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October 4, 2023

2023 Enquiry Experience Tracker Global Report

The global results from the 2023 Enquiry Experience Tracker (EET23) provide a snapshot, not only of good and bad practice, but also of shifting trends on the different approaches that universities adopt towards enquiry management.

Read on for a peek at the key findings and then download your copy of the full report.

Key findings

The top performing institution globally was Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Institutions across Australia and New Zealand were consistently rated well by mystery shoppers. Six out of the top 10 scoring institutions were from the ANZ region.

When it comes to the global leader board, Scottish universities have ousted competitors to claim the top average score. Responses from Scottish universities were rated the friendliest and most trusted in the world, and three quarters of Scottish universities in the survey scored above world average.

The UK received an average Enquiry Experience Score that was just one point higher than the global average, while Canada was one point below.

Key findings from the 2023 Enquiry Experience Tracker

This year’s results highlight clear improvement opportunities and demonstrate how concerted efforts by institutions and countries can really move the needle on student experience.

  • One in 4 enquiries do not get a response and only half of institutions globally follow up on leads.
  • Over 90% of students felt they could trust the information they received, but only four in 10 felt replies were warm or approachable.
  • By far the weakest area for almost all institutions was persuasiveness, with most missing out on opportunities to sell themselves.
  • Around 40% of institutions evaluated in the study received negative ratings from half or more mystery shoppers due to bad service.
  • Only 1 in 5 prospective students have a positive experience when they enquire to colleges and universities through social media.

Despite these challenges, significant progress has been made by institutions committed to improvement. A quarter of institutions have improved their rating from ‘below world average’ to ‘above world average’ in the past 12 months. Fanshawe College in Canada was acknowledged as the ‘most improved’ institution worldwide.

About the EET23

Edified’s Enquiry Experience Tracker is an annual study developed in partnership with student conversion specialists UniQuest. It sees mystery shoppers pose as prospective students and place enquiries with institutions via multiple channels. They assess the experience against a range of criteria and we compare the results.

The 2023 research included 128 institutions worldwide, including approximately one third of all UK universities, more than half of Australian and New Zealand universities and more than one third of higher education providers in Canada’s British Columbia and Ontario provinces.

For the first time, the 2023 study evaluated Instagram and referral websites as enquiry channels along with channels assessed in previous years – email, enquiry form, live chat and peer-to-peer tools.

The research included 128 higher education institutions in top study destinations

Commenting on the results, Elissa Newall, Partner at Edified and Project Director of the Enquiry Experience Tracker, says:

“Students really do have high expectations. They expect prompt and personal service through the channel of their choice. It’s simply not good enough to ignore messages on social media or to brush students off by asking them to send an email instead. You really only get one chance to make a good first impression.”
“One of the reasons this mystery shopping research is so valuable is because it shines a spotlight on areas that might be forgotten or out of view. It prompts institutions to start looking into different channels and having conversations about their enquiry processes and content. The EET is now in its third year, and it’s fascinating to track institutions’ progress over time and see who is bedding down meaningful improvements year-on-year.”

Rachel Fletcher, co-founder and CEO of UniQuest, adds:

“Prospective students are walking away from institutions if they’re not satisfied with the level of responsiveness. On the other hand, our data shows that those who have a good enquiry experience with reciprocal engagement from the institution are three times more likely to convert to enrolment. As the recruitment landscape becomes ever more competitive, those institutions who invest in improving the enquiry experience will reap the reward.”

Get a copy of the 2023 global report

Download the report, using the form below, to see the full results along with global and regional benchmarks. The report includes analysis of responsiveness, enquiry channels, communication quality, follow-up practices and impact.

Find out which institutions performed best in this year's research over at our EET23 Award Winners post.

You can also watch the recording of The PIE webinar where Elissa Newall joins Nick Golding from The PIE to present the global results. You'll also hear from Rachel Fletcher and Karen Martin, Head of Enquirer and Applicant Communications at University of Dundee as they share their perspectives.

Registrations for the 2024 Enquiry Experience Tracker will open in November, for universities and higher education providers globally. An early bird discount is available until 31 December 2023.

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