Having worked in the HigherEd sector quite some time and having run a student analytics program for a few years, I naturally can’t help but to dig into some student data to really start giving you a sense of what customer analytics is.
In those years, I had access to most of the same data an online business has today (Google Analytics, CRM, social medias, etc.) but also some physical data of student’s interactions with points of service. We had lots of customer data that allowed us to derive some interesting insights on their journeys and how our services could help them push through the hard times and eventually graduate.
With the infrastructure we built, we were able to recreate a student’s journey such as the one that follows. Note that the data here is fictious and only serves the purpose of demonstrating what customer analytics is.
Now if you took that building block and aggregated it for all students, or a segment of those users, you could get the following picture.
Of course, you would probably be more interested in understanding the journey of a specific segment of your students and only focus on them. For example, let’s say we’re interested in understanding the first year of international students as they do face challenges that are quite distinct than other students – then we would segment our data to only keep their journeys.
Now if your goal is only to map the journey of those students at this point, nothing easier than to just start investigating every interaction that’s underneath that aggregated visualization. You can start building a picture of those students in terms of demographic and psychographic criterias, how their journey differs than others, as well as how their interactions are unique to them.
Of course students are not customers but we could argue that the relationship built between an institution and those students is quite similar to the one with customers. An institution becomes a partner to a student, helping them achieve their academic goal (as well as professional, social and personal) by delivering the right services at the right time.
To successfully play their part, institutions need to understand their students as they’re far from being an homogeneous bunch. There are so many segmentations possible to be made on those 4 axis (demographics, psychographics, journeys and interactions) that to understand behaviours and influence them requires a powerful analytical infrastructure that enriches how student affair professionals intervenes in a student’s journey towards graduation.
The same arguments could be made for any business that wants to enrich their relationships with their own customers and influence their behaviours towards more mutually beneficial actions.