THE STUDENT CUSTOMER JOURNEY
➡ how and where students look for a university (program)
➡ critical factors influencing their ...
Background of the survey1
Search process2
Customer Journey: Zero Moment of Truth3
User Behavior & Trends4
Student Customer...
Background of the survey1
WHY we did it? To understand how we can create value.
We want to share our insights on the new e...
#1 stage
BROWSE
50+ universities
#2 stage
NARROW IT DOWN
15-25 programs
#3 stage
DETAILED RESEARCH
10 programs
(pre-)decsi...
Search Engines: „general
keywords" (e.g. HR Master
Spain)
Study Guides & Fairs: get
inspiration
Rankings: form of
credibil...
Search for social proof:
search for university + program
name
Reviews, recommendations
& rankings:
- Blogs, Forums
- Searc...
Why do students „ask the web“ (#3 stage) AFTER visiting
your website?
not because you don’t provide the
information they a...
First Moment of Truth: Original Concept by Procter & Gamble, 2005
Zero Moment of Truth: Google, 2011
Illustration: http://...
https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interviews/winning-the-zero-moment-of-truth-ratings-and-reviews-word-of-mot.html
https://w...
User Behavior & Trends4
Student Customer Journey: complexity increases.
93% of customers inform themselves online before p...
The search process follows a certain pattern and depending on the stage
different channels and different information are rel...
The right information. At the right time.
Accreditations
However, the majority of students did not remember the individual...
Information relevant for decision
List of the most important student questions
Content
Syllabus: what will I learn?
Can I ...
Student Customer Journey5
= take a walk in your prospects’ shoes to identify & improve gaps in performance
Touchpoint
Web ...
Do-it-yourself test. Take action.6
Feedback about the customer journey: Ask a few students about their touch-
points. (You...
Conclusion7
1
2
3
The power of reviews & recommendations. Digital social proof & electronic word-
of-mouth.
Your online re...
Feel free to contact us for further questions!
Verena Maria Mai, MSc
verena@learningplaces.net
+43 650 3663529
Christoph T...
google: Winning the ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth):

https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interviews/winning-the-zero-moment-of-tr...
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Student customer journey

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https://studentjourney.setmore.com/resourcebookingpage/re9071431087151954
& get more detailed insights and ask specific questions from your university's perspective!

How students search for and decide for a university has grown more complex: the search process and the consulted channels have multiplied.

Learning Places conducted a study among 86 students (business; interested in pursuing a Master) to observe how they search, where they search and what they search for when deciding for a study program.

We discovered that the search process follows a pattern (4 stages):
- Browse universities (50+ programs)
- Narrow down the option (15-25 programs)
- Detailed Research: Compare (10 programs)
- (Pre-)Decision: Apply (on average 5 programs)

However, not all the touch points are considered equally relevant for the final decision.

The university of the future needs to attract top-talent in a rapidly changing market and needs to manage the information that impacts the future students' decision.

But: most of the time you are not even aware that potential students make decisions about you. Google calls this "The Zero Moment of Truth" - customers researching about you on the internet before they decide to buy a service.

How do students consider university rankings, accreditations, search engines, online portals and the direct contact with universities?

We want to provide you an insight into what we found out.
And input on how you can identify the customer journey your students have had as well as a check-list on how to find room for improvement.

We would be very happy to have your feedback about it!

