Happy 2017!

This was my experience of New Year’s Eve 2016 – watching the fireworks in Sydney with my family.  It’s always a great show, and when it was done the one thing that everyone agreed on – as we always do – was that it was even better than last year.

As the excitement of the party fades most of us start thinking more about the year ahead – the potential and opportunities it holds – and what we want to do to make the most of it.

If you are responsible for international student recruitment in your institution you may be thinking about how to increase enrollments in 2017.

If you are already using education agents you may have resolved to make more of your agent channel to recruit students.  If you’re not yet working with agents, but know the significant recruitment potential they offer, you may have decided to start building an agent network. To put both of these another way, you’ve told yourself that you will “do better at education agent management.”

It’s a good goal but it’s a bit vague.  What will you actually do to “do better” and how will you know when you have achieved success?

The experts say that serious goal setting should follow the S.M.A.R.T principle:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timed

You need a goal or resolution that ticks each of the items on that list. Here’s an idea:

“In 2017 I will implement best practice education agent management.”

But hang on, what is best practice education agent management, and why is it a goal worth achieving in the coming year?

Education Agent Management Best Practice – what is it?

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As a blogger there are few better feelings than introducing a new topic, only to realize that you have already covered it in another post.  You can see where this is going.

I recently wrote another post on Education Agent Management – what is global best practice? which – IMHO – covers the whole issue reasonably thoroughly. Hooray!

In summary:

  • Guidance on best practice has been developed in most of the main destination markets.  Each of these best practice documents is different in form, and in some respects substance, but they have a lot in common. In fact many of the documents cross reference each other.  That makes sense.  When it comes down it, the key principles of education agent best practice are, and should be, the same wherever you are in the world.
  • The agent management process has several key phases, including development of institutional strategy and policy on  the use of agents; agent identification and recruitment; agent engagement and training; and agent performance monitoring.
  • There is a lot involved in best practice education agent management. Doing it properly requires a significant investment of time and resources.
  • Our cloud based education agent management solution – Agent Manager – supports in-house teams to implement education agent management best practice.

Education Agent Management Best Practice: why is it a goal worth achieving in 2017?

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I’m not a fan of compliance for the sake of compliance.  It’s worth stopping to consider why implementing education agent management best practice is actually worth doing.

In my view it is absolutely worth doing for two reasons:

You’ll almost certainly recruit more international students through your agent channel

Education agent management best practice includes choosing right agents at the start of the process, and actively engaging with and training them. If you do that well you are all but guaranteed to increase the number of international student enrollments you get through your agent channel.

You will protect your brand, reputation and prospective international students by managing the unavoidable risks associated with using education agents.

There are significant risks in working with education agents. Most obviously, agents that behave dishonestly or unethically can damage your brand and mislead prospective international students.

Best practice education agent management requires that the risks are carefully managed. Making the right decisions when recruiting agents is important, but it’s not ‘set-and-forget’.  Ongoing monitoring of agent performance is also critical.  When you implement best practice you’ll have a system in place for making informed decision on which new agents to work with. You will also be monitoring how your agents are performing against the agreed performance standards, how actively they are engaging with the information you are providing, and what your new international students think of the agent that recruited them.

Agent Management Best Practice – it ain’t easy

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As I mentioned above, the catch with implementing education agent management best practice is that it takes time, effort and resources.

To give yourself a fighting chance of implementing best practice you need to have a good system in place that will support you and your team to implement the necessary tasks and processes.

This is where our Agent Manager solution can help. It’s a complete agent management system that:

  1. Increases enrollments through your agent channel – by making it easy for you to engage with agents regularly and give them easy access to the information and resources they need to recruit for you.
  1. Saves time for in-house recruitment teams – by making it easy to do the daily tasks involved with managing your agent network – eg updates, training, and performance monitoring.
  1. Manages risk – by giving you tools to protect your brand and reputation by monitoring agent engagement and performance.

You can find out more about it here.

 

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