The efficiency of your patient intake process is high priority? Please say you agree.

As you know, the patient intake process is a critical touchpoint where you’re likely to make a “first impression” on a new patient, which may stick with them forever.

So, are you generating a pleasant experience for your patients?

Patients will not stay in your health service if there are errors or lags in the intake process. This has a direct impact on referral satisfaction and profitability. Here’s an illustration of what can happen if a patient doesn’t return. 

Research shows that no-show rates might be as high as 30% across the country, which ends up costing the healthcare business $150 billion per year.

However, you can reduce patient no-shows by improving your patient intake process. It is also the need of the hour, because:

  • In 2022, hospitals can expect a 4% hike in patient volume.
  • Access to specialty care is less now than it was in 2019, which reveals some new gaps in the healthcare system.

By optimizing your patient intake process, you’ll be able to handle more patients—without neglecting the patient experience.

So let’s discuss how you can perfect the intake process.

What is patient intake?

Patient intake is the process of collecting patient information prior to their visit. It includes demographic, clinical data, consent forms, insurance, payments, and other key pieces of information. The patient intake steps apply to both new and returning patients.

Intake processes can be time-consuming and require active participation from both the patient and the healthcare provider. Managing the intake processes entails learning the ins and outs of each patient. The next section provides a quick patient intake checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered.

Patient intake checklist

A checklist will help you ensure your practics runs smoothly.

Typically, a patient intake checklist covers the tasks associated with the following processes:

  • Forms for patient information that you hand out when they arrive. The information can range from details like their age to their medical history. These forms will vary depending on the service you provide. For example, if you’re a dentist, you will ask them to answer questions related to dental health. 
  • Request for details regarding insurance. Insurance coverage tends to be tricky if you aren’t a general hospital. If you provide specialized care such as physiotherapy the policies will be different. So, ensure you know what policy relates to your service.
  • Upload forms for HIPAA compliance and ensure you receive the necessary authorization. Only after you receive the verification, create a patient profile.
  • After this, you can schedule appointments, send emails for reminders, and so on. Finally, if consent is necessary, ensure you ask for it and upload the proof after. 

Checklists can help you standardize the admission process. We’ve assembled the tasks associated with the intake process and have created this list.

If you’re planning to use digital patient intake software, you can use this checklist to ensure you’ve got all the tasks covered.

Studies show the global digital health industry will be worth $430.52 billion by 2028. Over the next few years, a digital patient intake process will become more widespread. 

Next, let’s look at the challenges health providers face with patient intake processes—and how technology can help overcome them.

Patient intake process challenges

On the surface, it may seem like things are working smoothly. But the dissatisfaction of the patient, who had to wait hours before finally meeting the doctor or practitioner reveals the inefficiencies of the intake process. Let’s take a closer look at these challenges.

  • The typical patient intake approach is very paperwork intensive and time-consuming. When a patient chooses to arrange a visit, the process begins. The patient would first call the clinic and wait to connect with a receptionist. Already, time’s being wasted.
  • Research shows that healthcare providers with high wait times receive significantly lower ratings. The practices with the best reviews have average wait times of 13 minutes. Whereas those with the worst reviews had wait times of 34 minutes.
  • Filling in personal details and the consent form is again a time-consuming process. Apart from this, handwritten forms are prone to errors. Patients also don’t have the time to sit and write these details if they are facing an emergency. Digital patient intake forms are now paramount. 

Processes like documentation, information collection, and storage can all happen in the cloud, making the information easily accessible.

How technology can help you improve the patient intake process

Here are the ways in which you can automate different steps of the intake process.

1. E-signature and digital documentation tools

7 out of 10 patients (Source: kentico) wish to be able to contact their providers digitally. 

You can simplify the patient-provider contact with online intake forms. You can provide patient portals where they can register, submit the required documents, e-sign consent forms whenever required, get access to test records, and more.

Alternatively, you can sign-up for specialized tools. If you do, be sure the apps you choose are HIPAA compliant. It’s your responsibility to safeguard your patient’s info.

2. Create a patient profile and segment patients according to their needs

An online or digital patient profile is a must. A patient profile is a record or account that includes important information about your patients and their interactions with your clinic. It generally includes: 

  • Basic information and demographic details like gender, age, family, etc.
  • Medical history and any genetic conditions or allergies
  • Current health issues or concerns about their health
  • Consulting physician details, their schedule, and more 

These specifics can assist you in understanding how patients interact with your service. A patient profile aids in the customization of care and the provision of individualized support. 

3. Use a CRM for automatic data collection, storage, and retrieval

Every practice hoping for success must invest in a healthcare CRM. The global CRM market in healthcare is forecast to reach 17.4 billion dollars by 2023.

The patient intake process will be much smoother with a CRM as it can:

  • Create accurate patient profiles
  • Distribute patient inquiries to the available providers in a round-robin system 
  • Schedule appointments automatically when patients book them through the website
  • Create predictive reports based on a patient’s family and individual medical history
  • Centralize patient information across different departments and healthcare personnel 
  • Send notifications and follow-up reminders to check-in with patients who have left the clinic
  • Track all the interactions a patient has with your practics
  • Integrate with the hospital management system, EHR/EMR, payment software, and other tools you use to get a complete picture of your patients and processes

Healthcare CRM boosts your patient experience and improves overall patient relationship management. You can also collect documents digitally and store them in HIPAA-compliant software.  

