What I Learned About NOT Playing Professional Hockey

I was asked to give a process improvement talk at a conference. When I give these talks, I usually give the person doing the introducing a pre written introduction. I’d learned that a good intro sets up a great talk, engages participants, etc. This time I forgot to do my intro. As per standard conference protocol, this chap, whom I know casually, got up and said, “This is Gregg Meiklejohn, he’s Canadian and he used to play Pro Hockey. Ladies and Gentlemen, Gregg Meiklejohn!”

My mind is whirring; “What the heck did that guy just say?!?? I’ve never played a day of pro hockey in my life!” He’s smirking as he’s walking away. I have no choice but to roll with it. I try and jump into the fray to deliver a good process improvement talk, but the intro rattled my chains. I gave a self-admitted mediocre talk to tepid applause. The first question at the end was “How does pro hockey have anything to do with Admissions and Marketing in EDU?” And it got worse… After the talk a friend came up and said, “Dude, that was an underwhelming talk…by the way, where’d you play hockey?”

I staggered back to my room, ordered a Cobb Salad from Room Service and watched, you guessed it, hockey, on ESPN and fell asleep in my salad.

What does this story have to do with Enrollment Management? Plenty. It’s a metaphor.

Every day when an Admissions Rep picks up a live transfer call from a Receptionist or Call Centre, the Rep has no clue as to how they have been framed up. Has the Receptionist set the Rep up to win with a great intro or sent the poor Rep what we called in Rugby (my real sport), a “Hospital Pass.”

We have listened to thousands of these calls over the years and I’m here to tell you, Receptionists and Call Centres do their Reps no favours. So, here’s how we fix this –  a simple five minute solution that I hope would add 5% to your overall revenue.

Tip: Consistently setting your Reps up for Success

  1. Write a cool bio on each of your reps. Example: “You will be talking to Sally, she’s a dog person, has three kids and uses a collaborative approach in her work. Whether you go to school with us or not, you will enjoy your time with Sally.”
  2. Have the Receptionist share this information “every” time at the end of each call.

The benefit is obvious.

The Rep will know in advance how the prospective student is being passed to them and will be confident they have not been sent a “Hospital Pass.” It sets up a consistent, positive predisposition for each call, framing up the reps as humans. Try this simple process improvement and you will see a modest lift in show rate, followed by a revenue increase.

Gregg