20 January 2015
Web Chat Software - A Better International Channel
Welcome back and happy New Year! After such a relaxing December break it’s hard to get back into the swing of things. Just before Christmas we discussed how web chat software can help deal with funding and cost-related questions
Our series of university-related blogs has covered a wide range of topics over the last year, but only touched on international students
According to a BBC source, overseas students are worth £5bn per year to the UK. With this in mind, it’s probably worth investing in better support for them.
International students present a unique challenge. For example, the fact that international students may not receive their student visa until the last minute can introduce a nasty little trap when trying to secure accommodation. To avoid international students arriving in the country at the start of term without somewhere to live it’s important to establish a relationship earlier on with regular correspondence. As long as the student has access to the internet, web chat software offers a low cost means for the university and student to communicate. Visiting a local internet café and chatting directly with a representative from your university is the only option for international students with limited funds or for those who cannot dial internationally for other reasons. With no additional costs involved, web chat is the only communication channel that is 100% accessible to anyone in the world.
On a more practical level, web chat software eliminates language barrier problems stemming from unclear pronunciation or unusual dialects. This means your admissions and accommodations team can avoid awkward and protracted communication over phone and enjoy a more relaxing engagement via chat. They can even copy and paste text into Google Translate if the student needs to resort to their native language. In terms of functionality, ‘Invite Operator’ and ‘File Transfer’ are two of the most useful tools when processing international student enquiries. The former can be used during admissions enquiries to invite an expert on international placement into chat and make the student feel more valued. The latter is the best function for sending across detailed instructions for visa applications or translations of standard university documents.
It is also reasonable to assume that international students will be more nervous and have more questions than their domestic counterparts
For every question about the culture and local town that requires a custom answer there will be 3 that could be resolved with a pre-defined reply. Have your expert on international students draft up answers that can be used across the department. This will allow your chat operators to reply with succinct answers and save considerable time compared to a phone call.
Not only do the advantages of web chat software help boost conversion of international students, it simplifies the process and saves time because there is no need to write up a summary of each engagement – correspondence with international students can just be copied and pasted. Universities that are serious about international students and want to remain competitive in the international market should have already implemented web chat software.
Our University Coordinator is available to answer your questions about the practical applications of web chat software for your university. Call our dedicated UK team on 0845 123 5871 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an online demonstration, information about our trial or an informal chat about the Click4Assistance Toolbox.