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In HigherEd, if you’re not fast, are you last?

Leading universities are utilizing technology to impact responsiveness and overall experience – for students and for staff.

It’s a fast-paced, digitized world where students no longer consider speedy service a ‘nice to have’.  Delivering high quality interactions precisely when and where wanted is not only expected, but it’s the key to staying ahead of the competition.  With speed in mind, let’s get straight to it, here are a few key ways technology has turbo-charged student and higher education staff experiences.


Immediate, personalized responses

Every minute of every day, universities are fielding the same old questions.  “Can you send me a prospectus?” “Where can I get information on financial aid” “How do I change the password to my university email account”.  The hours clocked up by staff answering questions, querying databases and taking appropriate actions are significant.

Conversational technology has been a game changer when it comes to this particular challenge.  HigherEd institutions can deploy chatbots across all their digital channels, such as website, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or text messaging, and use them to not only answer students’ questions immediately, but do it in a much more personalized, more meaningful way.  By integrating chatbot technology with back-end systems such as your CRM, you can draw on rich data to inform conversations and take appropriate, tailored actions.

For example, a prospective student from Beijing might message you asking if they can be connected with existing Chinese students.  By automatically querying the CRM, the chatbot can figure out what degree the student is interested in and send them options to register with an existing student from Beijing who is doing the same course.  Chatbots can do this immediately and around the clock, meaning greater convenience for your students and, ultimately, delivering a better and more valuable experience.


Maximizing staff time

Every higher education institution is looking at ways to improve efficiency, increasing the number of inquiries processed and actions taken and doing it all while not taking a hit on quality.  Chatbots enable all of this by not only being able to provide answers to some of students’ most common questions, but also by syncing conversations and information directly to CRM and student management systems.  The automation of these manual, tedious processes means staff can focus their attention on higher value areas of their jobs, as well as provide better quality service to students who need human assistance.

Chatbots aren’t the only tech to boost staff efficiency.  More holistic and wider reaching event platforms, for example, help staff to speed through a ton of other processes that have traditionally been either paper-based, manual or just plain inefficient.  Platforms like GeckoEngage enable tools such as optimized web forms that are on-brand and embeddable, meaning less manual transcription.   It can also streamline call campaigns through one-click calling, centralize comms channels into one manageable inbox, automatically gather feedback and even open up event portals to students allowing them to manage the logistics of their visit themselves.

These platforms create more efficient processes with automation baked in, meaning staff can do everything they did before and more.  Crucially, now they can do it better and faster.


Self-managing events

We mentioned event portals above, but they’re worth a closer look when it comes to speed of student service. Events can be stressful both for students as well as staff who organize them, due to the range of moving parts involved on both sides.  Self-service events portal are great because they take a big chunk of work off your teams and provide students with a much better overall experience.

Students are given more control to manage their entire visit from the convenience of their phone, tablet or computer.  They don’t have to fill in paper forms or access physical tickets.  Information on event sessions, campus tours, locations, accessibility, meal times and WiFi are immediately accessible through the portal.  They can ask questions, regardless of time of the time of day, and get an immediate response through live chat or a chatbot.  Everything about the portal is optimized for convenience and efficiency.

These are just a few examples of how technology can help you speed up both staff and student experiences.  It’s worth noting that these technologies were not just developed with speed in mind.  It’s the genuine transformation of the student experience and how they engage and interact with an institution that is the core goal.  Speed is just one of the many subsequent benefits.