The best patient intake software for your practice

A solid patient intake procedure consists of three essential components:

  1. Careful management of the wait times, data, and privacy of the patient
  2. Delivering a convenient patient experience
  3. Ensuring all information is precise and consistent

Some of the benefits of a digital intake process include:

  • Automation and increased convenience of online scheduling
  • Electronic patient intake forms
  • Digital documentation and tracking of patient activities
  • Online payment options

A stellar system for your healthcare facility is a must-have nowadays. If you’re on the lookout for one such software, LeadSquared’s healthcare CRM is the best software to automate your patient intake process. 

With LeadSquared’s HIPAA compliant CRM, you can: 

  • Automatically distribute appointment requests and other inquiries.
  • Group members of one family together as a unit
  • Personalize communication at each phase to improve patient involvement and communication
  • Store and access all patient demographics, social profiles, and behavioral data
  • Collect post-appointment patient feedback
  • Make it easy to onboard doctors
  • Manage referrals
  • Create multiple patient journeys across the range of services you offer
  • Seamlessly integrate with EHR/EMR, medical billing software to provide a 360-degree view of patients.

“We’ve roughly doubled the number of leads we’re able to manage. A lot of that is due to the time-saving factor of working with LeadSquared. We’re able to cut down our turnaround time responding to inquiries and reach out to and communicate with many more leads.”

Tamara Young, Director of Marketing, PSYCH

With more than one billion monthly active users, TikTok has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in existence today. In 2020, TikTok broke records for the most downloads in one quarter. 
Discover tips on how your school can use this app organically, without spending a dime on ads, to create content that connects and builds brand awareness.

Key Discussion Points:

  • The basics of TikTok 
  • How to get more views  
  • The best times to post 
  • How the app chooses who goes viral 
  • What type of content schools should be posting 


Jenn Lyles

Jenn Lyles
Executive Director, Beauty Schools Marketing Group

Digitization has radically shaped the Indian financial markets, including stockbroking. While traditional or full-service brokers have always enjoyed a dominant presence and preference among investors, a demographic shift towards technology has given rise to discount brokers.

​In this roundtable, we will discuss how the adoption of different, innovative technologies will redefine the core of the broking industry.


Key Discussion Points:

  • The need to migrate to cloud-based systems to meet the spike in trading volumes and new account openings.
  • How to offer higher accuracy, convenience, and a top-notch customer experience using the right technology.
  • Catalyzing your business growth by ensuring seamless account opening and automating the integration of processes.
  • How to leverage data and enjoy real-time analytics to uncover critical, relevant insights for faster and more improved decision-making.

You can watch the webinar in its entirety or read the takeaways below.

What are the upcoming trends in the Indian stockbroking market?

Do you see a complete DIY investment process, or a hybrid model will prevail?

Ashley Almeida: The fundamental reason why people open accounts is to make some kind of return. Therefore, it is important for the platform or broker to aid that customer to be able to make that return.

I’m not surprised 86% of millennials are looking for that kind of support.

Millennial users largely fit into two buckets:

  • Either they don’t have time, or
  • They don’t have the expertise

Therefore, brokers can provide insights to help them make better decisions. They can make it easier for them to identify companies worth investing in through analytical information, blogs, webinars, etc.

Brokers need to not only provide a more convenient platform, but also a platform that helps users in making good decisions.

Anand Sharma: The role of a broker is not limited to providing a platform to make transactions. It needs to evolve to advise and enable users with tools, data points, information, etc.

Whether it’s a discount broker or traditional broker, they started their business with transactional platform, where the advantage was on the pricing side. While the ability to transact is still there, they’ve started enabling their platform with other platforms in the FinTech industry, which are playing the role of an advisor.

Earlier, transactions were done by dealers or relationship managers. But today, individuals are doing transactions. This trend in stockbroking is here to stay. However, to take the investment decision, users will still rely on experts before committing their money for long term.

Hina Q.: I will not go by a DIY or hybrid model. I’ll talk about a new segment we have entered into. It is zero brokerage.

Pricing is a very, very important factor and I agree that irrespective of platform, advice is important. Whether it’s a DIY or hybrid platform, the advice will be available for the customer. It can be in the form of video or bite-size information, but it will be there.

What’s the stockbroking houses’ plan of action to attract more customers from tier two and three cities?

70-90% of the accounts opened in the last two years are primarily from non-metro, tier two, tier three cities.

Shishupal Rathore: Today, technology is available everywhere. With just a good internet connection and a mobile phone, you can literally trade from anywhere.

So basically, the issue is not about technology. It is more about building that awareness: how and where they should invest.  It’s more like telling a wealth creation story: how we can build wealth in the short term and a long term.

You can tell that story and educate your customers through nudge or a soft recommendation. More and more customers are going to invest in the stock market. What they really need is awareness and advice. Once they feel more secure, they’ll be attracted more towards the stock market.

Gaurav Garg: Client servicing and client advising are the two criteria that would make stock market investment popular in tier three, tier four cities as well.

In rural India (Bharat), the smartphone penetration is still low. People don’t have the ecosystem for investing or trading in stock market. But technology, client servicing, and client advising go hand in hand. If client servicing and client advising are in place by the time technology reaches the rural India, our industry is in good hands, and we have a long way to go.

