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The Importance of Managing Sub-Agents for AQF Compliance: Why You Need the Right CRM

  • 2 July 2024 (6 minutes to read)

Let’s be frank, a CRM system will not help you comply with AQF requirements, unless you have the right business processes. Only when you have understood the AQF requirements and adapted your business processes to address them, can you think about how you can ‘prove’ you’re a being compliant. A CRM system will help you to do just that – keep a provable record of what you and your team are doing, which you can showcase at any time.

In the dynamic field of international education, agents play a pivotal role in connecting prospective students with educational institutions. However, as the industry grows, the network of sub-agents operating under primary agents expands, making the need for effective management even more critical. Ensuring compliance with the Agent Quality Framework (AQF) is not only a matter of regulatory adherence but also of maintaining trust and integrity. The key to achieving this compliance lies in investing in a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, such as the SAMS CRM solution, which has sub-agent management capabilities built in.

The AQF sets stringent guidelines to ensure the quality and ethical standards of agents. These guidelines include ethical conduct, transparency, confidentiality and professionalism, which when sub-agents are involved, can become quite a challenge. Mismanagement or lack of oversight can lead to non-compliance, which can damage reputations and result in severe penalties. Your sub-agents are simply contractors, who, often believe, they don’t have any direct responsibility to your university partner and hence don’t need to follow guidelines so strictly. But you do.

Why Effective Sub-Agent Management is Crucial

  • Maintaining Data Integrity: Sub-agents handle vast amounts of sensitive student information. Ensuring that this data is accurately and securely managed across all levels is paramount. Any discrepancies can lead to significant compliance issues and tracing information back to the student can be difficult. At the end of the day, universities are only interested in the student and will prioritise the student and their needs above any primary/sub-agent dynamic, making the organisation of this data very critical.
  • Ensuring Ethical Conduct: Sub-agents must adhere to the same ethical standards as primary agents. Effective management ensures that all sub-agents are properly trained and monitored to uphold these standards. Being able to prove that sub-agents have been and continue to be trained is key. Simply stating that they have been trained may not be enough to satisfy any audit the universities or UK Government undertakes.
  • Streamlining Communication: Clear and consistent communication between primary agents, sub-agents, and educational institutions is crucial. Miscommunication can lead to errors and non-compliance. As mentioned above, universities will prioritise the student and may ask to communicate directly with students to verify the services and standards that the agent and sub-agent are delivering.
  • Facilitating Transparency: Detailed records of all transactions and interactions must be maintained for transparency and reporting purposes. This is particularly challenging with multiple sub-agents involved. Knowing that your sub-agents may or not mat be using their own network of sub-agents becomes extremely important. In a lot of cases, students are quick to blame their ‘agent’ for any alleged miscommunication, but trying to get to the bottom of who is the person or people advising the student can be frustrating and very challenging. In these cases, the simple action on behalf of the university is to terminate contracts.
  • Supporting Continuous Training: Ensuring that all agents, including sub-agents, receive ongoing training is essential for maintaining compliance and providing high-quality service. This is probably one of the trickiest to maintain, given the movement of staff across the industry. Maintaining a very robust training record of not just your sub-agents, but your sub-agents, sub-agents can become almost impossible unless you have a system that can manage that for you. 

Investing in the Right CRM System

To effectively manage sub-agents and ensure AQF compliance, investing in a robust CRM system is essential. A suitable CRM system not only streamlines operations but also provides the tools necessary for maintaining high standards of data integrity, communication, and transparency. Choosing the right CRM is something you should do very carefully. A CRM system that is generic and doesn’t understand the student journey or your regulatory requirements, will inevitably require you to spend hours and hours trying to configure it to fit your business. However, if a CRM is designed with your specific business in mind, it should be easy to implement and useable ‘right out of the box’.

Introducing SAMS CRM Solution

The SAMS CRM product is specifically designed to address the complexities of managing sub-agents as it has been designed by agents, for agents. Here’s how it can help:

  1. Sub-Agent Management: SAMS has built-in sub-agent management capabilities, allowing you to oversee and manage your network of sub-agents efficiently. This ensures that you can maintain and track, all agent’s adherence to AQF standards and practices. With dedicated portals for sub-agents to access their data, you can ensure they are communicating effectively with you and nothing gets missed.
  • Data Security and Accuracy: With SAMS, you can maintain accurate and secure records of all student data, applications, and interactions, reducing the risk of errors and breaches, whilst giving sub-agents full access to their students and the status of the students’ journey.
  • Streamlined Communication: The system facilitates seamless communication between primary agents, sub-agents, students and educational institutions, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
  • Transparency and Reporting: SAMS allows you to generate detailed reports and maintain comprehensive records, making it easier to demonstrate compliance during audits and offers you a brilliant house-keeping tool to manage your pipelines.
  • Training and Development: The CRM system can track training progress and ensure that all agents are up to date with the latest industry standards and regulations.

In the world of international education, managing sub-agents effectively is not just a matter of operational efficiency but a crucial component of compliance with the AQF. By investing in a robust CRM system like SAMS, you can ensure that all aspects of sub-agent management are handled with precision and integrity. This investment not only helps you stay compliant but also enhances the overall quality of service you provide to students and educational institutions. In a competitive industry, which may soon become regulated, the right tools make all the difference. Ensure your agency is equipped with the best CRM solution to navigate the complexities of sub-agent management and maintain AQF compliance seamlessly.

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