Using Technology to Enhance the Student Experience

Friday, September 17, 2021

When students reach out to your business office, you want them to receive a customer service experience that meets your institution’s exceptional classroom experience. 

The smart implementation of technology can help you meet – or even exceed – student expectations when they reach out for help from your office. 

Use Technology to Triage Calls

Routing (or rerouting) calls to the right place can lead to difficulties for your staff and frustration for students. Technologies like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can take calls, ask questions, and make sure that the student isn’t calling the business office when they really need to speak with the financial aid office.  

Utilize a Staffing Forecast

A staffing forecast is a tool that analyzes historical data to make predictions. Looking at call volume for a particular date last year, for example, can give you a good idea of what your staffing needs may be on that date this year. By anticipating demand, you can better manage your staffing needs and avoid backlogs. 

Analyze the Quality of Calls, Not Just the Length

Call length is the main metric many business offices use to determine the performance of individual employees and the department as a whole. Managers often think shorter call times will equate to an ability to answer more calls in a timely manner. Experience shows that logic doesn’t always ring true. Instead, performance should be analyzed from a much broader perspective that considers how you’re handling calls, rather than simply how fast you’re handling calls. This can include:

  • First contact resolution rate
  • Quality assurance / customer satisfaction scores
  • Number of complaints filed (both formally and even on social media) 
  • Escalations where supervisors get involved
  • Speech analytics that can analyze helpfulness and friendliness
  • Social media sentiment scores

Reach Students Where They Are

Traditionally, your phone bank is where most of the interactions with your business office occur. However, if you ask students, most of them prefer to avoid phone calls altogether. You should also consider that many students may never have had to make this type of call before. They may be unsure of how to resolve an issue and have additional anxiety about reaching out for help over the phone. 

Implementing live chat capabilities on your website, offering support over text messages or social media, or simply having email and web forms allow students to communicate more confidently. If they do decide to call your office, you can make the experience less painful by exercising patience and empathy; just asking how the students’ day is going can go a long way to easing tension.