Turn your website into an AI chatbot in less than 60 seconds with our interactive demo. Show me!

What’s the Impact? How to Measure the ROI of Gecko

measuring ROI with Gecko


Anyone in a senior leadership role in higher education will know that there are three little letters that are incredibly important when it comes to any conversations about a new technology solution. R-O-I.

So, how do you measure your return on investment? What does that look like? Well, we’re glad you asked. Of course, it’s not enough to simply introduce a fancy new technology solution. You need to prove the value of that technology solution, at regular intervals. If not, you run the risk of your product moving into the ‘at risk’ pile when budget conversations come into play.

In this blog, we outline some of the ways that a smart technology solution, like Gecko, can make your team of two feel like a team of 20.

Here are the highlights:

  • Reduce administration work by 50%
  • Increase enrollment by 3%
  • Decrease the number of emails and calls
  • Remove thousands (yes, thousands) of manual emails
  • Increase student engagement
  • Manage more applications… with the same number of staff
  • Boost team morale
  • Help your staff do their jobs better
  • Answers thousands of queries from out of the office


01. Decrease in Other Communication Channels

How do you measure the impact of bringing in new technology? Well, one of the first things you can do is track whether the number of inquiries coming via your other communication channels (calls, emails, and in-person inquiries) decreases as the uptake of the new technology increases.

NYU School of Medicine saw a decrease of 15% in inquiries to their inbox after they introduced the Gecko chatbot and live chat module to their institution. Similarly, Arapahoe Community College saw a decrease in the number of calls they received after they introduced their chatbot. Kayce O’Brien, Director of Admissions at Arapahoe, explains…

“I was able to document that as the chatbot got smarter and as more people started to use it, our call volume went down. Chat conversations increased, call volume went down, and my team took a sigh of relief because they weren’t constantly answering the phones.”


02. Increase Team Morale

Answering the same questions over and over again would be challenging on any team. Any admissions teams probably has to answer some questions each week. How do I apply? Where can I get a prospectus? Where can I get more information about financial aid? For the student, it’s the first time. For the member of staff, it’s the hundredth time.

As Lamar University shared, having to answer those questions over and over again can be wearing on a team. With a chatbot you can intercept the easy stuff. You can still deliver a great service to students… while also boosting team morale and preventing your staff from having to pick up the phone and answer those questions over and over again.

Tracie Craig Lamar University
“Encountering the same questions over and over can wear on the team and ties them to the phones when they could be doing more valuable things. Allowing the bot to parrot the answers to those common questions has boosted team morale.”
Tracie Craig
Director, Lamar University

03. Elimination of Manual Processes

Manual processes are a time suck in higher education. Everything from manually updating spreadsheets to sending emails to prospects can massively eat into your team’s time. But what if we told you that a smart technology platform like Gecko can help you remove some of those manual processes – permanently?

We’re not talking about it on a small scale either. The University of Bath shared how they were able to remove a massive 20,000 emails from their applicant experience day events process to create a much more efficient process. Hugh Tonking, CRM Manager at the University of Bath, told us more…

“Our applicant visit day events span across 18 departments and represent around 160 individual events. The management and the handling of all the associated communications is a massive workload. Gecko has enabled us to take out the manual comms process for those departments to the tune of around 20,000 emails. It’s meant that those teams and departments can now spend their energy on running the day itself.”


04. Helps Your Team Do Their Job Better

We’ve probably all had to work with pretty ropey systems and processes at some in our careers. Pen and paper. Copying and pasting from spreadsheets. Where smart technology can add value is to smooth out some of those clunky processes and make your teams’ lives so much easier!

This is what California University of Pennsylvania found to be the case with their team of student telecounselors. Before Gecko, their process was super manual. Using Gecko Cloud Call Center module, they’ve been able to level up their call campaigns and support their telecounselors with call scripts and automated follow-up communications, depending on call outcomes.

“I forget how prehistoric it was, the way they used to do things. Gecko has taken our student workers from being callers to telecounselors, which is a notable change in both title and responsibility.”

