Dawson College is a large, long-established educational institution located in Montreal, Quebec. It is the largest college in the province of Quebec, with a student population of approximately 8,000 day students and 3,000 evening students enrolled in more than 30 fields of study. Dawson College offers a broad range of pre-university and technical instruction. (For more on the CEGEP system in Quebec, click here.)
Open House by the numbers
– 270 agents
– 950 students
– 17 countries
– <7 second wait time
Since August 2020, Dawson College has been using Comm100 Live Chat to provide personalized and helpful support to students. Chat was also seen as a key part of Dawson’s attempt to engage students during the pandemic – an issue facing many post-secondary institutions. They began with 25 licenses but as the awareness and popularity of live chat grew, the college increased their licenses to 35, shared among several teams and departments. Comm100 Live Chat’s intelligent routing feature allows them to immediately connect queries with the individual best equipped to respond. Chats can also be easily passed between colleagues to improve time to resolution.
Dawson College knew from experience that live chat was incredibly popular with their largely young demographic. As Derek Gaucher, Coordinator of IT Solutions at Dawson College explained to us:
Our students are mostly 17, 18 or 19 years old, and they naturally find live chat very easy to use. It’s also very quick for them – they can hop on a chat, ask us a question, and have their answer in a minute – all from their mobile device. It’s the perfect channel to help us engage with them and give them the support they need.
Every fall, Dawson College runs an open house event for students to visit the college, speak to department representatives, and decide if they want to study there in the coming year. In 2020, Covid-19 restrictions rendered the traditional open house event impossible. As an essential part of its enrollment strategy, administrators feared that without the event, there would be a significant drop in enrollment.
With the effectiveness of Comm100 Live Chat already proven, Dawson College came up with the idea of holding a virtual open house event, using live chat to speak with the students and answer their questions. They knew that creating a personal connection with the students was essential to the event’s success.
With this in mind, they decided to incorporate Comm100’s video and audio chat tool into the event. Built in to Comm100 Live Chat, the video solution allowed students to speak face-to-face with hundreds of department representatives. As a browser-based tool, students could launch video chat with a click of a button – no downloads, plug-ins, or special apps required.
The Key Results
Dawson College trained around 270 people to use Comm100 Live Chat and video chat for the virtual open house that took place across five days. With the combination of text-based and video chat, Dawson College connected with 950 students from 17 countries.
The event was set up using Comm100’s dynamic campaign and routing features. A student would visit the page of the department in which they were interested. Each page had its own unique chat button that connected directly to the relevant department representative who could answer their question. If the student then had questions for another department, their chat could be seamlessly transferred to the relevant representative.
The ability to connect with students via audio and video was essential to the event’s success. As Derek explained:
Speaking with the students over video meant our college representatives had the chance to connect with the students on a more personal level, as if they were face-to-face. This is so important to developing relationships with the students and allowed us to recreate the experience of our typical, in-person open house events.
The use of chat also led to improvements over the typical in-person event. Firstly, while there would often be long queues of students waiting 10 to 20 minutes to speak with a college representative, “no student waited longer than 7 seconds to have their question answered, either through live chat or video chat”, Derek explained.
This improved efficiency was because representatives could chat with several people at one time. They also used canned messages that were set up in advance which allowed them to send pre-scripted responses to common questions with a click of a button, greatly reducing chat duration without sacrificing customer service.
As mentioned above, holding a virtual open house also allowed Dawson to connect with students from over 17 countries around the world in real time – many who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to connect with college representatives as easily or as effectively.
Great support from Comm100
“The support we received from Comm100 was exceptional. We knew that our use case was not typical, but the team was extremely helpful and accommodating to our unique needs. They always answered our questions quickly. It really is a pleasure to work with a Canadian company and moreover, a company that always finds a way to accomplish what the customer wants to achieve.” – Derek Gaucher
A Canadian company
“As a Canadian institution ourselves, it was important for us that we chose a Canadian live chat provider. For data security, we also needed live chat software that could be hosted in Canada, which Comm100 naturally offers.” – Derek Gaucher
Simple and easy to train
“We trained about 270 people of various ages and technical proficiencies to use live chat for the open house event. Everyone found it very easy to learn and use. It’s a very intuitive tool, and even those with less tech ability were up to speed in no time.” – Derek Gaucher