Making the platform and content available in vernacular languages will help increase penetration in tier two, tier three cities. Also, taking away the jargon, making it simpler for the layman will increase adoption.

Ashley Almeida, EVP – Digital, Product, and Marketing, Religare Broking Ltd

Hina Q.: Content is king, and the language is the way forward. The way you communicate your offerings will create an impact and you can definitely observe the penetration in tier two and tier three cities.

Anand Sharma: So far, the innovations in the finance sector are driven by technology guys (non-financial guys). It means they’re able to understand the pain points of a common man and making efforts to address them.

Once the investment opportunities are made simple, the market becomes very big. The future is really bright because we’ll see a lot of innovations. We’re just at the start.

How do Indian stock broking houses plan to provide a seamless FinTech experience to invest in global markets?

Shishupal Rathore: Many stock broking houses have already started integrating with global stock broking agencies. We can provide these services to customers in multiple ways. For example, directly transacting in the in the global stock market or buy a portion of that stock.

But it’s equally important to make customers aware of the pros and cons of investing in a global market. Because here, foreign currencies are involved. The change in currency value would impact the overall profit and loss of the customer.

The new generation of Gen Y and Gen Z are in the high-income group. If we help them make right investment decisions, there are lots of opportunities, which will also give them a global exposure.

Anand Sharma, Head – Digital Platforms and Design, Edelweiss Wealth Management

Gaurav Garg: Many people are not getting desired returns or losing money because of lack of visibility. By making overseas investment as easy as possible and investment research easily accessible will attract more people invest in global markets.

What are the pros and cons of direct investment versus the NSE IFSC platform?

Ashley Almeida: What’s more important is, irrespective of the platform, users must be made aware of risks, such as currency risks. At present, two distinct platforms are available for global and domestic investment. It would be more convenient for the user if you could bring both platforms together. Also, if the portfolios are showcased together, it can drive more traction.

Another aspect to consider is remittance of money. By making the LRS process seamless, reducing paperwork and making it quicker you can increase users’ interests.

How do brokers ensure an outstanding customer experience?

Hina Q.: Client experience starts from the time they register and decide to partner with us for investment or trading needs. You need to make them self-sufficient through digital assets and assistance. At the same time, you should be able to intervene when they need you.

We’ve been trying to achieve the same. Everything we build is keeping customer expectations and experience in mind. Every screen you’ll see in our app is extensively evaluated from that perspective. We’ve also optimized onboarding and orders such that users can do it in just a few clicks.

Customer servicing is yet another non-negotiable aspect. That is, they should be able to get in touch with you when they need you. We’ve tried multiple options—from one touch contact to self-help and AI. CX can make or break any digital platform or business.

From CX perspective, the overall performance of a mobile app is crucial. It should be intuitive and provide a consistent experience. While there are active traders on the app, most of the traders use the app only to look at their portfolio. Therefore, data consistency is necessary. The app performance and availability form the overall crux of the customer experience.

Shishupal Rathore, Senior VP of Technology, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.

Ashley Almeida: CX is sector agnostic. People do not expect an experience from the BFSI sector, their compare their experience across everything. Whether it’s Netflix, Amazon, Swiggy, or an BFSI app—they expect the same experience.

Gaurav Garg: I would like to talk about customer engagement. We started off with one-to-one engagement and people claimed their services to be truly personalized. Then, we moved to one solution for clients because everybody wanted to give same treatment to all the category of clients.

Customer data platforms will play a huge role in customer experience and hyper personalization and that’s going to be a big differentiator.

Anand Sharma: Mobile application or website are just the vehicle of dissemination of your company’s proposition. Actual experience is built via product design, customer service operations, and multiple functions of the organization.

Rather than just thinking of just CX, think of overall experience of a customer. All the systems, touchpoints should be connected. We should not limit our thought process to only what the customer sees. Think of the ecosystem that you’re creating. Every stakeholder is important in building a great CX.

What is the role of AIML in stockbroking and how brokers are leveraging it?

Ashley Almeida: Let’s say, we have a customer base of 1 million users. If we create segments for this large base, it will be huge. But think about it. Do we really need to put them into segments?

The answer is no. Because every customer is unique.

They can have different demographics, could be a trader, an investor, or both. Basically, the nature of every customer is different. It is impossible for humans to cater to every individual requirement. And this is where you need machine learning.

For example, let’s say people who are holding TCS stock have also bought Infosys. So, now, we can recommend Infosys to the people who are holding TCS. AIML can help you understand customer behavior at an aggregate level and take it down to an individual level. It can nudge users with lot of insights to help them make good investment decisions.

Gaurav Garg: We’re going to use AIML in customer data platforms. It can help a lot in meaningful customer engagement.

The second use case is the conversational AI, which is more practical. A lot of AMCs and insurance companies are utilizing conversational AI to pitch insurance to their existing customers. It is increasing business for them.

How are stockbrokers handling the issue of information overload for customers?

Shishupal Rathore: Indeed, millennials and Gen Z are overloaded with information. But what’s more important for any customer, irrespective of the segment, is the ability to make a wise decision. Afterall, it’s their hard-earned money.

