Digitalization of the International Department of the university. Telemarketing scripts
Continuing the series of materials in Education Export Magazine on the digitalization of a international department of the university, in this issue we will consider the implementation of scripts in the work of employees who process applicants' requests (materials on the topic of tools and CRM are available in previous issues of the magazine).

By processing we mean telemarketing, audio communication with the applicant (a phone call). Telemarketing is the main tool in many areas of business that allows you to convey to the client the necessary amount of information that will affect the decision they make (banking services, Internet service providers, real estate agencies, etc.). After all, there is no better tool for communication than a live dialogue, during which you can solve many issues that accompany the purchase of your service. But why should a university use a tool that came from business? Actually, it is not exactly necessary. We are well aware that 90% of Russian universities are state-owned, which means that they exist at the expense of budget funds and must adhere to a certain model of the organization's work. In addition, having the status of a higher educational institution, the university should be based on an academic approach and put knowledge at the forefront. But this approach to business processes in the context of the global education market does not give a noticeable result from activities aimed at attracting attention to the educational brand of the university and leading to a planned increase in the number of students from year to year. I think it would be great if the international department of the university could form a team of 2–3 people responsible only for processing incoming applications from foreign applicants (a small-sales department by analogy with a business structure). Employees should not be distracted by working with current international students and solving their issues, not looking for options for academic mobility, and, moreover, not combining their main responsibility with teaching, which takes a lot of time and energy. I know examples of universities where a similar model has already been implemented and gives certain results.

By the way, if you are worried about your status and think that the university can not take and call its applicants, remember-we are talking about those applicants who voluntarily provided their contact details after seeing advertising/information on the Internet or participated in an educational exhibition. And if you try walking in the shoes of such an applicant, you would like to get a call from the university that interests you and get consulted in detail, about admission. I would not think: "What kind of university is this that can call each of its applicants?". I would be pleased that it found an opportunity and paid attention to my personal request. And since the volume of the received leads can be large, they could be successfully processed and converted into a result by a small group of international service employees who are engaged only in this activity.

To begin with, let me remind you what a script is and what it is for. A script is a template for a conversation with a client in various situations, where replicas, ways of developing the conversation, objections of the client, etc. are pre-written. With scripts, you can create a knowledge base for new employees who need to be introduced to the functionality and responsibilities. The script should always be based on logic which has a goal, so that at the end of the communication, the applicant already understands that he needs to make a decision and give you a primary answer.
Using this scheme for outbound telemarketing, you can quickly and efficiently organize the processing of any volume of applications and achieve the desired result. Naturally, this scheme is general, not universal. But you can use it as a template to create great scripts for different situations. Using the QR code, you can download an example of a ready-made script for this template, and use it to create your own successful script for communicating with foreign applicants.
Nikita Strelchuk
Director for Academic Relations of Education Export Center
When developing a script on your own, I suggest that you rely on the following scheme:

Block #1 — Greeting and collecting information

The very first stage of the conversation is to correctly introduce yourself, explain where the applicant's request was received from and clarify whether it is convenient for the person to talk. It is very important to be friendly in the dialogue with the applicant, to approach communication with the understanding that he does not owe you anything and just try to make the conversation positive. An applicant can always feel it, so it is wrong to call a stranger in a bad mood and count on the result of such communication. At the end of this block, it is necessary to make up the first idea about the applicant: where are they from, what degree they have, what areas of training they are considering, whether they have any non-standard wishes.

The party that made the outgoing call has to lead it. The person who answered the call may not immediately understand what is going on and tell something about themselves and their needs. In order for a person to be ready to answer questions, you need to use phrases like this: "Eugene, let me ask you a few clarifying questions so that we can advise you in more detail, and offer you the best conditions for training, okay?"

Properly collected information will reduce the employee's time to talk in the next block.

Block #2 — Presentation

After receiving the answers to the main questions and analyzing them, you can proceed to the presentation of the main options for admission. The offer must be based on the information received from the applicant in order to interest him. For example, if you managed to find out that the applicant is completing college in Uzbekistan, professionally engaged in sports, wants to study law full-time, you need to go to the presentation of the Faculty of Law and tell in detail about the sports component of the educational process and the opportunities to represent the university at competitions. Without collecting enough information in the previous section, you run the risk of starting to list all the available areas of training, talking about things that are not interesting for the applicant. The presentation should not last more than 3–5 minutes, it should contain interesting information about the university with a description of its competitive advantages.

Block #3— Working with questions and objections

After a successful presentation of the faculty that suits the applicant, you need to move on to the questions from the applicant. At this stage, an interested person will ask questions about the cost of training, the deadline for submitting documents, etc. If they have no questions, you need to briefly inform them of this information. If you feel that the applicant has any doubts, but they do not express them doubts, it is better to ask what does not suit them or what are the objections to admission. This will make sure that the applicant considers your university as one of the real options for studying.

Block #4 — Finishing the consultation

At the end of the conversation, it will be clear whether the applicant refuses the offer or wants to think about it. In the first case, you can agree to send additional information and contacts for communication, and if they change their mind or understand that one of their friends and family would like to enroll, they can apply again. In the second case, it is necessary to agree on further actions. Send them the necessary information, instructions for admission, contacts, so that you can get in touch in case of questions. And most importantly, you need to agree on the exact date of the next call, so that you can ask about the final decision of the applicant. And be sure to call them back at the appointed day and hour.

Nikita Strelchuk is the Director for Academic Relations of Education Export Center. Graduated from one of the leading Russian universities in the field of Management and is specialized in managing projects. His main professional interest is entrepreneurial approach to the work of academic institutions.