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Communicating with students on their terms

 

The use of technology to connect with people is nothing new – yet many universities are still using archaic methods for their Student Recruitment and Clearing activity. Live chat is helping both marketing and admissions teams transform their Clearing comms – from reducing phone and email enquiries to providing quicker and less formal online chat. Not only does live chat provide a more streamlined experience, but also one that the generation leaving school today are far more familiar and comfortable with.

Research tells us that 77% of students expect to receive important information via text (Medium, 2017) and 33% of students want to use live chat to confirm their offer (The National Clearing Survey, Net Natives, 2018). That might be obvious, but solving the riddle of which changes you should be implementing in order to boost student engagement through the recruitment cycle can be difficult.

The University of Gloucestershire had been using a live chat service for a few years and it proved highly successful in the way that it allowed them to interact with students. Natasha Cresswell, Admissions & Enquiries Manager for the University of Gloucestershire, found that live chat allowed for longer and more meaningful conversations.

People are more comfortable expressing themselves on live chat, much more so than they are by phone, and as a result they ask all manner of questions.

But with GDPR looming, they needed a more robust platform that could guarantee how and when collected data would be used – something their live chat service couldn’t do. So, they implemented our Meet & Engage Live Chat Events Platform to use the 1-2-1 chat functionality for in-bound Clearing enquiries.

Natasha explains;

The technology is easy and intuitive to use and it allowed us to limit the number of multiple conversations. This was hugely beneficial when staffing levels were down as it meant we could switch to a lower number to suit the team without affecting the end user.

Each day, Natasha had three or four members of the team covering the 1-2-1 live chat, ramping up to 14 and 15 during peak periods. Because pop-up alerts notified the team when a new question came through, they could easily get on with other responsibilities. Another key benefit for Natasha was the audit trail of the conversation which can be accessed at any time, “particularly key when offers have been made via the system”. If a student came back on a separate occasion, the team member responding to the new query had sight of the previous dialogue.

Live engagement in conjunction with automation is one innovation that more and more universities are looking to implement. Using chatbots to signpost and gather all-important data before handing over to a human to really maximise student engagement makes it easy for students to communicate effortlessly and in real-time.

Right now, innovation is the new ‘normal’. Consumer sites are setting the pace in terms of what we expect when we log on and try to find the information we want. Students are constantly receiving new information from multiple digital sources and their decision-making is ever evolving as they process each piece of new information. Once they have made their decision about which universities to visit and apply to, they expect their next steps to be seamless and convenient. Of course, they are seeking a personalised experience, but that’s always seen in the context of speed-of-response and Meet & Engage can help with that.

 

If you would like to find out more about our Live Chat platform and how it could support you and your team throughout the busy clearing period, get in touch at info@meetandengage.com to hear from one of our student marketing experts.

 

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