Bookstores know how valuable it is to develop strong relationships with faculty members. Even though both the bookstore and faculty want to do what’s best for students, there are challenges: faculty and bookstore staff are busy, each face their own deadlines and the store’s timeline for faculty adoptions may not always match with faculty’s preferred timeline. That’s why communication is key.
To help your store boost faculty relations, we have gathered a few tips that will prepare your store for effective faculty communication.
Be clear and concise
The first tip is to make sure all of your communication with faculty is clear and concise. Faculty members are likely to be very busy between working with students, serving on committees and a myriad of other responsibilities. Share the information faculty need as clearly as possible. More than likely if faculty read emails from the store, it is at a glance. When you are sending them email communications, make sure that the most important information stands out and catches the eye. Use formatting tools like bold, bullet points or sub-headers. Keep the tone polite and make sure deadlines are clearly visible in multiple locations.
Make things simple
Next, if what you are asking faculty to do seems time consuming, they are more likely to put it off. So, make sure the process to submit next term’s adoptions is simple and easy to follow. Give clear instructions about how to submit their adoptions online or directly to you. Also, if you can, include the information about the books they previously adopted for their courses and if there is a new edition of those texts. That way if they want to readopt or adopt the new edition, the information is at their fingertips.
Set up a standard communication plan for faculty. Consistent communication makes it more likely faculty will begin to anticipate when they need to have certain information turned into the bookstore. An example plan might include an early term reminder about the upcoming adoption deadlines and why on-time adoptions matter (save students money, students can see the adopted materials at registration, etc.). After the initial email, plan to send another reminder to all faculty who have not submitted their adoptions every two weeks, increasing the tone of urgency as the adoption deadlines near. Having a set schedule makes it harder for faculty to forget or ignore their deadlines. If adoptions still aren’t made by the deadline, make sure the store has its next course of action already planned. You might email the deans, letting them know what courses still do not have an adoption and how that can negatively impact student costs. (Check out this blog post for more information about how to start textbook adoption conversations with deans or administrators.)
Does your store have an effective faculty communication plan? Tell us about it in the comments below.