Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Attracting virtual learners globally with ultra-personalised recruiting
In the mid-1990s, UOC’s leadership—true pioneers of virtual education—launched the first-ever completely online university with the goal of providing lifelong learning through a new educational model based on student personalisation. But after two decades of trail-blazing success, UOC wasn’t the only online university in the world anymore and the pressure to innovate intensified to stay ahead of the competition. But innovating with legacy applications is a hard task and when it comes to marketing & recruitment, this siloed and disconnected ecosystem was holding them back.
The university’s leadership recognised the need for change. They needed a better way to grow awareness and nurture prospective students through the enrolment process. Though their data was great, it was siloed and unactionable, making their ability to effectively communicate and engage with prospective students difficult. Plus, their response time and handoff between their robust call center, more than 650 online advising tutors, and student self-service options could be improved. UOC sought to deliver personalised and timely communications, student-specific mentoring and advising, and targeted ad-hoc services to boost a student’s progression from lead to enrolled—and beyond. This was not a simple task given the University offers more than 930 degrees (from bachelor’s to doctoral), diplomas, and certificates as well as approximately 150 corporate agreements to Catalan, Spanish, and English organizations around the world.
Deconstructing silos to reinvent student engagement
To give students a personalised experience and outpace online competitors, administrators selected Salesforce to be their partner in building a 360-degree view of the student. As Daniel Téllez, UOC’s Director of Recruiting, stated, “We had been lone pioneers for 25 years and were looking for the best partner to enable us to continue as pioneers for at least 25 more. We knew that Salesforce would help keep us growing.” UOC selected Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud to replace five legacy IT systems and integrated the data from the remaining legacy systems using EDA. Using these, UOC’s administrators can now:
- Create, monitor, and track the student’s progress through a real-time admissions funnel
- Deliver seamless, automated omnichannel communication to prospective students in an ultra-personalised way
- Capture relevant information from prospective students to match them with the right program, taking into account their region and language, among other distinct characteristics
- Ensure UOC teams are fully informed and able to act on all student communications and actions
UOC’s recruitment team can now track all prospective student data and use it dynamically in a journey, customising communication along the way, as well as monitor the actions of every prospective student within our Online Campus movement by movement.
“This is fantastic since helpìng each prospective student to find the perfect match in our portfolio with their personal and professional needs at any stage of their career has always been our main goal.” remarked Téllez
Increasing global awareness and enrolment using dynamic, custom journeys
After just a year of using Salesforce, the university has made great strides in attaining the goal of providing personalised student experiences, efforts that have led to both increased engagement and enrolment:
- Generated more than 200,000 high-quality leads in one year
- Contacted prospective students within less than 10 minutes post-inquiry
- Very few prospective students decided to study elsewhere after being managed by UOC Marketing, Recruiting and Academic Advisors teams
- Enrolment grew faster than the marketplace, increasing bachelor’s degree enrolment by 33% (compared to -6% in the marketplace) and master’s degree enrolment by 87% (compared to 42% in the marketplace) * 2016/2015 Spanish Higher Education official market data.
- Executed highly personalised, global newsletter with 21,000 different editions to more than 500,000 prospects, customising the communications by program, region, language, academic interest and more
Continuing to advance customisation and personalization with Salesforce
The impressive results after integrating Salesforce into the university have administrators considering additional ways to streamline the university’s systems.
Téllez and his team are considering updating the call center system. UOC is also looking at the possibility of using Salesforce to enhance the one-on-one advising experience with current and prospective students or using it also for Alumni.
“To continue to advance our 360-degree student view approach to assure best programme fit and lifelong learning support, we will continue to explore additional Salesforce capabilities,” says Téllez.
About Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Founded in 1995, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC; also known as the Open University of Catalonia) was the first 100% online university. Headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, UOC currently serves 73,081 online students from 134 countries. Funded both publicly and privately, it has also a corporate division in addition to its undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and postgraduate degrees. The UOC focuses its research on areas where technology and social & human sciences converge. It has three research institutes: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), the eLearnCenter and the eHealthCenter.