Before Enrole – 77% could not register online!
Central Oregon Community College, department of Continuing Education has a staff of 14 which is a combination of course managers, registration specialists, administrators, marketing and operations managers. “Prior to Enrole, we used a combination of a very old system and our website to take registrations. Everything was clunky, not visually pleasing and very labor intensive for our staff,” said Stephen Newcombe, Operations Manager of Continuing Education at COCC. “We created everything 3 times: in Banner to produce a CRN, in the old system and then hardcoded on our website. At that time the old system was unsupported and going away soon and was so inefficient that 77% of our customers could not register themselves online because it was so unfriendly. When classes were cancelled, usually due to low enrollment, there was triplication of effort again because all 3 places had to be updated. Also, cashiering was a pain because each person in the registration office had to do their own end-of-day balancing, then they would merge them all together into a spreadsheet at the end of the week.” Their staff had to work closely with the main colleges’ registrar’s office for all payments and refunds as their system did not have that capability. Cancellations were overall costly because there wasn’t a way to automatically refund back to the credit card, so all refunds required the assistance of yet another department and cost $2.25 for each check as a manual refund. That additional cost mounted up quickly when they had to cancel several sessions per term. COCC serves approximately 7,000 unique students per year and places 3,000 registrations per term.
When COCC began looking for new non-credit registration software, they knew there were a few things that were “absolutely necessary,” said Newcombe. “The new software needed to eliminate our pain points which included: Ability to support flash to therefore allow iOS devices, be mobile friendly, be aesthetically pleasing because our old system was clunky and hard to maneuver, user friendly for staff and students, Amazon style shopping experience, and be cost effective.” At the NCCET conference, they met a few exhibitors, and received a brief demo from Entrinsik. During their RFP, 5 companies were evaluated, so they could compare each vendor side-by-side for functionality, capabilities and price. “Enrole quickly became the leader because it was so easy to use.” said Newcombe, “We played in the Enrole Sandbox account, and really tested how this would work for us. The features we all particularly like from the student’s perspective are: The customer friendly, easy to use online registration cart. It looks so nice with the clear layout, we add resources such as pictures, PDF documents, and links. The navigation, search, and Amazon style suggestions at purchasing makes it easy and familiar for our students. We use the shopping cart as our webpages because we don’t have to duplicate everything now and setting up our categories makes it simple for our customers to search and find what they need and then register as opposed to finding it and then finding it again. We use sub-sessions a lot for breakout dates for our Spanish immersion classes with each having a maximum capacity and dates and times to suit, as well as adding user defined fields to gather unique data by course, session, and student. Google analytics built into the cart helps us with marketing and analyzing more data. Implementation and roll out was easy with very quick responses from the Enrole team and moved much quicker than I anticipated. Matt our project manager was very organized, and the onsite training was excellent yet intensive, but Simone kept us on track to setup up our new registration system, with courses, shopping cart view, and registrations, but there’s so much functionality that I became the trainer after training,” said Newcombe. “I am always discovering new approaches and techniques for our team to use the benefits of existing and new features.”
In the end, all the pain points COCC experienced were addressed with Enrole. Enrole is much more user friendly for staff and customers. “With all our challenges before, we’re able to issue refunds directly back to cards so we do a lot less manual refunds. We use the Correspondence portal and find it easy to create different confirmations, reminders, parking passes and will soon look at text message reminders. It’s easy to copy courses and sessions which saves a lot of time, and thankfully contract training classes are not on paper anymore,” said Newcombe. Almost immediately COCC reported cost and time savings, workload efficiencies, increased staff satisfaction, and ease of registration for their students saving more staff time from processing paper registrations and increased online self-enrollment by their students. Previously they averaged 23% of registrations being placed online. COCC went live in March 2017 and within 3 months began to see their online registrations drastically increasing. By the summer term online registration was up by 47.7%, fall up by 53.4%, and winter by 60.2% (at the time of this conversation their winter term didn’t end for another 7 weeks!). With their newfound flexibility, COCC opens upcoming courses in advance and take registrations well into the future, which is a major benefit to their customers. They activate sessions to show online automatically or remove itself on a selected date. With one payment gateway for the entire system, their registration staff no longer create a weekly spreadsheet to accumulate data for the financials because they run and schedule the report using Informer. “We do paper evaluations after classes end, because we found we get better responses than the online surveys and that previously involved recording all the comments and grades, but we didn’t need a student worker this year as we streamlined those and other processes and became more time efficient,” said Newcombe happily. “We would absolutely recommend Enrole! All the staff are friendly, excellent and well-informed. Enrole is nice looking and intuitive for our customers and staff, there are so many options and abilities to take advantage of, said Newcombe. “Cost was a big factor for us being a community college and having to continue operations with budget cuts. Other people will soon find out that the initial outlay and setup saved staff hours for business development, class analysis, and ultimately saved us money in the long run.”