Publicado en: Educación

Student customer journey

  1. 1. THE STUDENT CUSTOMER JOURNEY ➡ how and where students look for a university (program) ➡ critical factors influencing their decision ➡ trends in user behavior The customer journey has grown more complex: the search process and the consulted information channels have multiplied Crucial to understand in order to know where your efforts will have the biggest impact Education is a highly- involved decision and one that requires many different touch points on the way. COMPLEXITY IMPACT TOUCH POINTS
  2. 2. Background of the survey1 Search process2 Customer Journey: Zero Moment of Truth3 User Behavior & Trends4 Student Customer Journey5 Do-it-yourself test. Take action.6 Conclusion7
  3. 3. Background of the survey1 WHY we did it? To understand how we can create value. We want to share our insights on the new education decision journey. For Universities: During talks with university representatives we noticed their interest in our findings. While many universities ask their own (current) students no comparison with other students is possible. - the search process itself - channels and their power of influence - information needs - trends in user behavior What we researched How we researched - Qualitative interviews with 86 students ๏ Master students in the business field ๏ last year of a (business) bachelor program looking for a master ๏ or recently (last 12months) decided for a master PROFILE: very ambitious, relevant work experience (2 or more internships), international, concerned with master decision Who is NOT our target group: - bachelor or PhD students (show significantly different criteria in their study choice) - students from other fields (no tech, natural sciences, etc.) Who? TARGET GROUP
  4. 4. #1 stage BROWSE 50+ universities #2 stage NARROW IT DOWN 15-25 programs #3 stage DETAILED RESEARCH 10 programs (pre-)decsion Apply to 5 Search process2 HIGHLY IMPORTANT The search process is divided into 3 stages and the (pre-) decision. Stage #3 is the most important stage with high influence on the decision. The next 2 slides illustrate the search process in greater detail - how students search and what needs they have in every stage.
  5. 5. Search Engines: „general keywords" (e.g. HR Master Spain) Study Guides & Fairs: get inspiration Rankings: form of credibility (mostly FT) Friends & family: experiences/suggestions Online Portals: browse options #1 stage BROWSE NEEDS Research options:
 what’s available & fits my general criteria? 50+ universities University website: programs & application requirements Social media presence (especially videos) #2 stage NARROW IT DOWN NEEDS Detailed information:
 1. Application requirements, program start, deadlines 2. Details on programs
 Content. Teaching. Reputation. Preparation for Job. Internationality.15-25 programs
  6. 6. Search for social proof: search for university + program name Reviews, recommendations & rankings: - Blogs, Forums - Search Engines (long-tail keywords) - Alumni - Campus Visits - Rankings/Accreditations #3 stage DETAILED RESEARCH NEEDS Compare & Consult:
 Do they keep what they promise? 10 programs (pre-) decision Often: accepted to multiple universities - process not finished! Apply to 5
  7. 7. Why do students „ask the web“ (#3 stage) AFTER visiting your website? not because you don’t provide the information they are looking for but because they don’t entirely trust the information you provide 87%of students said they don’t trust the university’s website completely and seek verification from an external source. (2) (2) Survey: The Student Customer Journey, Learning Places 2015(1) Nielson Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q3 2011 96%of Students look for reviews about the university/the program online (2) To what extend do people trust the following form of advertising? 0 25 50 75 100 33%36% 58% 70% 92% Recommen- dations from people I know Consumer opinions posted online Branded Websites Social Media Ads Online Banner Ads (1)
  8. 8. First Moment of Truth: Original Concept by Procter & Gamble, 2005 Zero Moment of Truth: Google, 2011 Illustration: http://www.hadeninteractive.com/the-zero-moment-of-truth/ Customer Journey: Zero Moment of Truth3 Search Watch Videos Read Reviews Ask your network
  9. 9. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interviews/winning-the-zero-moment-of-truth-ratings-and-reviews-word-of-mot.html https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/collections/zero-moment-truth.html(1) (2) 2012 study conducted by Google and market analysts Compete Survey: The Student Customer Journey, Learning Places 2015(3) Google, Nielson: 2011(4) KEY FACTS: Zero Moment of Truth The Internet has changed how we decide what to buy A new purchase-habit: Zero-Moment-of Truth = online decision-making moment (1) 9 in 10 enrolled students research universities online (2) FMOT greatly displaced by ZMOT: students making decisions based on their initial online research 87% of students said they don’t trust the university’s website completely and seek verification from an external source. (3) 32% of students apply to six schools or more. (3) 40% of education search queries: on a mobile device. (4) 4x increased use of videos by education seekers to gather information about schools (2011-2012) (2)
  10. 10. User Behavior & Trends4 Student Customer Journey: complexity increases. 93% of customers inform themselves online before purchasing a product/service. (1) 10.4 sources influence the purchase decision.(1) 92% trust recommendations from friends. 70% trust customer opinions posted online. (2) 87% of students said they don’t entirely trust the university’s website. (3) (1) Ipsos, our mobile planet, May 2013 (2) Nielson Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Q3 2011 (3) Survey: The Student Customer Journey, Learning Places 2015 50% of youtube videos: watched on a mobile. (2) 50% of search queries: on a mobile. (2) 150 times/day: how often a persons look at mobile.(2) Shift to MOBILE
  11. 11. The search process follows a certain pattern and depending on the stage different channels and different information are relevant to students decision The right information. At the right time. The role of Search Engines: at the beginning & the end of the search FT Ranking(s): Are you ranked? NOT: which rank! #1 stage general search terms like „Human Resource Master UK“, „Entrepreneurship MBA part-time“ (field/discipline in combination with a specific set of requirements) or questions as a whole „reviews + [university name] + [program name]“ „recommendations + [university name] + [program name]“ „how is it like to study at [university name]“ „what jobs can I get after studying [program name]“ „should I choose [university X] or [university Y] #3 stage specific (so called long-tail keywords) 100% of students knew the ranking(s) 34% said it played a role in their decision —> if university was listed (not rank itself) —> „It shows some sign of credibility“ „Future employers might have a look at it“ Which stage of search? European Business Schools: at beginning to identify popular universities (lack: no information on a specific program) Finance & Management Ranking: in later stage again 82% didn’t know the underlying criteria Survey: The Student Customer Journey, Learning Places 2015
