One of the mantras most continuing education units are chanting is “let revenue generators generate revenue.” Course programmers and salespeople must spend as much time as possible generating revenue and not being involved in the day-to-day activities of the unit.
In the 1990s, LERN introduced the Information Specialist position as an operations/front line staff position developed to give revenue generators time to focus on revenue generation. An Information Specialist is a member of the Operations Team who understands policies, procedures, processes, and as much possible about the continuing education unit, thus positioning them to help customers so their questions and requests do not need to be handled by revenue generators.
Some of the key responsibilities of an Information Specialist can be:
- Answering customer questions
- Advising customers on the courses/etc. they should be taking
- Doing retention marketing, as they follow-up with inquiries, as well as students in certificate programs
- Making decisions on refunds up to $X amount
- Gathering information from revenue generators and keeping front line staff in the know
- Handling go/no-go decisions
Finding the right person is not always easy. Ideally the Information Specialist should be a person who has been a member of the continuing education unit for a long enough time to understand how continuing education operates. Some of the best Information Specialists are staff members who have been class programmers.