03 February 2015
Living at University – Everyday Questions Answered by Web Chat Software
February marks the start of the second semester for most UK universities, a time when the admissions office starts supporting the recruitment effort for next year and the accommodations team is handling room exchanges for existing students as well as facility enquiries from prospective students
Questions about changing rooms to move in with friends or the cost of laundry machines and the university gym are quite common
Those students that commute or live particularly far away from home may also have questions about the local public transport, campus culture and the surrounding area. Some of these will require a customised answer, but the vast majority of these repetitive enquiries take an unjustified amount of time away from your admin and accommodations team.
We have mentioned pre-defined replies before, in our other university blogs, but that’s only because they really are one of the most effective tools for dealing with predictable enquiries in a time-saving yet accurate manner. For example, a student staying on campus during term breaks might want to know the opening times for the library or Students’ Union bar. Rather than tying up your team on the phone or typing out replies by email, live chat provides students with an instant answer that your operator can insert with a keyboard shortcut.
Web chat software doesn’t just help answer questions more efficiently with pre-defined replies, it also puts the student in contact with the right person.
Unlike phone or email, where the question needs to be forwarded manually to the right person, live chat software uses chat routing. This functionality allows you to dictate whether the student’s enquiry goes to a Hall Manager, Admissions Officer or Accommodations Officer based on where chat was initiated on the website. This means that chat operators within the University spend less time transferring enquiries and more time resolving them. For example, if a student needs to contact maintenance because their fridge breaks down, they can select the “Chat with Us” button on the university’s webpage about maintenance to be taken straight through to a relevant contact.
Though useful in quieter periods like February, the advantages of live chat are most obvious during the July – October rush. Facilities-related questions are ubiquitous around this time of year as students try to figure out the best possible place to live. Does the room include en-suite? How far are the lecture halls from my flat? Where is campus security located? These are time-consuming questions that could usually only be handled through multiple dedicated phone operators. However, web chat software means that a single member of your team can answer all of these questions simultaneously by engaging in multiple chats at the same time.
During peak periods it’s understandable that university staff needs to focus on processing housing applications and admissions, but they also shouldn’t leave emails unanswered or ignore voicemail messages that aren’t detailed enough to chase up properly. Quality web chat software will include a Call-Back function that captures student information outside of normal office hours or if chat operators are unavailable. This solution is highly effective because the call-back form can collect the student’s unique ID, phone number, email, course they want to study and any other details you deem necessary to follow up their enquiry.
February is a good time to prepare for the ensuing summer rush. Talk to our University Coordinator to find out how Click4Assistance is helping UK universities handle facilities, accommodations and admissions enquiries. Call us on 0845 123 5871, email firstname.lastname@example.org or start a chat!