Carleton University is a public research university in Ottawa, Canada. Originally founded in 1942, the university is organized into six faculties with more than 65 degree programs. As of 2021, the university yearly enrolls more than 27,000 undergraduate and 4,000 graduate students.
Since 2018, Carleton University’s Career Services has offered live chat to its students to support them in their career development and employment preparation. Seeing chat volumes continually rising as phone volumes dropped, it was clear that most of their students preferred to seek support from them via chat rather than phone, and often rather than email.
However, the live chat software they were using was outdated and basic. While the convenience and speed of live chat was helping them to connect with more students, their solution was lacking many important features needed to improve efficiency and engagement, including automation.
Given the effectiveness of live chat, the IT department knew they had to upgrade their live chat solution. After a thorough analysis of many vendors, Comm100 was chosen. Darren Mundt, Manager of IT Operations in Carleton’s Co-op and Career Services, explained to us that Comm100 stood out to them for its value-for-money, integrated chatbot, and security and compliance.
“Our IT team ran a security review of a range of vendors and Comm100 came out on top. They ticked all the boxes. It was also important to us that they’re Canadian based to make sure we are meeting our industry’s security and privacy needs too.”
Comm100 Live Chat was launched within Carleton’s Career Services in November 2022 and the impact of a more modern and feature-rich solution was immediately clear to see. Both email and phone call volumes have sharply dropped; proof again of student preference for chat over phone and email. As Darren Mundt, Manager of IT Operations in Carleton’s Co-op and Career Services, explained to us:
“We have seen our phone and email volumes steadily drop as our live chat volumes continue to increase. This clearly shows us that most of our students prefer to speak with us over chat rather than phone or email, and we think this trend will only increase. If we want to provide our students with the best support, we need to prioritize live chat.”
The offering of live chat has improved the student experience by offering them fast and convenient support via a digital channel that comes naturally to them. However, as well as boosting student satisfaction, the introduction of Comm100 Live Chat has also increased the team’s capacity and efficiency. The instancy of live chat allows agents to resolve queries more quickly than the back-and-forth of email so more queries can be resolved within the same time span.
Introducing automation to increase agent capacity
To take this efficiency even further, Career Services added Comm100 Task Bot into Comm100 Live Chat. When a student initiates a chat, a Task Bot asks how they can be helped by presenting them with the most common topics, such as ‘Resume and cover letter’, ‘Hours of Operations’, and ‘Events and Workshops’. When a student selects an option, they are provided with helpful information on this topic so they don’t need to speak with an agent.
By automating their most common, straightforward queries, overall agent support volume decreases across every channel as students are able, and happy, to self-serve. Student satisfaction also increases as the Task Bot provides a more convenient and faster way to find the information they are looking for. When the Task Bot cannot resolve their query, the student can simply ask to speak with a staff member and their chat is routed to the next available agent.
The building of the Task Bot was “very simple”, according to Sajala Reddy, IT-Business Analyst, Co-op and Career Services at Carleton University. With the drag and drop functionality, Sajala easily built out their unique bot to automate their most repetitive queries, giving their agents more time to focus on the more complex queries that require a human touch. Importantly too, the introduction of Task Bot has also allowed the university to offer 24/7 support, which without automation would have been impossible to provide.
“The experience with Comm100 has been A1! We have a lot of experience working with vendors, and Comm100 has really, really impressed us. Our relationship with them is great and we look forward to improving our student support offering alongside them.”
Carleton University chose to have their managers trained on the platform first through video calls, and then they passed this knowledge on to the wider team. The agents took to the technology quickly, pointing out the “great user interface” and its “ease of use”.
Seeing the success of Comm100 Live Chat and Task Bot within Career Services, the Co-operative Education department has now also adopted chat. Looking forward, the team is also researching how they can add Comm100’s AI technology into their operations to improve support efficiency even further.