Toni Hartley
“The students who moved from the old process to the Gecko platform were thrilled. Gecko made it so much easier for them to do their job. It increased not only their motivation but also their efficiency and output.”
Toni Hartley
Director of Communications and Education Pathways

05. Increase in Engagement

Attendee feedback is a crucial component of any successful event in higher education. However, it can often be tricky to get – especially if you have to manually process your data and you can only get your post-event survey out a number of days after your event. Add to the fact that you’re communicating by email and there’s even more chance of it getting crickets.

What if we told you there was another way? Sam Houston State University now send its post-event communications via text. They’re also able to automate their workflows to trigger on the same day of the event, which means attendees receive it when it’s still front of mind. As a result, they’ve seen the number of survey responses they get increase from 10% to 30%.

Courtney Chastine, Director of Visitor Services, at Sam Houston State explains what’s made the biggest impact. “Now we’ve started texting students, we get a 30% response rate. We text the visitor survey about two hours after the event is over, so it’s still fresh in their minds. We’re getting more pertinent data, and we’re getting more of it.”


06. Scalability, Without Extra Staff

How can you scale up your student engagement activity… without hiring any additional staff to support you? It may sound like a riddle but it’s actually what a smart technology solution can enable you to do: handle large volumes of student communication without compromising on the amazing experience you’re delivering for prospective students.

UCI are just one example of this. They recognized that they had to turn to technology to help them manage the high volume of applications they receive each year. They found that they were able to process an additional 50,000 applications each year without hiring any additional staff to help them.

Bryan Jue
“You don't need to always add more staff in more places, it's leveraging your staff in the right way and using technology to be able to deliver in a responsive way.”
Bryan Jue
Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, UCI

07. More Time for More Meaningful Activity

We talk a lot about time sucks in higher education. But when teams are stretched, time is short, and you can’t efficiently manage day-to-day volume of tasks, it impacts how well you’re able to work strategically.

Northumbria University is a part of the NU Entry Scheme, which aims to support underrepresented and undersupported students. They recognized that the time they were spending on administration tasks was limiting and was impacting the student experience. Since introducing automated emails and texts their Wellbeing Practitioner has doubled the amount of time he spends in schools and broadened the outreach of the programme.

As well as 50% less time spent on admin, Northumbria has seen a 37.2% increase in the completion rate of students in the programme. This goes to show that smart technology solutions can really make a difference where it matters the most – to students.


08. Out of Hours Coverage

Imagine being able to answer inquiries when you’re not in the office. Being able to get back to students and deliver great customer service over the weekend. Getting students from different time zones information when they need it? Being available when someone really wants to get their hands on a digital prospectus at 11.30pm on a Tuesday night?

When you use a smart solution like Gecko your technology continues to work hard for you, outside of core hours. UCI answered nearly 25,000 inquiries when they weren’t in the office. Similarly, over 50% of chat conversations at Lamar University happened out of hours, which are all conversations that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have. Smart technology ensures you’re available when students need support, 24/7.


09. Increase Efficiency – and Enrolment!

Seeing an increase in enrollment numbers following the implementation of a technology solution is probably the ultimate goal for any institution. And while it’s tricky to pinpoint an enrollment increase to one thing, Arapahoe Community College was able to boost their efficiency and enrollment.

Despite a number of challenges – enrollment declines across the sector, the pandemic, and losing 160 hours of student workers due to lockdown – ACC saw a clear uptick in their enrollment numbers following their Gecko chatbot implementation. Kayce O’Brien, Director of Admissions, explains more.

“The Gecko chatbot has been an instrumental tool for us. The chatbot has been a key component for connecting with students in an on-demand communication era, but has also yielded operations efficiency and supported ACC during a time when we were able to grow our enrollment by 3%. It’s been an excellent complement to our pro-active communication strategies.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get ready for your monthly dose of all things Gecko, including:

  • Top tips to level up your Gecko game
  • Priority invites to our events and webinars
  • Access to insights on the latest in AI and tech