Victoria University of Wellington Boosts International Student Conversion Rate by 32%, Answering More Than 500 Inquiries Within One to Two Days
 
 

Victoria University of Wellington Boosts International Student Conversion Rate by 32%, Answering More Than 500 Inquiries Within One to Two Days

Victoria University of Wellington is one of seven public universities in New Zealand. Based in Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island, the university has four campuses in that nation, and one in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses across eight faculties, including law, architecture and design, science, engineering, education, arts and humanities, business and commerce, and graduate research. The university has 21,000 students—18,000 local students and 3,000 international students from 10 countries.

Victoria University of Wellington wanted to grow its international student population, specifically for postgraduate courses. To achieve this goal, the university needed to efficiently manage hundreds of inquiries from potential and international students. It implemented a suite of Oracle RightNow products to establish a single, cloud-based student management system to improve the speed and quality of responses to student inquiries, and better plan and execute new marketing strategies to recruit more international students.

The university can now respond to 560 student inquiries per week, each within one to two days, compared to four to six days previously. It has also reduced the number of inquiries it has to respond to by 25%, by establishing knowledge pages to provide students with searchable information online. More targeted recruitment campaigns have enabled the university to increase the international student conversion rate by 32%—from 37% in 2005, to 49% in 2011.

 
Improved Student Engagement Through a Single Management System

A word from Victoria University of Wellington

  • “We considered Salesforce.com, but decided to go with Oracle RightNow, as it is a flexible cloud-based solution that can help us achieve our marketing and recruitment goals and provide better student services. We can now respond to more than 500 inquiries each week, each within one to two days, and have increased our international student conversion rate by 32%.” – Charles Brooks, eMarketing Coordinator, Victoria University of Wellington

A large proportion of Victoria University of Wellington’s international student population was sourced from local high schools. However, numbers of locally-sourced international students dropped, the university launched a new enrollment strategy to directly recruit students from overseas markets.

To support the strategy, the university needed to update its international student office systems and processes to meet an expected increase in the number of inquiries. It also needed to introduce new communication platforms to better engage prospective students and manage the complete student life cycle. In 2005, it implemented Oracle RightNow App Builder Custom Objects Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow CX Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Dynamic Agent Desktop Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Knowledge Foundation Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Web Self Service Cloud Service, and Oracle RightNow Outreach Cloud Service, to build a cloud-based student management system, and enable the rollout of new recruitment initiatives.

“The Oracle RightNow cloud-based solution allows performing day-to-day office tasks more efficiently by eliminating manually intensive paper processes,” said Charles Brooks, emarketing coordinator, Victoria University of Wellington. “We have been able to reinvest the administration savings in new recruitment projects to grow our international student numbers.”

 
560 Student Inquiries Responded to per Week

 
Customized E-mails Address Students’ Specific Concerns

 
50% of Customized E-mails Opened, 15% Click-Through Rate

 
32% Increase in the International Student Conversion Rate

 
Increased Innovation Through Automated Processes

 
 

 
 

Challenges

  • Support a marketing strategy to grow the number of students from overseas, rather than relying on locally sourced international students from New Zealand high schools
  • Update systems and processes to efficiently track and manage inquiries from prospective international students
  • Manage the complete student life cycle
  • Provide multiple communication channels to better engage with prospective students

Solutions

  • Replied to 560 inquiries per week, with each inquiry answered within one to two days, compared to four to six days, previously
  • Increased the international student conversion rate by 32%—from 37% in 2005 to 49% in 2011—by delivering highly targeted information based on the prospect’s interests and attributes
  • Tracked and managed 100 inquiries per day, across 20 general subject areas without the need for a dedicated contact team to answer course-specific questions
  • Reduced the number of general student inquiries by 25%, by establishing knowledge pages, so students can look for information themselves
  • Achieved close to a 50% e-mail-open rate and a 15% click-through rate by customizing e-mails to cater for different markets and student needs
  • Developed more targeted marketing by generating up to 34,000 customized e-mails per year to 10,000 prospective students across 110 countries, rather than sending bulk e-mails
  • Halved the amount of bulk e-mail activity, focusing instead on innovative online and social media recruitment strategies that are more effective at engaging students
  • Gained the ability to track prospects over time and mix-and-match content to create highly individualized messages that touch on each prospect’s likely concerns
  • Enabled trigger messages to be sent, based on any number of conditions, such as customized reminders to students whose applications are late
  • Improved staff efficiency by automating paper processes, freeing them to focus on tailored responses that better support recruitment strategies
  • Maintained a steady headcount, despite a rise in the number of inquiries, and reduced the need to hire temporary staff during peak periods
  • Reduced staffing, outsourcing marketing, and international mail costs by automating recruitment processes

Why Oracle

Victoria University of Wellington considered a number of solutions, including Salesforce.com, but it decided on Oracle RightNow, as it provides a flexible, cloud-based solution, suitable for the education market.

“Oracle was the right choice, as it allows us to grow and customize our student management system to meet our changing needs,” said Brooks. “We are close to achieving our international recruitment goals and are providing quality service to current and prospective international students—and Oracle has helped us to do this.”

Implementation Process

Victoria University of Wellington engaged Oracle Partner Datam (now the CX Applications and Consulting business within New Zealand Post) to implement the Oracle RightNow platform. Over a three-year period, starting at the end of 2004, the two organizations implemented Oracle RightNow App Builder Custom Objects Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow CX Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Dynamic Agent Desktop Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Knowledge Foundation Cloud Service, Oracle RightNow Web Self Service Cloud Service, and Oracle RightNow Outreach Cloud Service.

Oracle RightNow CX Cloud Service was the first to be implemented and went live at the beginning of 2005. In the same year the university launched Oracle RightNow Outreach Cloud Service and Oracle RightNow Knowledge Foundation Cloud Service to support the marketing function. In 2007, it leveraged RightNow’s opportunity tracking sales functionality to manage international admissions, and most recently implemented Oracle RightNow App Builder Custom Objects Cloud Service to customize customer services and processes.

All projects to date have been delivered on time and to budget.

Partner

  • Oracle Partner
    Datam (now the CX Applications and Consulting business within New Zealand Post)

Datam provided Victoria University of Wellington with implementation support, consultation, and training. The university has partnered with Datam New Zealand since 2005.

“Datam provided us with the expertise and support we needed to develop a flexible student management system,” said Brooks. “It is experienced in implementing large-scale, cloud-based projects, and is an essential business partner.”