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Higher Education


Comm100 Live Chat & Custom Answers Chatbot

Comm100 customer
Since 2018

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The Organization

As one of the largest universities in the U.K. by student population, the institution is primarily comprised of off-campus undergraduate students, as well as on-campus postgraduate students. The university has more than 1,000 members of academic and research staff and over 2,500 administrative, operational and support staff.

The Results by Numbers

11 – departments using live chat
0.76 – equivalent full-time staff member saving
1000 – queries a day resolved by Comm100 Chatbot

The Background

In 2017, the Student Services department within a major UK university recognized they had fallen behind in digital communication innovation. More than ever, today’s students favor digital support for its convenience and speed, but the university was still relying heavily on phone and email. These traditional channels were failing to meet their students’ support expectations and were damaging their key KPIs across the student lifecycle, from usage rates and student satisfaction to retention and graduation rates.

The university recognized that live chat and chatbots could help them to directly tackle this challenge. Comm100 came to their attention for several reasons. Firstly, they found the platform “incredibly easy to use, very intuitive and easy to learn”. Comm100 Live Chat and Chatbot can also be hosted on the cloud which was crucial to their organizational shift to cloud-based solutions. While technical requirements were key, so too was the belief that Comm100 would be partners helping them to succeed, rather than just a software vendor with a customer base too large to support them.

“It was really important for us to find a live chat provider that we felt would be partners with us and give us all the support we needed as we learnt how to use the technology and grow with it. We immediately felt this with Comm100 and its staff and have been building a great relationship together with them ever since.”

Student Services department, Major UK University

The Results

Step 1 – Live chat

In 2018, the University partnered with Comm100 and launched Comm100 Live Chat within its Student Services department. The positive response from students was immediate as they took to the channel for its speed, convenience and personalization.

“Our students absolutely love it, particularly the flexibility of it – they can easily chat to us while they’re busy doing other things, and we’re there to give them an instant response so they can get on with their day. It’s just that easy for them and is by far the most popular method of communication for our students.”

Student Services department, Major UK University

Comm100 Live Chat hasn’t just proved exceptionally popular among the university’s younger student demographic. As a non-traditional university that focuses on distance learning and adult education, the school has a wide spectrum of ages and needs. Despite this, they have found that live chat is equally popular across their student population. What’s more, live chat has helped them to offer accessible communication to students with disabilities.

“Comm100 Live Chat has been a godsend for our disabled student services team. Some of our students have anxiety of verbal communication issues and don’t have the confidence or ability to pick up the phone to speak with us. Live chat is the perfect solution for them and helps us make sure that no student is neglected. It was a great day for our disabled student services team when we introduced live chat. I just wish we had it 50 years ago!”

Student Services department, Major UK University

As word soon spread about the effectiveness and popularity of live chat within Student Services, more and more departments launched live chat. Eleven departments across the university now offer Comm100 Live Chat including student support, IT helpdesk, admissions, disabled student services, and student counselling, with 20 to 30 agents working in a shift pattern every day.

Step 2 – Chatbots

Once the university had seen the positive results of live chat, they looked to add automation to their operations by integrating Comm100 Custom Answers Chatbot. The university has built two chatbots for two different goals:

1. Automate form requests to increase support capacity

Because the university has a large volume of students all at different points in their careers, they receive frequent requests for references of study. Before they set up the bot, the support staff spent considerable time in back-and-forth conversation to collect the necessary information. Now, the Comm100 bot collects all this information from the student without any human involvement. In the month of April alone, Comm100’s Chatbot saved the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 0.76 staff member.

While these savings could have led to a cut in headcount, the university instead chose to redirect these savings into improving the quality of support, giving their agents more time to focus on complex and sensitive queries that require more care.

2. Manage support volume during peak periods

Like most universities and colleges, the university’s ceremony team faces significant peaks in support volume shortly before the graduation season. The sheer number of questions often overwhelmed the team during this period. With Comm100 Custom Answers Chatbot, all of these common queries can be resolved without any support staff involvement. In 2021, over 1000 queries a day were managed by the bot that would have otherwise had to be resolved by support staff. If the chatbot cannot answer the student’s question, then they are smoothly passed on to a support staff.

“Comm100 Chatbot has brought the number of queries that require human interaction down so much and our staff absolutely love it. They think it's the greatest thing ever.”

Student Services department, Major UK University

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