So, from our side, we can provide our perspective to the customers. It can be done through awareness sessions, educational videos, and more. The goal is to help them make a wise decision and build wealth.

Apart from this, sometimes, you need to lead customers through soft interventions and personalized advice or tips. However, we cannot push them into making an investment. It’s a high-risk market and everything is subject to market risk. So, ultimately, customers have to make the final decision.

Profile information can really add value. But it has to be very pointed information that consumers can easily consume and understand.

Hina Q., Head – Digital Business, Mirae Asset Capital Markets Pvt. Ltd.

Please shed some light on the adoption of cloud-based systems in the stockbroking industry.

Anand Sharma: Two years back, before Covid, we saw a surge in demands in the stock market. Handling scale was becoming difficult. Since, stock market is volatile in nature, you’d not want to invest in on-premise infrastructure instantly. At the same time, if you’re not ready to handle the scale, you’ll collapse.

Even though it sounds expensive initially, moving to cloud comes with a lot of flexibility. In fact, we’re 60% on the cloud.  Cloud gives us flexibility to increase the capacity and manage costs. It is the way forward for us.

Shishupal Rathore: Cloud provides the flexibility to scale up and scale down without having to invest in the infrastructure. Secondly, the processing power of cloud technology is superior to their on-premise counterparts. Thirdly, from storage point of view, cloud-based solutions are very cost-effective.

So, cloud gives us a leverage from an overall cost, performance, scalability, and security perspectives.

Data security can be a concern, but we can ensure that through encryption and masking of sensitive data. We can keep the data on-premise, while data processing can still happen on cloud.

The only concern I see right now is the country’s regulations. But as far as we keep the data within the country (the data residency law), I don’t see a lot of concern with the cloud adoption overall.

How does your client acquisition strategy change with NSE’s recent circular on avoiding influencer programs for marketing?

Ashley Almeida: The bigger question is—have you grown because of influencers?

I don’t think the answer is yes. Because influencers only aid in disseminating the message or proposition of the broker. The absence of one medium gives space to several other mediums in marketing.

I don’t think avoiding influencer programs will have a negative impact on our customer acquisition strategy. However, brokers should focus on UTC (Unique Traded clients), the types of customers they’re onboarding, and how many of them are actually doing transactions on your platform. Because higher number of customers can only keep you happy for a certain amount of time. If you’re not getting the right customers, it’s not helpful for your business in the long run.

A lot of brokers give free ETFs to acquire new clients. But that’s not sustainable. By implementing this directive from NSE, only serious investor and traders will come in the picture.

Gaurav Garg, Associate Director – Digital Client Acquisition and Revenue, JM Financial Ltd

How do you see the trend of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) in the stockbroking industry?

Ashley Almeida: Some brokers, including us, have already launched BNPL. It is another way of looking at the margin trading product, where a customer only pays part of the amount and the rest of it is financed.

Hina Q.: This product is already available in the market and customer can leverage on that, specifically after there will be no regulations with regards to peak margins.

Audience questions

What are the new ways to monetize discount pricing?

Gaurav Garg: Let me give you an example of zero brokerage. It is not actually zero. It is just the way pricing is presented. Even long-term investors have to pay DP transaction, DP AMC charges.
Somebody offering a brokerage in delivery segment or intraday segment, which is zero, eventually makes money from other segments. So, ultimately, it is not free, and there are ways to monetize these.
Hina Q.: So, it’s like you pay a one-time fee and then your entire brokerage is free across product. Of course, there will be government charges. From AMC perspective, there is only one-time AMC, and it is free for the lifetime. So, we can say, zero-discount broking and zero brokerage models are two different segments.
Ashley Almeida: People pay for value. Discount brokers offer unique proposition and value. But that does not mean that premium services cannot exist.
There are people who understand the value and are willing to pay the additional price. So, the question is—what I am bringing to the table and what is the client willing to pay. If the value proposition is good and priced right, then there’s definitely a revenue model you can think of.

What’s the impact of technology in traditional brokerage?

Ashley Almeida: Yes, the traction for online is growing, but that does not mean that branches won’t exist. It’s because the branch experience is very different. There is an audience that loves to go to a branch, experience markets, talk to dealers, understands what’s going on, and then invest.
Traditional brokerage will exist, but at the same time, online trading will grow because that enables us to penetrate in tier two, three cities.
Anand Sharma: Traditional players who do not focus on technology to deliver the personalized advisory or RM driven, or advisor driven features or services will lose the competitive edge somehow.  It’s true that technology is scalable. If someone expects relationship manager or advisor to be available, it may not be possible at the same rate. In that case, customers will have to pay for the value that person (advisor) brings to them. But when we think of scale, it will be through technology driven platforms.

Are there any complications or limitations from SEBI for discount brokers providing advisory services?

Anand Sharma: I don’t think there is a limitation for a broker or advisory. I think all of them are different. Broking is a role where a person becomes member of exchange. There’s another role wherein research houses give advice on buying or having a target price or entry price for a particular spot. Then, there are RIAs (Registered Investment Advisor who are give advice to the customers.
The problem is if a broker is taking an RIA license, he cannot take revenue out of the brokerage. His revenue should come from RIA or a fee. However, research analyst and broker can come together. But RIA and broking coming together is a complex work.

How are you communicating with clients about peak margin status in real time?

