover answers to the most common questions admissions leaders like you ask about higher ed call centers, such as:

  • What is a higher education call center and what services are provided?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • How much does a higher education call center cost?

After reading, you’ll better understand whether partnering with a higher education call center is the right solution for your enrollment challenges.

What Is a Higher Education Call Center and What Services Are Provided?

A higher education contact center is a partner that solely focuses on working with colleges and universities to grow enrollment and address admissions challenges. They accomplish this by collaborating directly with your admissions team to act as a true extension of your brand.

Primary Services

The primary services for a contact center relate to the “point of transition” - or how far you want your call center partner to take the students through the process before transitioning them to your internal team. The two most common transition points for admissions teams are Upon Qualification and Upon Completed Application.

Qualification services focus on real-time contact and qualification of prospective students. When appropriate, the contact center will transition interested, qualified leads back to your institution. This is typically done via warm transfer or by scheduling an appointment with your admissions team or an advisor.

Completed Application services include real-time contact qualification and maintaining the relationship until after the application and required admissions materials are collected. This allows the institution to make an admissions decision on the applicants, and then transition to your internal team typically occurs once the university admits a student.

Optional Service Add-Ons

Some higher ed contact centers offer optional services on top of their monthly retainer for contacting your prospective students. Add-on services can include:

  • Website chat support
  • Inbound call/text support
  • Aged lead strategy and outreach

Exploring these additional admissions outreach services can provide you with a more tailored solution and further alleviate your enrollment challenges.

What Are the Benefits of a Higher Ed Contact Center?

When considering ways to increase enrollment numbers and support your admissions team, you may wonder: “Why would I choose a higher education contact center over another type of solution?”

There are three major benefits that admissions leaders like you appreciate about higher ed contact centers:

  1. Tailored for Higher Education Admissions Conversations - Due to the sole focus on working with institutions like yours, a higher ed contact center has staff who are intimately familiar with admissions processes and language.
  2. Specialized Team Commitment - Enrollment Builders uses a dedicated staffing model, meaning your institution benefits from a specialized team exclusively assigned to your brand. Unlike a typical call center where agents may juggle many clients, your dedicated team’s singular focus ensures they are deeply integrated with your admissions process and brand identity, enhancing the consistency and quality of student interactions.
  3. Relationship-Focused Student Experience - Using proven contact cadence strategies and multiple mediums, a contact center engages with each prospective student in a way that feels personalized to them. The hand-off experience from the contact center to your team is seamless for every prospect so they feel a consistent connection to your institution from inquiry to enrollment.

What Are the Drawbacks of a Higher Ed Contact Center?

When you consider working with a higher education contact center, it’s also important to acknowledge potential drawbacks.

The main drawbacks to be aware of when considering a higher ed contact center are:

  1. Operational Hours - Unlike traditional call centers who may have availability 24/7, a contact center with a dedicated staffing model engages prospective students during specific high-impact hours. These hours typically align with when your admissions team is available, allowing for effective collaboration with your team and a seamless experience for prospective students. Night and/or weekend hours can be added at an adjusted cost.
  2. Price - A higher education contact center can be more expensive than a traditional call center due to its unique specialization, dedicated agents, and use of multiple communication channels.

How Much Does a Call Center Cost for Higher Education Institutions?

On average, a monthly retainer with a higher education call center costs between $8,000 - $30,000 depending on several factors, including:

  • Type of Call Center
  • Point of Transition
  • Operational Hours
  • Monthly Lead Volume
  • Implementation Fees
  • Service Add-Ons

To learn more about these factors and how they influence the cost, read the full article: How Much Does a Call Center Cost for a University or College?

Who Is a Higher Education Contact Center a Good Fit For?

Now that you know the answers to the most common questions about higher education contact centers, let’s revisit who could benefit from their services. Partnering with a higher ed contact center could be a valuable investment for your institution if:

  • You only want your team to focus on interested, pre-qualified leads
  • Your team struggles to convert leads into qualified applicants
  • You need an out-of-the-box effective admissions team that you can scale up/down with lead volume

If that sounds like your current situation, it’s time to find the right call center for your institution. But with so many options, how do you even begin to decide which is best?

To prepare for meaningful conversations when comparing potential vendors, read the article: