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Higher Education Guide - How to meet your students' sky-high support expectations

Increase student engagement & satisfaction with these proven strategies

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How Higher Education Suffers Without Digital Student Engagement

Today’s Gen Z students have grown up during a time of incredible innovation in CX. Whether it’s shopping, transportation, or food, these students have learned to expect service when, where, and how they want it. 

As Gen Z now navigates higher education, they’re placing these heightened expectations onto colleges and universities. While this may seem like an unfair comparison, the reality is that Gen Z expects outstanding support from every brand they interact with. 

To cater to these expectations, digital student engagement is essential. Telephone and email support doesn’t cut it, especially when you consider that 60% of Gen Z say that they ‘hate calling people’. Live chat and chatbots, on the other hand, deliver the support that students now demand – fast, convenient, and personalized. 

This blog will highlight the key ways that higher education is suffering by not offering digital student engagement and what they can do about it. 

1. Lower engagement with current & prospective students 

Device preferences is key to student engagement. Gen Z doesn’t just avoid talking on the phone – 60% of Gen Z say that they “hate calling people”. For higher education, this shift away from phones creates barriers to engaging with both prospective and current students. 

Today’s higher education customer service needs to be student-centric, and that requires a digital-first solution. Live chat solves this need by offering students a way to connect that’s digital, fast, and convenient. While Gen Z doesn’t want to talk on the phone, they are highly mobile, with 55% using their smartphones for five or more hours daily

Digital channels provide increased availability which not only gives students a more direct connection to their school but also creates new opportunities: 

  • By increasing productivity, live chat allows schools to engage more prospective students and boost enrolment – more on this later. 
  • Personalization of live chat messages allows schools to demonstrate care for existing students. 
  • Chatbots provide 24/7 support so that schools have more opportunities to engage with prospective students in any time zone. 

Live chat improves CSAT and CX for current students, bringing us to our next point. 

2.  Damaged CSAT 

As explained above, students prefer live chat over any other channel. Why? Because they expect fast and convenient support that telephone and email cannot provide. With student needs not being met, schools that haven’t introduced a digital channel like live chat can expect to see lower CSAT than competing institutions. 

The higher education customer service expectations of students can be summarized as: 

  1. Speed – 71% of Gen Z believe that CX can be drastically improved by quick responses.  
  2. Convenience – 74% of Gen Z say convenience is more important than brand.

Today’s students also expect personalized support that treats them like an individual – 77% of Gen Z expect their unique needs and expectations to be understood. As mentioned in the previous point, one of the strengths of live chat is its ability to help schools provide personalized service for students. 

Delivering personalized CX is difficult, and often impossible, with phone support – but with live chat it’s a breeze. Live chat keeps all the info about the student right in front of the agent so they understand who they’re talking to and how they can best help. This live chat feature is extended even further when connected to your CRM. 

With live chat, students receive the fast, convenient, and personalized support that they expect – thus improving CSAT.   

3. Higher operating costs 

Phone support isn’t just unpopular with Gen Z students – it’s expensive, too. Colleges and universities that haven’t introduced digital student support can expect to pay higher operating costs because digital channels are much more cost effective than phone. 

All the same things that turn students away from voice calls are what make phone support so expensive to support. Lengthy calls that require transfers or holds, focused conversations that make multitasking difficult, and aging technology infrastructure all add up to increased costs for schools to support. 

With all the productivity features that live chat provides, cost of live chat is typically less than 1/3 the cost of phone support. We’ll look at these agent productivity features in the next point. 

Read more: Live chat ROI calculator 

4. Lower agent productivity 

Unsurprisingly, the same technology that provides fast and convenient service for students is also faster and more convenient for agents. Live chat for higher education offers features that phone support can’t hope to compete with. Because agents can do more with live chat, schools that haven’t introduced digital student support can expect lower productivity. 

While providing phone support, agents can only handle one student conversation at a time. With live chat, agents can handle multiple chats simultaneously. This increased agent capacity and ability to quickly respond to new chats means reduced wait times for students. 

With a consolidated agent chat window, Comm100 Live Chat makes it easy for agents to switch between active conversations, increasing productivity even further. Some of Comm100’s other productivity-boosting features include: 

  • Canned messages to quickly deliver pre-defined responses and save typing time. 
  • Keyboard shortcuts that can be established to perform common actions more quickly. 
  • Agent Assist, which uses chatbots to monitor conversations and provide information and responses to agents for a faster, more accurate response. 

Lastly, introducing higher education chatbots to the mix will make any support team a powerhouse of productivity. AI chatbots can handle up to 80% of all inquiries without any human intervention. This can lower support costs even more than live chat, as you don’t need to hire additional agents to cover peak periods. 

Wrap Up 

To learn more about how to get started on your digital student engagement journey, begin by learning about live chat in this complete guide.

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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.