Deakin University is a public university in Victoria, Australia. Founded in 1974, it now has over 64,000 students, comprised primarily of 44,000+ undergraduates and 17,000+ postgraduates. As of 2021, Deakin University is ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world.
Like many universities and colleges around the world, Deakin University has thousands of remote students who study online and do not come on to campus. With the face-to-face opportunities that campus life brings, engaging with these students is challenging.
On top of this, the university also saw that its on-site students were visiting campus less compared to pre-pandemic figures. This was highlighted by a significant drop in activity with front of house staff who answer students’ questions on campus.
With fewer students visiting campus, the university knew that student engagement would drop. This in turn has been shown to damage student success, increasing dropout rates and decreasing student satisfaction.
To help increase engagement with their students in the face of this increased remote learning environment, Deakin University’s Student Association (DUSA) chose to implement live chat. After providing a brief to their digital agency, Comm100 Live Chat was recommended, tested, and deployed.
In October 2022, Deakin University’s Student Association (DUSA) set up Comm100 Live Chat on its website, helping them to connect with more students, more frequently, across ages and backgrounds. The speed and convenience of live chat is essential to its success. Compared to the unpopularity of phone support, coupled with the lack of on-campus activity, live chat is simple to use for students and breaks down the barrier to engagement.
Comm100 Live Chat is helping DUSA to connect with students who they otherwise couldn’t, ensuring that all their students receive support throughout their university life.
“Live chat is the perfect connection tool for our university. We’ve seen that our students now more than ever would rather chat to us online than come and visit us face-to-face or call. With live chat, we can connect with students that we simply wouldn’t have been able to and make sure that we are there for them when they need support.”
DUSA uses Comm100 Live Chat to support their students across a variety of topics, either giving a direct answer or providing them with resources to help. This is particularly helpful for students who are struggling to find answers on their site. Rather than leaving the site without having found the support they need, the offer of live chat encourages the student to reach out to an agent who can resolve their query. Live chat is also helping students to get more involved with the university and build connections. As Sue Rolland explained, “sometimes students feel lonely and reach out to us on chat for help on how to meet people and feel more included. We can then direct them to clubs, volunteer programs and events so they can find friends and feel like they are part of the university.”
Comm100 Live Chat’s Reporting and Analytics has been particularly important for DUSA. With the ability to look back at chat histories, Sue can see what questions are being asked and when. This informs their marketing strategies, allowing them to know what information is most helpful at specific times of the year. With this information to hand, as well as data on what pages the students are visiting, the DUSA team can also inform the wider university about what students are searching for and how they feel about certain topics.
“I never thought we would get so much useful and insightful data from live chat. Comm100’s reporting lets us know what our students are searching for on our site, what they are saying, and how they are feeling about certain topics. It’s invaluable data that we can share among departments to ultimately help us improve our students’ lives.”
The onboarding and training experience with Comm100 was “fantastic”, according to Sue Rolland. Comm100 trained various members of DUSA’s team on the platform, providing weekly cadence meetings to answer any of their questions and ensure they were feeling confident for launch.
“The training from Comm100 was first-class. It was extremely thorough, straightforward and streamlined. It was obvious they knew what they were doing, and we couldn’t have asked for more. Now we’re set up, we don’t need our weekly cadence meetings anymore, but I know that whenever I have a question, I can drop them an email and get an immediate response. Although we aren’t their biggest customer, and although we’re in a different time zone, we have always been treated as if we were an important customer to them. The whole experience with Comm100 has been really positive.”
While DUSA currently only uses Comm100 Live Chat, they hope that when budget restraints relax, they can integrate their other digital channels into the platform. By connecting each channel together, they will be able to provide a superior student experience, delivering more personal and accurate support, while ensuring they never miss a message.
“From our team not knowing anything about live chat, to deploying Comm100 and understanding its capabilities and what it can do for us... it has completely exceeded my expectations and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to others. We are already getting value out of it so early on and this can only improve as we use more platform features and fine-tune our engagement strategies.”