Hina Q.: Communications about exchange, regulations, etc. should be built into the system and needs to be a part of the platform feature. The way you communicate is also important. Nudges, displaying information, etc. are really important, also for the customers to be aware of the platform features.
Gaurav Garg: SMS and emails are the most commonly used channels for communication. I think there’s a lot of scope of improvement in terms of utilizing different communication channels for better customer experience.


Gaurav Garg

Gaurav Garg
Associate Director – Digital Client Acquisition and Revenue, JM Financial Ltd

Anand Sharma

Anand Sharma
Head – Digital Platforms and Design, Edelweiss Wealth Management

Shishupal Rathore

Shishupal Rathore
Senior VP of Technology, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd

Hina Q

Hina Q.
Head – Digital Business, Mirae Asset Capital Markets Pvt. Ltd.

Ashley Almeida

Ashley Almeida
EVP – Digital, Product, and Marketing, Religare Broking Ltd

Ruchika Mehra

Ruchika Mehra
Director – Enterprise Sales, LeadSquared

In a recent LeadSquared webinar, Inspire a Wide Range of Students with Custom Automations, higher education experts Jason Pfaff and David Eby discussed the power of using automation to inspire and engage higher ed students.

You can see the 40-minute webinar in its entirety here. Following are highlights from what was a very insightful discussion about how to overcome some of the challenges facing admissions offices today.

David Eby, Jason Pfaff

Jason: What have you seen play out over the last 10 years in the higher education landscape, specifically about students and what they’re looking for?

David: Higher education, in general, has become much more competitive and everyone’s playing in the online space. So, a lot of times students are making choices based on the way you interact with them during the recruitment process. They’re focused on when—and how—they’re communicated with.

What we’ve also seen is the introduction of a number of different channels to communicate with students. Now we’re interacting with social media during the recruitment process, using texting, and phone calls. The interaction has to be well thought out and timely.

Regardless of the student type, you have to be very intentional about how you communicate. And the ability to customize those student journeys is something that’s become very important to me in the last four or five years.

Treat students as consumers

Jason: Would you agree it now requires a consumer mindset to give students the level of service they expect?

David: Yes, education has become much more of a consumer product. You know it used to be if you were a local student in Kansas, you would look at Kansas institutions only. Now, you’re looking at any variety of institutions based on the programs they offer, based on the price, based on how they interact.

The ability to do a search online and find 10 institutions that offer the same program is much easier. Also coming out of COVID, we’re seeing some real changes: institutions that were not competing in the online space are now much more competitive in the online space.

It creates a more level playing field when, as a small institution, you can use the same type of technology that a larger institution’s using and still create that customized student experience without having to invest millions of dollars.

Deliver the simplified journeys students want

Jason: How would you recommend schools start to identify those student populations so that we can then put them into more of an automated experience? What touchpoints are important? Could you walk us through your process?

David: The first thing that I typically do is, I want to see where we are today. So, what is communication? What’s the timing of the communication? Does it make sense?

What you often see is a lot of outreach going to the student that could be duplicate, and probably, stepping on each other. My experience with students is they’re typically going to respond to one area at a time. They’re not going to be able to keep all those plates spinning, especially busy working professionals.

Once we layout our current process, then we have to look at it from a student perspective. Gone are the days when students go on campus and take a tour and go from one department to the next. It’s all done through this virtual environment and if it’s not coordinated, it gives the student the impression that you kind of don’t know what you’re doing. It’s scattered and gives them a sense of maybe what their educational journey is going to be like.

A lot of the work we do is about simplifying the journey. How do we make it as simple as possible for people to go through the process? As soon as it gets confusing and too complicated, they’re going to typically drop out, or they’re going to go someplace else that makes it easier.

Jason: Many of us work with adult students, especially at an undergrad level, someone going back to school, maybe they’re in their mid-30s, or 40s, maybe a single parents with a full-time job—and I’m just speaking to one segment.

I tell teams all the time there’s a reason this person has not been able to pursue higher education to the degree they want to. So often when that person ends up not enrolling, I feel like when you reverse engineer that, something in the process was too overwhelming. They got too much information too soon—three different people reaching out about one thing. And folks are like, oh, yeah, that’s why I’ve not been able to do this. I’ve got kids. I’ve got a job. I’ve got other things.

Keep it simple. Keep it effective. Keep the student’s experience in mind and think about the journey from the student’s perspective.

Communicate with students the way they prefer

David: The reality is you still see students making selections sometimes based on the relationship they build with an admissions counselor.

But the communications can’t just be over the phone now. That’s not the only way you’re going to find success.

This automation example was shown in the webinar when the discussion about putting the power of automation to work to employ omnichannel communications.

I’ve seen a lot of success with sending a text in advance of a call. After receiving an inquiry, you respond by text saying, “Hey, we got your inquiry and the admissions counselor will be calling you from this number shortly.” So, you’ve eliminated the need to call three times in 45 minutes. You can place one call. The student knows the number you’re calling from and will pick up the phone.

Jason: Absolutely. Something I’ve been working on a lot lately is asking to ask, “How do you want to enroll? How do you want to have this conversation? What works for you?”

What I advocate for is to continue to think about how to use technology, to simplify, organize and make the most of your valuable resources and the most effective use of your time, and the student’s time.

How do you think about where automation fits in that?

