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this blog will explore how ai chatbots help improve student engagement for higher education

How Higher Ed Chatbots Improve Student Engagement & Support

As higher education institutions look for new ways to engage their students, many are turning away from traditional phone support to invest in mobile-friendly technologies like live chat. Live chat allows students to reach out on their own terms using their preferred method of communicating. 

However, while live chat offers many benefits for both students and schools, it’s even better when paired with automation, and particularly chatbots. Higher ed chatbots allow institutions to provide fast, 24/7 support that today’s students are widely embracing. Business Insider reports that nearly 40% of Internet users around the world now prefer interacting with chatbots over live agents. 

With the benefits of chatbots becoming clearer every day, higher education institutions are jumping on board too. In this blog, we’ll be looking at just a handful of use cases that higher ed chatbots can handle to improve student engagement, support and CX.. 

1. 24/7 service  

Today’s students expect support whenever and wherever they are. Traditional support channels can be costly and difficult to staff outside of standard business hours, but this is an area where chatbots excel. A higher ed chatbot can be used to supplement support teams during regular hours, and then take over fully in off-peak times and after hours. 

As customer support has moved online, the expectations of customers have grown significantly. In the same way that students expect their school website to be always accessible, they now expect 24/7 support to provide a response at any time of day. 

58% of Millennials expect to be able to connect with a company whenever they want to. 57% of consumers expect the same response time from companies at night as they do during normal business hours. Higher education chatbots allow these students to get support on their schedule, not yours. 

2. More time for more sensitive queries 

As knowledge resources are built for support agents, the focus is always on finding common answers to frequently asked questions. By introducing a higher education chatbot to support channels, schools can automate the response to common questions, often without the need for human intervention at all. 

By responding to common questions, chatbots for higher education free up your agents to handle students’ more complex or sensitive problems. This is particularly important in today’s world as colleges and universities allocate more resources to student supports for mental health and other issues. 

Having these common questions offloaded to a chatbot reduces repetition for your agents and frees them up to work on other things. With more time available to complete other tasks, your agents can dedicate more time to filling in the gaps in your organizational knowledge. 

3. Streamline conversations 

One of the best ways that chatbots compliment agents is through information collection. While agents are busy helping students, a higher ed chatbot can be used to initiate chats and gather background information. Once an agent is free, they can join the conversation with the information in hand that was collected by the chatbot. 

Through survey questions, chatbots can collect the who, what, where, when, and why from your students in an unobtrusive and fast way. Offloading this process to chatbots allows agents to spend less time in conversations verifying who they’re speaking with, and more time solving problems. Unlike traditional phone support transfers, the transfer from chatbot to live agent is seamless, and students will appreciate that they don’t need to repeat themselves. 

4. Immediate responses 

Live chat already allows support agents to handle more conversations at a time than phone conversations, but higher ed chatbots take this a step further. Chatbots can handle an unlimited number of chats simultaneously. This means that students are never left waiting for an agent to become available, which in turn helps improve student engagement.

With the extremely fast responses that chatbots provide, students get the kind of service they’re accustomed to – immediate. With today’s students growing up surrounded by technology, they expect instant gratification in all aspects of support, in a way that only chatbots can provide. 

Not only do young people demand fast support, but most today believe that a speedy response is one of the most important factors of quality service. A report found that 71% of those aged 16-24 believe that customer experience can be drastically improved by quick responses. 

5. One chatbot, multiple channels 

Chatbots aren’t only available on live chat. They can be used across digital channels, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and even SMS. What’s more, with a platform like Comm100 Omnichannel, you only need to create and set up one chatbot and it can be deployed across every digital channel.  

Students are online more than ever before, and they want to connect with their schools wherever they have an online presence. A J.D. Power study showed that 67% of customers have used an organization’s social media site for service. With student support needed in these channels, higher education chatbots can provide all the same benefits on Facebook that they provide via live chat. 

With social media amplifying student voices, being available on multiple platforms extends beyond student support and becomes a matter of image control. By responding immediately to concerns as they appear, the chances that a student problem becomes a public grievance on social media are significantly reduced. 

6. Automating common tasks 

Chatbots aren’t only useful for automating support chats. With a higher education chatbot deployed across your support channels, you can also automate common student services, essentially turning student forms into conversations. When deployed in this way, chatbots are often known as task bots. 

Common use cases for task bot automation include booking appointments, paying invoices, changing services, and more. If a task bot isn’t up to the challenge of the request provided by a student, it can automatically route the chat to the best agent for the job. 

A task bot deployed across several channels and social platforms completely changes the reach of your student support. With a task bot deployed on social media, students could request a password reset on Facebook, or get technical support through SMS. The possibilities to engage students on their terms are limitless using higher ed chatbots and task bots. 

Wrap Up 

To engage with current and future students, higher education institutions today need to be available wherever and whenever their students need support. However, it’s important to distinguish between the role of bots and agents in the support hierarchy. While 59% of all chats now involve a chatbot, 86% of customers agree that there should always be an option to escalate chats to an agent when talking to a bot. 

With Comm100 AI Chatbot and omnichannel support, schools and colleges can introduce fast, reliable support that’s available 24/7 across a variety of platforms and services. If you’re ready to take the next step in your digital transformation journey by adding a chatbot to your support setup, book a demo with Comm100 today.

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About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Manager at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.