18 March 2015
Facilitating Answers with Web Chat Software
Once a student has researched courses and narrowed down their choices to a select few universities, what can student recruitment officers do to tip the balance in their favour? At this point the student is likely to rely on their gut instinct; something which a well-trained recruitment officer can sway by pointing out the less obvious advantages of choosing their institution.
Such as making them aware of highly qualified and esteemed lecturers at the university, student testimonials and the proximity of facilities to the living areas.
When a student chooses a university they are not just selecting a place of study, they are choosing a home for the next 3 or more years. Your recruitment team probably gets caught up with trivial questions throughout the year, tying them up on the phone and filling up their inbox. Neither of these is ideal, phone enquiries are difficult to answer succinctly and require the full attention of the operator. Many universities also enforce a policy that requires notes to be made for each student engagement, taking up yet more valuable time that could be spent on other recruitment initiatives.
Emails have their place, but are unsuitable for trivial questions that could make or break a student’s decision. It is also easy to postpone answering these queries only for them to get lost in an ever-growing inbox – a particular problem leading up to UCAS deadlines, when student questions come thick and fast. It’s understandable that it can take your team days, if not weeks, to reply to students. By which time they may have lost interest.
Web chat software does not require a dedicated resource like a phone call
It also gives your recruitment team a much better opportunity to assess the student’s situation than email. Students are generally forthcoming about their university choices and will often share their reservations once engaged in a conversation, this is why it’s so important that your Student Recruitment Officer has the tools available to sway their decision there and then – they may not get a second chance.
For example, if a student is indecisive about two universities and is therefore finding out about the facilities available as a means of making a decision, they need as much information as possible. Let’s imagine the student visits University A’s website to find out the opening hours of their library and gym, but struggles to find the information. They take 5 minutes to find a contact number and then have to wait another 5 minutes before they get through to a university representative who then takes a couple of minutes to confirm the information.
The student makes a note of the answer and then visits the website of University B
Again, the student is overwhelmed by the available information. As they search for contact information they notice a “Chat with Us” button and select it. All university representatives are already engaged in chats but the web chat software format allows your recruitment team to engage with multiple students at once. The chat request is therefore accepted by an experienced member of your team. When the student asks about the opening hours of the library or gym, your chat operator can use a pre-defined reply (a prepared answer, aka canned response) or use the file transfer feature to send across a digital pamphlet with the information included.
Let’s imagine that your recruitment officer sends across the pamphlet and also answers the question. The student does not need to note down the information and instead leafs through the other information provided; discovering additional benefits that they had not previously considered.
The preparedness of University B and the file transfer feature made it possible for the student to come away with more than a few jotted notes. Furthermore, they did so without requiring the full attention of a university representative. This is just one example of a scenario where web chat software can give recruitment officers the edge when converting undecided students.
UK’s education sector is a competitive market; don’t lose students to other universities because of an incomplete communication platform. Speak to one of our University Coordinators for a no-obligation trial or demonstration on 0845 123 5871, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or start a chat.