Greater automation = greater efficiency (and scale)

David: I’ve learned, through polling students, when they submit a copy of their transcripts, or an essay, the thing they most want to know is: did you get it? So, little things like an acknowledgment of receipt of materials go a long way in alleviating the concerns of students.

From a counselor’s perspective, automation should make it so they are not searching for what to do next. The CRM tells them what needs to be done next. Sometimes it may be there was a document that was due on a certain day and it wasn’t submitted. So, that warrants an outreach via text, email, or phone.

56% of higher ed institutions have invested in CRM and 36% plan to according to this Garner survey.

The way I look at it is: How many students can my admissions counselors reasonably interact with and handle? Without automation, the ability to interact with a multitude of students is really limited.

Automation helps them solve a lot of efficiency issues. Your scalability is much greater with automation and typically, the student experience is better as well.

Also, automation creates consistency in the communications. What I’ve seen in the past, and what scares me is, when I have admissions counselors constantly writing their own emails, or communicating with students and I don’t know what’s going out or what’s being said.

Jason: Right. I think part of what standardization also brings is the ability to measure and see what’s working because everybody’s working in a similar way. Say we’ve cut a transcript request process time in half because we’ve automated everyone with the same process. We can see that performance and improve it if need be.

Measure and optimize

Jason: Talk to me about how you continue to review performance and what recommendations you give to institutions?

David: When I’m first launching automation, I’m gonna look at that on a regular basis, at least weekly. We’ll look at open rates on emails, response rates with text, the time it takes to turn around documents, etc.

Once I have an established communication strategy, I’m typically looking at it about once a quarter. So, I want to look at that data to see if we are seeing any significant changes in conversions. We start to see the funnel—improving or declining conversion rates from inquiries, application through enrollment, those types of things. Those are the high-level KPIs I’m looking at on a regular basis.

Also, you need to meet with admissions counselors on a regular basis to get their feedback on what they’re hearing from students in their conversations.

Jason: You mentioned scale earlier. We’re able to scale because of the automation. But then you also look at that from the other side: we’ve got all these automations and that may seems scary.  There are all these new processes and technology to manage.

Automate intelligently

Jason: How do you think about scaling the number of automated sequences?

David: Well, right now is a hard time to hire admissions counselors. In most places across the country that I’m familiar with, people are struggling to get good people and retain them. So I want their time to be spent efficiently as possible.

If I know I have low-quality leads that may not convert, I’m going to have some automated communications going out to that type of prospect before I ever have them interact with an admissions counselor. So, they have a hybrid scoring type method to establish the quality of the lead.

For instance, if a prospect has gone to the website and filled out an application, I want an admissions counselor to talk to that person right away. But if someone clicked on an ad on Instagram and gave me their information and I know these leads convert at a lower rate, I may interact with them via text or email first to see if they’re going to interact with us. Once they’re engaging, then I’m going to get an admissions rep in on that conversation.

So, those types of things allow you to scale not only your spend and do more marketing and reach more people, but make the best use of your admissions counselors’ time. You don’t want them getting hung-up-on all day long, but actually interacting with people that want to interact with them.

With the use of automation, it’s one of the things that I see deliver the greatest ability to scale: the effectiveness of my teams.

Jason: I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this… The schools I talk with about automation see the most success early when they have the cleanest process going in, right? Because fundamentally, we’re remapping what you’re already doing and routing it through some type of software platform or triggered sequence.

David: You’re right, the simple process typically wins out. But it’s not uncommon that an institution hasn’t reviewed its process for years. It just kind of evolved over time and morphed into well, this is what we do.

You get a lot of examples of, well, my student information system doesn’t allow me to do this. So, here’s the workaround that we have, or we’re using multiple technology platforms to interact with students.

Use simple technology to create simple processes

But it’s not just the simplicity of the process, it’s also the simplicity of the technology. How can you consolidate all these different technology platforms—from texting to phone to you know, CRM, to email?

Shortly after when I joined New England College, we went with LeadSquared because of the ability to automate student journeys.

We have seven different distinct student types, such as traditional undergrad, international grad, international on campus, and international online. The ability to create all those custom student journeys within a single platform was what really attracted me to the platform.

If/then scarious trigged by enagements—and personalized by student type—saves counselers a ton of time and improves the student experienece.

We were using Salesforce before and our ability to create customized student journeys was really limited. To get it done with Salesforce, I had to hire a developer and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to customize the tool.

Focus on the student experience

Jason: How are you thinking about the ways marketing and admissions continue to evolve?

David: I think the student journey starts at the point of marketing and influencers of the decision are no longer just family and friends. It is social—people interact on social media. So, I think social media plays a more critical part. And there are ways to interact through social media to kind of push people through the student journey.

What the students want and are demanding is a higher level of interaction using technology.  Even traditional students are expecting an online component in their classrooms now. So, you’re seeing academics having to adjust their styles and adapt to higher use of technology in the classroom. I think that expectation now goes across the entire student experience.

In today’s digitally-driven world, schools need smart social media marketing to stand out. Social walls, which harness the power of user-generated content, can be a powerful tactic.

What is a social wall?

A social wall is an aggregation of social media posts curated for display via a social media feed. Posts are typically user-generated and related to a specific event, like graduation or orientation.

