Creating the User Experience with ‘Constituent’ Care
Shaya Phillips’ business on-boards about 3,800 new customers each year – and most start within the same few days. That’s in addition to serving a base of about 11,000 customers who carryover annually.
The new customers are freshmen and first-year graduate school students at Fordham University, a private New York City Liberal Arts school where competition for admission is fierce, academic excellence is a given, and personal attention is expected.
The challenge for Shaya and his IT team is to make sure these customers have what they need when they need it, and to track their journey through college life and beyond.
Fordham, which also operates graduate schools and a law school, depends on Sugar and its integrations to ensure it has a complete view of its students.
“We call them constituents – our students, parents, alumni and others who interact with us – and we use CRM to manage those constituent relationships,” says Shaya, associate vice president for Information Technology.
Modern CRM Focuses on Customers
By using a modern approach to CRM – one that has evolved beyond sales tracking and marketing and instead focuses on customers – Shaya and his team have put constituent experience at the heart of the university’s efforts.
“We track students throughout the whole system. We recruit them, maintain them, give them the best customer service possible through graduation and keep them informed as alumni,” says Shaya.
“We build a relationship from beginning to end and establish that relationship not just with the student but with the extended family; a relationship that fosters giving and helps build a reputation as one of the nation’s best universities,” he adds.
Because of some easily written application program interfaces (APIs), Fordham officials can see a complete picture of a student or graduate without leaving the Sugar platform: transcripts, completed courses, required courses, academic standing, advisor notes, expected graduation date – even passport status.
“A lot of what we learn and collect with Sugar helps us to target students at different stages in their education. We can see what courses they take, when did they pay, if they are at risk: actionable information that helps us serve our constituents,” Shaya says.
“Sugar has made a great different in the ways our users work with our constituents,” he says. “It has empowered our users in ways we never thought about because we can make constituent lives better and easier with the way they interact with the university.”