6 min read
Let GTS Transform Your Higher Ed Student Experience!
By: Ram Agarwal on August 21, 2023
Higher education institutions have a unique student journey that can span many years.
Can you guess how many people enter higher education after graduating high school?
In 2022, there were nearly 18 million students in the U.S. alone, according to estimates from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC). If this student body was a country, it would be between Ecuador and the Netherlands in terms of population size!
With so many students, it’s important to not take each individual student experience for granted. Just consider the challenges the average student faces: Balancing the academic rigor and workload of their classes, planning their careers and next steps post-graduation, managing financial concerns, and planning their career post-schooling.
And here’s the crucial point: How students manage these challenges is, more and more often, taking place through digital interactions. Especially with today’s student body virtually comprised of tech-savvy Gen Zers! When the majority of today’s massive student body encounters another step in their scholarly journey, instead of face-to-face, in-person interactions, they choose to engage with chatbots, online resource pages, social media platforms, and other actions they can take through their smartphones, such as texting and calling (after all, according to IBM, 73% of Gen Zers use their internet-connected devices primarily for texting and chatting).
So it’s no question – today’s students are digital-first and digital-focused. That’s why it’s so essential that you can support students where they are most likely to interact with you. And that “where” is…your higher ed institute’s digital experience!
What does today’s digital experience look like on campus?
First, consider that an average student’s scholarly journey starts before they are even accepted, and can last four or more years later when they become an alumnus. From application to enrollment, graduation, and beyond, every step of the journey is crucial.
Then, consider how each step involves the digital experience. Take, for example, how many touchpoints occur when a prospective student creates an account with a higher education institution (often a necessary step before they even apply). Setting a username and a password, or making a payment for an application or tuition fee – it’s a given that these actions will take place online.
So, when this touchpoint occurs, many students will do as much as they can themselves, but invariably you will still have many more asking for help. That’s where chatbots will come in.
With chatbots, which are becoming increasingly more powerful as AI tools such as ChatGPT are becoming more intuitive and humanlike, they can handle many high-level questions and concerns a student may have, while still offering the ability to escalate to administrative staff and live service agents if needed.
Besides applying, other touchpoints a student will face throughout the scholarly journey include adding and dropping courses, student advising, academic services, and student accounting and financial aid. With so many touchpoints, it’s essential that the university or college has an omnichannel approach to supporting its students’ digital experience.
Why an omnichannel, integrated approach is so important for the digital student experience
An integrated, omnichannel approach, based on the cloud, offers many benefits to the student experience in higher ed. For one, a smart contact center at a university or college can keep a history of interactions with each student across all possible touchpoints (chat, text, email, etc.) Chatbots can remember past interactions with a student and tailor the next one accordingly that will have a likelier chance of meeting the student’s needs.
For example, let’s say a student misses a call from their academic advisor regarding enrollment for the next semester. Instead of calling the advisor back (if they even see the call – today’s students are very busy, after all!), the student may visit the university website and open up its chatbot.
The chatbot, having a record of the advisor’s call, opens up the conversation by suggesting whether the student would like to follow up on the earlier call. Whether the student wants to pursue that or something else that day, they at least know that the chatbot is keeping track of important appointments for them. From the student’s P.O.V., it’s nice to stress about one less thing to manage!
Cutting-edge, responsive contact centers can make a significant difference in students’ ease-of-use
Here’s another case where the benefit of a smart, omnichannel approach is clear. Let’s say a student, deep in their first term, is beginning to feel a little overwhelmed, and sends an SMS text to their institution’s contact center, requesting to drop a course in the next term. It’s the first time they’ve sent a text – before, they’ve only used the institution’s website and phoned an advisor to ask questions and enroll in their courses.
In response, the chatbot can confirm the student’s choice, but at the same time check the student’s academic requirements for their degree. Perhaps, for example, the course in question is a necessary prerequisite for another course in a future term!
In that case, the chatbot can come back to the student with that message before confirming to drop the course. It can also suggest to the student whether they would want to speak to an advisor first and then connect that student if the student agrees.
So, what happened here? Thanks to omnichannel integration, the chatbot was intelligent enough to identify a potential issue with the student’s plan, even though a student used a different means of contact than before (texting instead of calling or using a website). This flexibility was able to address the issue quickly and give the student the opportunity to consider other solutions, such as talking to an advisor.
In both examples, we see that the contact center has created a low-risk digital environment for the student. The omnichannel, cloud-based contact center has the flexibility and functionality to support students’ journeys at the important touchpoints that occur through their experiences on campus.
How can your institution get started to support your students’ journeys?
At GTS, we offer cutting edge technology to support your students from application to graduation and beyond!
Some of the features we offer include:
- Chatbots for your website and texting services
- Omnichannel support across all lines of communication including, chat, social media, text, and phone calls.
- As well as data and analytics that provide valuable insights to your faculty and students.
Not only does this technology aid the entire scholarly journey and create a better experience, but your service agents will be more efficient and informative. And your faculty will love all the insights and feedback that we can provide.
To learn more about how GTS can help your institution improve the student journey, reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Check out these other helpful related resources too!
Recently, GTS partnered up with Genesys to bring a free webinar series dedicated to analyzing how best to support students’ digital journeys through Higher Ed: Delivering a Seamless Student Experience, showcasing many of the key points about omnichannel contact centers discussed in this article.
In our first installment, we explore how GTS and Genesys are coming together to meet the challenge of a reliable and efficient learning platform that can meet the needs of students and education institutions. Featuring Steve Haley, Director of Sales at GTS, among the panelists.
In the next part, Supporting the Student Journey, learn how to leverage a cloud-based and open API platform that uses data and AI to help orchestrate impactful student experiences that puts the student at the center of your transformation strategy. Featuring GTS Customer Advocate Tony Colombo as one of the speakers.
Finally, in the last part, Enhancing the Student Journey Through Digital Transformation: The Campus Experience, you can hear from a fellow University about the transition to Genesys and GTS, what it was like, and how it improved efficiency for students and faculty. This webinar also features Tony Colombo, Customer Advocate for GTS, as one of the speakers.
For more info and background on how GTS, visit us online at globo-tek.com or get in touch with us today!