Social walls curate content based on selected hashtags and account handles. When programming a social wall, schools can select a variety of platforms including Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or YouTube.

Why launch a social wall?

As a marketing tool, social walls help convene your campus community and amplify events by:

  • Connecting with different audiences (students, faculty, alumni, staff)
  • Portraying a positive brand image
  • Fostering on-campus interaction
  • Boosting event engagement

Social walls are also highly versatile. Walls can be displayed both in-person and virtually—an essential attribute since Covid-19.

Display options might include:

  • Embedding on your school’s website
  • Embedding on a landing page or microsite
  • Displaying on TV screens around campus
  • Creating a specialized multimedia wall

So, how can schools leverage social walls for smart social media marketing in higher education? Read on for five smart ways to use social walls in higher education. 

1. Celebrate commencement

Commencement ceremonies are often students’ most memorable college milestone. Consider using social walls to help celebrate and amplify the event.

Social walls can help build community—and make an event more interactive—by giving people a centralized place to share and connect. Check out the social wall for Champlain College’s 2020 commencement ceremony as an example.

Champlain College embedded the social wall on a special event microsite, giving attendees a centralized hub to share content and connect. People are invited to join the celebration on the social wall by using the hashtag #ChampGrad.

Champlain continues the social wall with multiple social media posts from a variety of users. Visitors can interact with each post to view more, and submit their own content for inclusion.

Social walls can also serve as a valuable communication vehicle, providing a community hub for event updates and announcements. College staff can use social walls to communicate:

  • Ceremony location updates
  • Schedule reminders
  • Shifts in timing

After graduation, consider running your social wall for several weeks or months. An extended campaign can help prolong event excitement—and the life of your user-generated content.

2. Amplify special events

Social walls can also help amplify special campus events. Schools can use social walls to foster connection among attendees, offering a platform to share knowledge and experience.

Special events might include:

  • Conferences
  • Networking events
  • Guest speakers and panel discussions
  • Research presentations

Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) on-campus social wall is an illustrative example.

CWRU hosts a multi-media social wall in the school’s main lobby for special events. During events, attendees are invited to post speaker quotes and key event takeaways to social media for inclusion on the wall. The wall is updated in real-time throughout the event.

Social walls are also great for career development events, helping connect students and potential employers. You might consider launching social walls for:

  • Employer or alumni networking days
  • Career and internship fairs
  • Employer information sessions
  • Special student competitions, such as case competitions

3. Foster a sense of belonging

Consider using social walls for new and prospective student events. Social walls can help foster a sense of belonging, setting your school apart and inspiring prospects toward enrollment.

Potential new and prospective student events might include:

  • Campus preview days (in-person or virtual)
  • Program-specific open houses
  • Admitted student open houses
  • Orientation/freshman week

Check out how Monash University in Australia uses a social wall to promote a science program’s open house.

Monash’s social wall showcases user-generated content related to the school’s science program’s open house. The program-specific content and #ChooseMonashScience hashtag helps foster a “club-like” feel and sense of belonging for participants. Posts showcase different research projects and program features, appealing to a wide range of audiences.

Schools can also cultivate belonging by demonstrating appreciation for students’ work. Social walls can help acknowledge and uplift students’ hard work—an approach that also showcases achievements and success.

Campaign ideas might include:

  • A roundup of recent student awards
  • Highlighting student volunteer work
  • Showcasing student artwork

4. Convene your community

Social walls can help connect faculty, staff, and students from different schools and departments. Consider using social walls to convene your campus through announcements, updates, and school-wide celebrations.

Ideas might include:

  • Important date reminders, like school closures and finals week
  • Showcasing faculty research
  • Welcoming new staff and celebrating promotions
  • Celebrating holidays

Check out Gordon State College, which used a social wall to celebrate a new school president.

Gordon State set up a social wall on their website to celebrate inducting a new president during inauguration week. People across campus posted congratulatory messages using the hashtag #CongratsDrNooks.

Additionally, schools can build community by celebrating different aspects of student life, such as clubs, sports, or arts groups. Specific events might include:

  • Memorable sporting events, such as homecoming games
  • End-of-year art showcases
  • Student concerts featuring special guest performers
  • Student fashion shows

5. Extend your reach

Social walls can be an excellent way to keep in touch with alumni. Social walls help keep alumni connected with campus from afar—and give current students a sense of post-graduation life.

Boston University’s Alumni Association uses a social wall to keep school alumni connected via BU’s alumni website.

College fundraising professionals can also use social walls to keep in touch with donors. Social walls can serve as a hub for donation appeals and support messages, forming a powerful partnership between marketing and development.

Potential fundraising campaigns might include:

  • End-of-year appeal
  • Scholarships
  • Athletics
  • Departmental projects

Tips for a successful social wall campaign

Promote your hashtag

A successful social wall campaign hinges in large part on your user-generated content. Be sure to let constituents know about the social wall campaign—and your hashtag—so people can participate.

Potential promotional ideas include:

  • Flyers on campus
  • School newsletters
  • Website or event microsite
  • Campus radio stations
  • School social media platforms

You might also consider promoting the social wall and hashtag in the weeks leading up to your event. A longer promotional period helps “plant the seeds” for your campaign and generate greater excitement.

