Higher ed notebook
April 11, 2022
6 min read

Synchronous vs. asynchronous communication: Build trust with students

Digital communication is broken. In a world of automations, bots and merge fields, you have the chance to stand out. And to connect more authentically with students. But forming loyal bonds with your audience goes far beyond dollars and cents. It’s about building trust that lasts longer, boosts alumni support, and increases school spirit – the intangibles.

A Boston Consulting Group study found that when their buying experience was personalized, people were 40% more likely to spend more than they had planned.

So, how do you create a stronger bond with your students? Bridge the gap between you and them. Personalize your messaging and use an asynchronous approach.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous communication

In today’s digital world, especially after the global pandemic, the topic of asynchronous communication vs. synchronous communication is hotly contested. What does each mean? How do they differ? And which is better for your and your university – not only amongst your team members but with your students as well?

What is synchronous communication?

The more traditional method of communication, synchronous messaging simply means conversations that occur in real-time. An in-person discussion between two friends, a heated customer service phone call, and an on-campus tour are all examples of synchronous communication. 

Does your organization have any elements of synchronous communication internally or externally? Most do. Sync, for short, is the backbone of human communication. It’s how we learned to converse and how we have spoken with one another for thousands of years.

What is asynchronous communication?

What’s changed in the past few decades is the introduction of the internet and other technologies that allow us to talk with each other asynchronously. Asynchronous communication is any communication where one person shares information and doesn’t get a response from the recipient immediately. In other words, there’s a lag between messages.

Async communication has been a hot topic during COVID-19 as companies and universities around the world prioritized their employees’, customers’ and students’ well-being. With a stronger emphasis on work-life balance and mental health, many employers have encouraged their workers to leverage modern communication and remote work. Thus, eliminating the need for teams to be physically present together to get things done.

Synchronous and asynchronous communication

Asynchronous work has taken the world by storm. For workers who didn’t need to go to the office everyday, many realized they could work anywhere in the world with an internet signal – despite time zones. Remote work and async communication have allowed team members to accomplish similar, if not even greater, objectives and prioritize work-life balance.

Universities have also used modern communication to message asynchronously with their students as well. Because student-facing team members couldn’t interact physically with prospective students, they had to leverage async communication to put a face to the university’s name, support them, and create loyal bonds. Some universities implemented asynchronous workflows in their student admissions process a decade ago and are now async veterans.

Benefits of asynchronous communication with students

Why does this matter? Asynchronous communication actually helps your students just as much as it helps you and your admissions function.

Opt for flexibility

Your students are not a monolith. Using a mass approach to communicate with all of them at the same time, your admissions team members will tell you that they’re not engaging as many as they’d like. Modern, asynchronous communication technology – like a video tool – allows you to reach your prospective students in the way they wanted to be reached.

TikTok, basketball practice, school, Instagram, after-school programs, piano lessons, college applications. No more competing for students’ time – and losing. Asynchronous workflows allow you to personalize the admissions experience and meet your students where they are with messages that they resonate with. 

Reach a captive audience

Your emails reach a passive audience. Your students didn’t ask for your message, and typically, they’re not receiving it when they’d prefer to receive it. Sure, they may still engage with that message.

When you craft content specifically for your students and they can view on their own time, engagement skyrockets. This is why universities who use Goodkind videos to communicate with their prospective students see such high engagement numbers and yields.

Asynchronous communication benefits

Build trust

In an admissions world fraught with automations, bots and merge fields, you can stand out by personalizing your outreach and genuinely connecting with your prospective students.

Asynchronous workflows allow you to be more honest, thoughtful and intentional with your words.

Tech founder Sahil Lavingia claims that when his company started working asynchronously, all communication was instantly more thoughtful. “Because nothing is urgent, comments are made after mindful processing and never in real-time.” 

Imagine leveraging an asynchronous video tool to message a student in any of these scenarios:

  • Communicating with a student about an issue with their application
  • Inviting them to an on-campus tour
  • Congratulating them on being accepted to your institution

No matter the subject matter of the conversation, you have an opportunity to create a lasting impact on them and their perception of your university.

Implementing asynchronous workflows

Transitioning from a synchronous communication strategy to an async communication approach doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes, all it requires is a simple addition to your tech stack – perhaps a video tool. On the other hand, you may have to revamp your student promotion strategy to fit your new asynchronous approach. Here are a few things to consider when implementing asynchronous communication tools:

  • How does async communication affect your students?
  • How does async communication affect you, your team members, and other stakeholders?
  • Which asynchronous communication tools accomplish your goals to personalize the admissions process and build trust?
  • If applicable, how will you notify your students of communications changes?

Using the right asynchronous communication tools

Wondering which video tool or other asynchronous communication tools are right for your team members?

Video is emerging as a leader of the async communication movement. In the digital age and especially with your target audience of Gen Zers, video is an efficient, quick and personal way to communicate with your students.

For example, you can easily add Goodkind’s video platform to your student admissions process. Commonly used as either a supplement or replacement of email in universities’ tech stacks, Goodkind allows admissions departments to personalize their outreach, connect deeply with prospective students in a way that traditional mediums like email cannot, and stand out from their competition.

Other asynchronous communication tools are SMS, email and forums.

As you think about how communication has changed and will change in the near future, at the top of your list should be personalization and asynchronous communication. Forbes exclaimed, “In a world where the vast majority of companies are focused on improving personalization, companies that don’t prioritize creating a tailored experience run the risk of getting left behind.” 

Asynchronous tools like Goodkind allow you to provide personalized content when students are most captive. Then, they’re more likely to engage with your content and take your desired action – whether that’s attending a prospective student event or choosing your institution as their university for the next four years.

Book a demo of Goodkind. Or, get a real video example from a human on our team.

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