Answering trends in prospective student enquiries on the University website
Since the spring, our team has been working with the Enquiry Management Team to update website content to answer the questions prospective students are emailing about.
Our previous enquiry analysis work
Our team is no stranger to enquiry analysis work. Last year my colleague Paula did some great work analysing trends coming into the enquiry form we built in the Covid-19 site.
From the form data, we could see who was enquiring and what topics they were asking questions about. This allowed us to focus our content updates on the topics that were getting asked about the most.
Teaming up with Enquiry Management
This year, we’ve been following a similar enquiry analysis process to tackle trends coming into the Enquiry Management team.
Except this time, we’re not analysing the trends coming into a form we set up and manage. Instead, I’m working directly with a member of the Enquiry Management team who gives us fortnightly insights into the trends they’re seeing in the enquiries they receive.
Creating a backlog
We add these trends to a board in Monday.com, our project management software.
The board is divided into 4 sections:
- Backlog: the list of tasks we need to start or are currently working on
- Monitoring: tasks we completed and are now monitoring to see if they are still a recurring trend
- Completed: tasks that are no longer a recurring trend
- Not work on: tasks we cannot work on because the content change involved is too complex and not a quick fix
I meet regularly with a member of the Enquiry Management team to set priority statuses to each of these tasks. This lets us know which trends we should be focusing our attention on.
Working through the backlog
With priorities set, I go through the tasks in the backlog to determine what work we can do on the website to better answer these enquiry trends.
For example, undergraduate prospective students were asking about UCAS Extra last application cycle. This is an area we were not addressing on our site, so we worked with colleague in Student Recruitment and Admissions to add some text to our page on UCAS Clearing and Adjustment about what programmes we offer through UCAS Extra.
Once we completed the website work, we moved the task from the ‘Backlog’ to ‘Monitoring’.
Then once the Enquiry Management team saw a decrease in prospective students asking about this, we moved it from ‘Monitoring’ to ‘Completed’.
Tackling quick fixes on the website
We only work on tasks where we can make relatively quick fixes to the website. Some tasks, such as any trends around entry requirements, would require a project to tackle the issues prospective students have. They’re too complex for a quick win.
We keep these tasks logged so we can know what the pain points are when we do get around to service improvement projects in these areas.
Similarly, the website might not be the best place to answer every trend we see come through. It might be an email that’s sent out or an update to EUCLID, the Univerisity’s online application system we do not have the ability to edit.
In these cases, we can let service owners or content providers know of the trend, but we are unable to do work directly on these trends.
User needs through the application cycle
By managing the tasks in Monday, we are creating a full list of prospective students needs through the application cycle.
Next year, we might see similar trends come up. If we do, we will already have a record we can refer to to see what was asked previously and what work we did.
We can then use these insights to inform any content changes we make to these recurring trends in future.
Interested how you can improve your website and anticipate student enquiry needs?
If you’re working in a school or central University service and want to explore how you might adopt a continuous improvement activity like this, get in touch. I’m happy to walk you through this and help you get started.