  12. 12. The right information. At the right time. Accreditations However, the majority of students did not remember the individual names, could not differ between them or knew the underlying methodology. Online Portals: #1 STAGE Students are hardly aware of the name of these portals - find them while using search engines. The main usage is the „database function“: get an overview and filter. None of the students used them in further process - no added value in terms of content; mainly „copy & paste“ from the university’s website. Usability weaknesses: user experience, design and navigation rated low. 32% of students know the concept of accreditations (AACSB, EQUIS and/or AMBA) 46% of students come across online portals Contact with universities: low before application Search Process: Stage #2 & Stage #3 The majority only contacts a university if questions arise that cannot be answered with help of the university website/the internet. Main reasons for not reaching out to universities: - afraid it sheds a bad light on them in the further application process if they ask something that they could have found out themselves - feel as if they would bother university - prefer to stay anonymous 17% of students seek contact before applying Survey: The Student Customer Journey, Learning Places 2015
  13. 13. Information relevant for decision List of the most important student questions Content Syllabus: what will I learn? Can I choose electives? How does it relate to my future jobs? Teaching Who is going to teach me? Will it be interactive? What background do my profs have? What will the interaction in class be like? How many students will be in my class? How do I get assessed? Are there connections to companies, case studies other practical projects? Job Prospects What are my career prospects afterwards? Which companies are recruiting? Is there a career center - which services are offered? Can I write my thesis for a company? Which career paths are other alumni pursuing now? How strong is the alumni network? How is the program perceived by future employers? Internationality How many internationals will be in my class? How is the mixture of nationalities? (From which countries, how many different ones?) Is there the opportunity to go abroad? Does the university have partner universities? Are double degrees offered? Interestingly, student life (associations, extracurricular activities, student city, ..) and university infrastructure (learning areas, library resources, classrooms, ..) were considered but not relevant for choosing one university over the other.
  14. 14. Student Customer Journey5 = take a walk in your prospects’ shoes to identify & improve gaps in performance Touchpoint Web search (search engines) University/ Program Website Rankings Attended Fairs Online Portals Recommendatio ns from friends & family Online Comments (Reviews, Blogs, Forums) Interaction with admission Experience Found out about program over study guide. Specifically searched for university. Difficult to find the price. Application procedure not clear. Great pictures. Looked at FT ranking. University was listed - can’t remember rank. First contact with university at „Master & More“ exhibition Used at the beginning Did not know anyone who studied there Searching for reviews - would have been important; no quality ones found Called - friendly & informative, E- Mail: took 3 days to answer Importance for decision 1 5 3 4 2 4 3 4 1 2 3 Understand your personas The audience you are most likely to attract and convert. Identify university-student touchpoints: Use this report as a starting point. include specific points, e.g. your social media channels. How do students hear about your school, research it, engage online and contact you? (We recommend qualitative interviews.) Feedback on interaction and information sources: What resources have they accessed? Which points were critical for decision & at which stage of the search process?
  15. 15. Do-it-yourself test. Take action.6 Feedback about the customer journey: Ask a few students about their touch- points. (You can include: who was looking for reviews or would have liked them.) Ask students that you admitted but didn’t enroll. (Be aware who in your team/externally completes the task.) How many clicks does someone need on your website to find ๏ application requirements & deadlines (best case: on one page/closely linked) ๏ the program descriptions? Have you covered the essentials about your programs: content, teaching, preparation for job, internationality? (see slide: info relevant to decision) If you want to connect with your students: How inviting is it? Do you mention the name, picture, office hours of contact person? Do you know your online reputation if you google your school/ the individual programs and what is said about you on forums, social media? ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
  16. 16. Conclusion7 1 2 3 The power of reviews & recommendations. Digital social proof & electronic word- of-mouth. Your online reputation crucially impacts the assumed value. The Zero-Moment of Truth makes it more difficult to reach your audience before they decide. ➡ NEED: Trustworthy information that’s relevant for students’ decision. Quick, gamified & simple - the most important info: Search for suitable programs needs to be more fun. An increasing shift to mobile. New way of scanning through options quickly. ➡ NEED: Instead of having all information - having the most relevant information. On a mobile. Tools that are in line with changing customer behavior. Wish to interact with current or other future students. Especially figuring out who in my network has been at this university or knows someone from there. "The key is to engage potential students in the right mindsets, on the right channels, and to enable them to experience all the great things your school has to offer.“
  17. 17. Feel free to contact us for further questions! Verena Maria Mai, MSc verena@learningplaces.net +43 650 3663529 Christoph Trost, BA christoph@learningplaces.net +43 664 9142613 www.learningplaces.net
  18. 18. google: Winning the ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth): https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interviews/winning-the-zero-moment-of-truth-ratings-and-reviews- word-of-mot.html Additional Resources Gartner (2015): Digital Education Movement: Tap into the extended education ecosystem to improve the student college selection process Gartner (2014): Digital Education Moment: The Enrollment Opportunity Gartner (2013): The Coming of Age for CRM in Higher Education google analytics - but be aware of your metrix (long page visits may also be a sign that your visitors are lost) interesting combination with google Attribution Modeling Tool google: The customer journey to online purchase in jobs & education https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/tools/customer-journey-to-online-purchase.html tracking of mouse-movements of your visitors: http://www.crazyegg.com

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