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Case Study

Integrating Gecko with Slate: how UCI get 360° visibility of their prospect interactions

Integrating Gecko with Slate has enabled UCI to unlock powerful insights and solve prospective student pain points in better, faster, and smarter ways. Here’s how they did it...

Integrating Gecko with Slate: how UCI get 360° visibility of their prospect interactions

If you work in higher education, you probably want to solve students’ pain points and make the admissions process as seamless and straightforward as possible, right? But how do you do that if you don’t even know what prospects are struggling with?

UCI solved this challenge through their integration with Slate and Gecko. The integration ensures all interactions from their communication platforms, including the Gecko chatbot module, feed into one timeline. It means they’re able to get much better visibility of prospect pain points and respond to students in better, faster, and smarter ways.

Isabella Collas, Admissions Counselor at UCI, walked us through the process…

Isabella Collas
Gecko
“The integration is a really great way to increase consistency in our communication, across our website, email, on the phone, in-person, and chatbot conversations. Now everything is logged in one place and the Gecko chatbot conversations are part of that timeline.”
Gecko
Isabella Collas
Admissions Counselor

Objective

UCI wanted to find a way to stop prospective students from slipping through the cracks. They also wanted to find a way to anticipate the needs of prospects and deliver a more customer-centric experience that felt inclusive and accessible.

UCI caters to a very diverse student population which includes under-represented minorities and first-generation college students, and so it was important to them to find ways of supporting prospects through every step of their application journey. They wanted to meet the needs of these prospects, without them even having to articulate those needs.

Challenge

Previously, the main way that UCI captured student data was at events and through data capture forms on their website. However, UCI found that there were a lot of students who were slipping through the cracks with this approach. The reason was twofold; sometimes students weren’t ready to share their data or the recruitment team simply didn’t get an opportunity to speak to all of the students they wanted to at these events.

Another big issue was that there wasn’t a consistent approach to how they were responding to prospect inquiries across different channels. Not only did that mean students weren’t getting a consistent experience, but staff also weren’t able to share best practice.

Isabella adds, “We’d have a number of people in our team working with the same student and not know about it. There wasn’t a consistent approach to dealing with a problem and students may have got different information from different people on different days.”

creating inclusion through chatbots

Solution

A key part of delivering their objective was the integration of Slate with their communication platforms, including the Gecko chatbot. UCI tracks interactions with prospects from multiple sources, including…

  • Website
  • Email
  • In-person interaction
  • Phone interaction
  • Gecko chatbot module

Pulling data from their communication channels, including the Gecko chatbot, enabled UCI to have a 360-degree view of what prospective students are engaging with. With a clear timeline of all interactions, they can see what content prospects are looking at on the website, what questions they’re asking in emails and on chat, and what they need help with. They can then direct them to content and events that align with their interests.

“Our Slate timeline logs all interactions that we have with our students. Everything is tracked and it’s really helpful for us because when we’re helping students, we’re equipped with the knowledge of what they’ve been doing beforehand.”

Result

1) Being able to anticipate student needs

“The integration means we can solve problems without students even having to open their mouth – we can get all the information we need from their timeline. It gives us the ability to reach out to prospective students and anticipate their needs before they articulate it.

“By capturing the data in advance we can then be proactive and send out an email that says, ‘We’re having this specific workshop – would you like to attend?’ or, ‘We’re having this financial aid session you may be interested in?’ We can give them the support they need.”

2) Increased specificity and personalization

“When we see prospects asking about certain topics through chat conversations and then searching for it on the website and then making a phone call, we can identify trends.

“Maybe a student isn’t sure if they meet a certain requirement or they’re out of state and they want to know what the A-G requirement looks for out of state? We can help them by adding them to the mailing list of our out-of-state events, or let them know about college fairs we’re attending in their area where we’re doing application workshops.”

3) A consistent brand message

“The integration increases communication across multiple functions and it makes sure teams are consistent with their communications across different teams and people. It means that different teams at UCI can be fully united front who are all saying the same thing.

“We’ve also utilized a way of archiving conversations that will keep that consistency and inform us how to best help students. If we know students are having challenges with a particular topic we can make sure they get the same answer, whoever they ask.”

4) Accountability for our staff

“A lot of students will come to the team at UCI with all sorts of inquiries. Every time a student speaks to us, either in person or online, we track it. Now we know who talked to who, what’s being said, and how we can be more effective communicators.

“It’s also reassuring for us to have all these interactions on record. We know exactly what has been said and there’s no room for interpretation. In the current climate of higher education, it’s important we have a record of student conversations.”

Isabella Collas
Gecko
“The integration means we can solve problems without students even having to open their mouth - we can get all the information we need from their timeline. It gives us the ability to reach out to prospective students and anticipate their needs before they articulate it.
Gecko
Isabella Collas
Admissions Counselor