21 May 2015
Web Chat Software: The Digital Education Race
The further education landscape is evolving at such a rapid pace that successful student recruitment is becoming something of an art. Word of mouth and face-to-face contact with university representatives needs to be combined with advertising, promotional documents and less traditional types of marketing, like mobile.
In a competitive marketplace institutions need to strike the right balance when connecting with potential students. Students have come a long way from walking through university doors to pick up a glossy prospectus.
The pressure is on for UK universities as the need to invest in digital channels grows.
Students expect further education institutes to have a strong online presence. They want to communicate online with members of the university so they can understand their courses and make an informed choice. This means that Student Recruitment Officers can receive a wide variety of questions are already adopting new technology, like web chat software, to answer them. There are three questions in particular that are raised more often than any others, and that live chat software can help to answer:
The Cost – With tuition loan up to £9,000 a year it’s understandable that students want to get the most for their money. It is the responsibility of the university’s recruitment and marketing professionals to show why their organisation is a good investment. Tuition loans may seem simple to those unfamiliar with the system, but some courses are subsided by the NHS, the government or even the university itself if the student is entitled to funding. Student recruiters need an understanding of the funding for each of their university’s courses but any gaps in their knowledge can be covered by directing the enquiring student’s browser to a page on the website with the relevant information.
The Quality – It’s in their best interest to research university courses, write a statement and meet their conditional offers.
Choosing a university is one of the biggest and most important decisions in a student’s life as a result.
How many contact hours does the course have? Is there an option to include work experience or a year abroad? These are the kinds of questions university representatives need to be prepared to answer. In order to sound convincing and have a comprehensive understanding of all courses, recruiters may need to specialise in a select few.
The Career – Some prospective undergraduates often know what course they want to study, but have little idea of the vocation they wish to pursue afterwards. This is a common question at university open days and conferences, and student recruitment officers should be prepared to offer examples of the careers that are available to them. Information from alumni students is a useful source when answering questions about future career prospects. Again, this may be more complicated if the course is government or NHS funded but a discussion that you need to be ready for. Use web chat’s file transfer feature to send across documents with all the relevant information.
Web chat software is also a useful format for answering questions that get asked over and over. For greater efficiency, replies can be prepared in advance and selected by chat operators with keyboard shortcuts. These pre-defined replies can be easily created within the software itself for quick implementation when there are trending questions.
Students may consider some questions too trivial to warrant a phone call or even an email, but at Click4Assistance we have been providing another channel to UK universities and education organisation for over a decade. Our alternative provides a more informal means of engaging that is also less demanding on university resources than phone or email. Speak to one of our experienced University Coordinators on 0845 123 5871 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about web chat software.