1) Acts as a first responder to issues
The chatbot effectively flags what doesn’t make sense to the audience on the UCI website, through the inquiries that come in. If everybody is asking Peter the same question it tells the team that this information isn’t on the website in a way that’s understandable or accessible.
Isabella explains, “If we see a lot of students having trouble with something then we know, ‘This probably isn’t accessible.’ The Gecko chatbot is a really great first responder to issues and it’s always been the front-facing way for us to figure out what the challenges are for our students. It’s the best real-time problem-solving tool that we have.”
2) Keeps UCI close to the user experience
The chatbot alerts the team to unclear communication that has been sent out to students. If the bot gets a flurry of inquiries in a short time on a particular subject the team can connect the dots and figure out that, for example, an email has gone out with unclear messaging.
“Sometimes we get a lot of inquiries overnight and we’re like, ‘I wonder what happened?’ Then we might realise that an email has gone out from the financial aid team, for example. We know these trends because of the chatbot, otherwise, we wouldn’t know what students are experiencing. The bot is an unfiltered catchall for what students are struggling with.”
3) Enables them to anticipate needs
The bot tracks the volume of inquiries UCI get about certain topics and alerts the team to what questions students are asking. It’s a really great way to streamline those needs and consider if there are any events or communications they can create to meet that need.
“If we’re thinking about first-generation students, for example, they might not even know to ask for something. But if we see questions on a certain topic being asked by a number of students we can anticipate that need and respond accordingly.”
4) Guides prospects to explore
“We have lots of information on our website already, but having a chatbot guides exploration for students and directs them to the right resources. Again, students don’t necessarily know what to ask, but they might tell us ‘I’m interested in majors’ or ‘I’m interested in x’ in the chat. By presenting them with Gecko skill trees, it promotes that exploration.”
5) Enables support and structure
“The bot gives us an opportunity for us to support students without them having to go and look for information, like finding the interest form on our website. They’re giving us their data and saying, ‘I’m interested in UCI’ and then we can start sharing helpful information with them and notifying them of events or application deadlines that they might not know about otherwise. That allows us to really support students through their journey.”