TAFE Queensland South West – managing the student enquiry and feedback loop


The Challenge

Serving the growing training needs of Brisbane’s expanding population in the southwest corridor, TAFE Queensland South West (TAFE QLD SW) needed a better way to engage with their students, the community, and the industry. With 11,000 full-time students and 450 staff, this was no mean feat.

These were the areas that TAFE QLD SW needed to work on:

  • The newly established Corporate Business Development Unit needed an integrated sales and marketing system to build its fee for service business.
  • Customer Service Centre wanted to quickly and efficiently capture and track student engagement and make it easier for students to obtain course information and enrol
  • Further, institute stakeholders trying to win business for TAFE QLD SW were frustrated due to a lack of organisational knowledge about the relationship between the institute and its customers; be they corporate clients, workplace trainers or single-subscriber students.
TAFE Queensland SW
Time To read

In this environment, existing customer information was spread across the organisation and mostly contained in spreadsheets, Access databases, or on paper. This system posed several challenges:

  • No central repository
  • No consistent way of tracking customer enquiries and
  • No way of co-relating enquiries to enrolments, marketing efforts, or student demand for the courses available.

What TAFE QLD SW Institute needed was a well-conceived Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy; a user-friendly, easy to customise and maintain, value for money system and a blueprint for implementation.

Considering the Alternatives

With a draft set of requirements, TAFE QLD SW knew they’d need to engage specialised, independent industry expertise to assess and articulate the how, when, and where of their CRM implementation.

We chose ECLEVA because of their experience and expertise in Education. ECLEVA had already successfully installed CRM at similar institutions. Their references were impeccable.

– Garth O’Mara

Working with key stakeholders, ECLEVA held a series of workshops to qualify TAFE QLD SW’s state of readiness. This included a review of their status and key environmental considerations for a successful deployment of the new Customer Management System. High-level user and technical requirements were presented and CRM hotspots identified. ECLEVA presented a CRM Solution Map aligned to the Institute’s project goals with clear recommendations about how to proceed, a viable timetable and estimated costs.

The ECLEVA Readiness report identifed CRM Hotspots, which provided quick wins to engage and empower staff. It was thought that giving staff a level of autonomy with the new system would encourage them to use the system and embrace the resulting changes to their work practices. ECLEVA was confident that the deployment of a well-conceived and well implemented CRM strategy would result in a more consistent and systematic approach to customers, increase enrolments, provide better decision making information and give staff greater job satisfaction.

Importantly, ECLEVA found that TAFE QLD SW’s requirements were sufficiently clear and concise not to warrant a pilot deployment. ECLEVA recommended a phased roll-out, tracking experiences to maximize the benefit of phase 1 experiences in the subsequent phases that would go onto embrace Contact Management, Correspondence Tracking and Distribution, Data Migration, Activity Management, Campaign Management and Enquiry Management.

Powering Through the Project

Backed by the hearty endorsement from TAFE QLD SW executive and the CRM team, ECLEVA set about crafting the precise configuration of the Customer Management system.

Of specific importance to the configuration was the consistent focus on the underlying business drivers

  • Close the customer enquiry and feedback loop.
  • Improve customer accountability and visibility at various levels throughout TAFE QLD SW.
  • Manage the multitude of Customer Touch-points, including electronic and more manual channels.

TAFE QLD SW had 6 months to deploy their CRM strategy and re-engineer its business processes to prepare for the next student recruitment cycle. Commencing in June, the ECLEVA Readiness Report was completed by August. Configuration commenced in November with user training early in December ready for a Go Live later that month.

The Outcome

The combination of a robust system, usability and an enthusiastic team meant that come January enrolment, TAFE QLD SW handled a peak of 8,000 enquiries with next day dispatch of requested information.

We can now track leads to enrolments. We now have quality data upon which to make informed decisions regarding our curriculum.

– Julie Poole, Customer Service Manager

The new system is distributed to all faculties with 55 power users across the Institute. Facility Administration uses the system to track their individual contacts. As was originally intended, the Customer Service Centre is now the main customer enquiry “go-to” point within the institute and the funnel through which all enquiries are processed.

There is a growing trust between the Faculties and Customer Service now they’re confident we’re responding to all enquiries in a consistent and reliable way.

– Julie Poole, Customer Service Manager

“The system is so flexible and open,” says TAFE QLD SW CRM specialist. “We’re considering using it as a toolkit for a number of other requirements. The framework and technology makes it easy to integrate with our other systems.”

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