I recently posted about the common problem of inactive education agents, and what to do about them.
In that earlier post I focused on the opportunity cost of inactive education agents – the time and resources that an institution invests for no return.
It’s why I said that educational institutions that work with education agents should systematically identify and terminate their agreements with any inactive education agents on their list.
There’s another very good reason too: reputational risk.
I considered covering this issue in the earlier post, but the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that it deserved a post of its own.
“Reputational risk” – what do you mean?
You don’t have to look very far to find stories of unprofessional, unethical, or plain dishonest education agents who cause huge problems for both the international students they advise, and the educational institutions that they represent.
In fact we post about these unfortunate episodes whenever we find out about them. See for example:
- UK: BBC exposes education agent scandal
- Canada: dodgy education agents mislead international students
- Why are top institutions still working with suspect education agents?
Media reporting of these incidents often includes the names of the institutions working with the education agent in question. This, combined with negative word-of-mouth from adversely affected students can cause huge reputational and brand damage to an institution.
Best practice is a two way street
If you work with education agents, there is always a risk of an agent doing the wrong thing. Institutions can significantly reduce that risk by implementing best practice education agent management processes, including regular agent engagement, communication and training. (If you’re an institution looking for a best practice agent management solution, check out AgentBee: Manager)
But education agent management is a two-way street. No amount of engagement, communication or training will do any good if it is falling on deaf ears.
It’s a good bet that your inactive education agents are not paying much, if any, attention to your efforts to engage them. If they were, they probably wouldn’t be inactive.
Let’s break it down
Ok, so where does all that leave us on inactive education agents?
As I see it, inactive agents are:
- a group whose activities you have limited, or no, visibility of, even though they are authorised to represent your institution
- largely ignoring your efforts to manage reputational risk by communicating with or training them
- delivering zero benefit to your institution
Putting that together creates a recipe for disaster, a ticking time bomb that could blow up at any moment.
Why take the risk?
If you’re concerned about inactive education agents on your list, and need a solution to support best practice education agent management, check out AgentBee: Manager.
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