There are some audiences which can be hard to reach and engage with, when you need to ensure your message is being seen this can be a problem, especially if you have deadlines to meet. Oonagh Bell from Queen’s University Belfast explains why SMS was the perfect solution to meet registration deadlines amongst busy students.
- Ensure students register within deadline
- Find communication method that works for both the university and the students
- Save time chasing students to register
The Student Registry Service at Queen’s University Belfast manage a number of core services for 24,000 students. In order to manage these services effectively, it’s important that students register on their Student Information System.
In 2014 over 300,000 emails were sent to students but still many students missed important deadlines for enrolment, examinations and graduation. Oonagh needed to find a much more reliable communication method.
Following on from research with the students and taking into account past experiences email communication; the team felt text message alerts to the students would be far more beneficial. As the majority of students had a smartphone, Oonagh knew that they could include a URL link to the Student Information system to make the process efficient for students.
Oonagh tells us “While email is relatively inexpensive, but proving more ineffective each year, and as we needed to send approximately 60,000 text message reminders we were concerned about costing. After doing some research and trying out the FireText system, not only was it exactly what we were looking for, it also offered the best value for money.”
Oonagh and her team have now started sending their registration reminders by text message to students. They are able to reach students instantly by SMS, the open rates are significantly higher and more students are engaging and registering within the deadline.
“Registration is now open! Log into your QSIS account now to complete your registration wizard https://qsis.qub.ac.uk. Need help? Pop into our Drop In Centre at the MBC between 10 – 4pm. #HereToHelp”
Using FireText has enhanced the registration process for Queen’s University Belfast, whilst the investment is more than email, it saves on valuable time and staff resources and has provided the results than email never could.
Oonagh explains; As soon as we send out a text message to students, the numbers for the service they are registering for increases straight away. For example, we sent out a text message to all returning undergraduate students during enrolment & registration advising them that the registration wizard was open and they had to register. Within one hour over 500 returning undergraduate students had completed registration.