Use multiple walls

For larger events such as graduation, consider setting up multiple social walls. Consider placing walls in various spots around campus or on multiple websites to increase exposure and engagement.

A few ideas for approach include:

  • Dedicating different topics to each wall
  • Assigning different audiences to each wall
  • Coordinating a variety of content across different departments

Keep adapting

Like any digital marketing initiative, measurement and evaluation are key. Be sure to track your social wall’s performance and analyze for improvement. Consider tracking the following social media metrics:

  • Engagement rate
  • Number of likes, comments, and re-shares
  • Overall impressions and reach

Depending on campaign performance, you might consider adjusting specific elements of your social wall. Try testing for different:

  • Hashtag names
  • Campaign lengths
  • Target audience(s)
  • Location of social walls

Social walls can be a powerful and positive way to inspire your campus community around an event. By leveraging user-generated content, social walls help create interactive and memorable experiences—and take your social media marketing to the next level.

Does your job entail engaging prospective new patients online and forging a connection to your practice?

Publishing an effective healthcare blog means delivering the information prospective patients are searching for. For example, if you manage a mental health practice, your patients may be searching for “ways to reduce anxiety,” or “signs of depression,” or “recognizing emotional problems in teens.”

If you create an publish authorative articles about relevant topics such as these, you’re bound to generate inbound traffic from healthcare consumers. I’m not saying it’s easy. And perfecting the art of publishing a valuable healthcare blog takes work.

If you’re new to blogging, or more specifically, healthcare blogging, I hope to help get you started with the following tips for writing a great healthcare blog.

Write about timely topics relevant to your practice’s specialty

This ties into the example above about knowing what your current and prospective patients are searching for online. This is important when you’re trying to attract new patients since, on average, at least 75% of patients begin their search for a new provider online. Relevant content on your website can help these patients find you more easily in their online search because of the algorithms in search engines (but you don’t even need to understand all that to write a good healthcare blog).

Whether your practice specializes in behavioral health, dentistry, optometry, or physical therapy, write about topics people are seeking solutions for right now.

Use a free keyword search tool to help you select blog topics.

I can hear you asking, “But, how do I know what people want to know about my practice specialty?”

Great question. And to make it as easy as possible to find the answer, I recommend using a free keyword search tool such as WordStream. This free online resource is one of many tools that makes it easy to enter a keyword or keyword phrase that’s pertinent to your practice.

In the example below, you can see that I entered “mental health” as the keywords, selected Health as the industry, and Georgia, United States, as the location.

I click “Find My Keywords” and Wordstream loads my results so I can see what people in my area are currently searching for as it relates to mental health. (screenshot below)

The first page of this extensive list gives me a good idea of popular topics that people in my area are searching for, including:

  • Mental illness
  • Mental health awareness month
  • Mental disorder
  • Behavioral health

I can use the list as a jumping-off point to create my blog topics, such as:

  • Most Commonly Misunderstood Mental Disorders in Adults
  • How to Talk About Behavioral Health with Your Teenager
  • Does Mental Illness Run in Families?

A free keyword search tool helps you narrow in on topics and can help search engines find your blog more easily, too. 

Use a conversational tone

When you’re writing a healthcare article for your blog, try to explain complex topics in a way the “average reader” can digest. A friendly, conversational tone is usually a good choice because it’s relatable, easy to understand, and even conveys to your audience your healthcare organization is welcoming and approachable.

If you’re concerned about sounding authoritative or like an expert in your field, you can still do so through well-researched content—even without the medical and technical jargon that may be off-putting to a general audience. You want to keep your readers engaged so they return to your blog again and again. If you write in a language or tone that doesn’t resonate with your target demographic, you’ll lose them and they’ll move on to another provider in your area—most likely, one of your competitors.

Build trust through patient success stories

One way to keep readers engaged in your healthcare blog is through patient success stories, which help accomplish several important things:

  • Build patient trust
  • Highlight success stories for people with similar conditions
  • Make your practice/organization relatable
  • Give you third-party endorsements
The Process Recovery Center publishes genuine and compelling patient success stories.

When you let patients tell their stories through a quick phone interview or a patient feedback survey, you allow them to speak for your healthcare organization about their experience with the treatment they received. Positive third-party endorsements can have a powerful impact on your reputation and brand.

Remember earlier when I said the majority of patients begin their search for healthcare providers online? These prospects of your practice are reading patient reviews and forming opinions about your star rating on popular review sites. Imagine how great it will be when those same people arrive at your website and read blog posts that highlight patient success stories!

Answer common questions about procedures or treatments

One of the top reasons we all perform Google searches multiple times a day is to learn something new—to find an answer to a question. Let’s face it: Many times these searches are purely for entertainment purposes (or perhaps to settle a friendly dispute with a friend), but other times it’s out of concern for our health and wellbeing.

Notice how this blog aims to answer common questions about ADHD.

Before assuming the worst, we query Google, “What does it mean when I get a cramp in my leg?” Or, “When should I see a doctor about recurring headaches?” Or, “How do I get relief from heartburn?”

Whether you’re writing about behavioral health issues, dental procedures, or chiropractic treatments, your current and future patients have common questions they need answered. By providing straightforward discussions and answers to these questions, followed by a link on your website to make an in-person appointment or to schedule a virtual consultation, you’re helping to establish your organization as a valued resource for those in need of your services.