As a higher education institution, your main customers are young adults and college students. For the incoming student, they’re entering an entirely new phase in their life. This life brings not only excitement and hope, but also nervousness. Everything is new. As each year passes, even with experience, they’ll have questions and concerns, many of which need to be solved before the student can progress toward their degree.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the average size of a U.S. college is 6,354. The largest university has more than 60,000 students. Multiply each student by their parents, and you have a large set of people who’ll want clear, consistent answers to their questions. A higher education call center designed to handle education-oriented needs can give you just that, provided it’s implemented correctly. It gives you the resources to solve your large-scale communication challenge.
To truly leverage technology and tap into the value a call center creates for your students, parents, and staff, it must create a positive student experience by meeting certain criteria:
- Provide omnichannel support
- Scale to meet demand
- Integrate seamlessly with other programs
The Importance of Call Centers for Higher Education Institutions
Like traditional businesses, you want to attract and retain customers. Unlike traditional businesses, however, your customers are usually young adults (and their parents) entering the world for the first time. Even when a parent has previously attended university, that may have been nearly 20 years prior. Obviously, there have been many changes in that time, but the principles of good customer service via call centers remain the same.
Improving your students’ experience is always your goal. One of the easiest ways to do so is to ensure they get the answers to their questions quickly and efficiently. With the right higher education call center services, you can provide a superior student (and parent) experience without hiring additional staff or securing a physical location. Likewise, you want students’ administration experience to mirror their experience inside the classrooms.
Educational technology solutions advance and expand every year. If your classrooms employ advanced tech tools, but your administrative services lag behind, the contrast may amplify student frustration—especially when it comes to getting simple questions answered. Higher education call center services can be easily innovated.
And when your students are happy with their entire higher education experience, they’ll stay, thrive, and forever be proud alumni. When they’re unhappy, they may leave, and they’ll certainly tell others about their disappointment.
How to Create a Positive Student Experience with Your Education Support Center
Imagine your higher education call center offering students and parents 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year AI-powered self-serve options, call routing support, inbound and outbound messaging, and more. Additionally, consider the benefits of being able to scale up or down based on your season of needs. Some areas your call center can (and should) cover include:
- Financial Aid
- Alumni Office
- Foreign Student Services
- Student & Staff Employment
- Security Services
- General Announcements (e.g., weather closures)
- Misconduct Hotline
The stress of college life for many is well documented. Whether it’s a student working and going to school full time or a student-athlete who needs to keep up their grades to compete in their sport, tension is high. Education can easily be one of the highest financial investments a family can make. When a student can’t proceed with life until their question gets answered, their frustration with slow response times will build quickly.
For instance, adding interactive voice response (IVR) to your education support center empowers your students to navigate your established systems with ease. When they call, they can either press a number on their phone’s keypad to route their call or speak their question. This form of self-service is common practice. It helps solve basic problems or answer basic questions, freeing your people up to handle the more complex and skilled requests that truly require the human touch.
Support Omnichannel Communications in Your Education Call Center
Making sure your higher education call center services accommodate communication method preferences is a deal breaker if you want to be successful. Your students are early adopters of technology by virtue of their age. In general, incoming students will be 18. They drive the rest of us when it comes to adoption of digital channels and digital communication. As they age to become more active consumers, they drive the market. Perhaps more than any other organization, to meet their expectations, you’ll need a call center solution that employs the latest communications advances.
We already know younger generations prefer web-based communications, while older generations may prefer traditional ways. An omnichannel education support center solution caters to both. Your students, parents and staff can communicate via phone, email, text, web chat, messenger apps, and new technologies as they’re developed. A cloud-based omnichannel call center enables seamless communication across the channels. If an inquiry starts via web chat, it can transition to the phone when necessary.
Easily Scale Your Education Call Center to Meet Demand Spikes
Ensuring your education support center services scale efficiently is essential for your success. Like most businesses, education institutions have predictable increases in volume. During the beginning of the school year, for instance, you can expect an influx of questions. In between quarters or semesters, you may also see an increase in questions especially around loan disbursement time. A cloud-based education call center scales to accommodate.
With a traditional physical call center, you risk encountering slower times when your staff isn’t needed. With a cloud-based system, however, you can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to mitigate the need for people to respond to basic, common inquiries.
Integrate Your Higher Education Call Center into Your Ecosystem
To truly leverage a higher education call center’s power, choose a system that integrates with other systems already in use. With custom APIs, your call center solution can be customized to give your agents access to student records. This enables them to solve problems more quickly and helps prevent the frustration that happens when people have to repeat information to multiple sources.
Just as students expect a positive experience in the classroom, they’ll expect one outside of it. While challenges facing higher education call center services are similar to those of other organizations, some speak directly to the education institution. Bright Pattern’s education call center solution is designed to accommodate those differences and elevate everyone’s experience.