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The Live Chat and Chatbot Guide for Higher Education

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Chapter 1

The consumer move to digital

Across every demographic, there is a consumer move away from phone and towards digital communication. 41% of today’s consumers prefer live chat support, versus 32% who prefer phone support. Even among digital communication, live chat tops the popularity contest, with 46% of customers preferring live chat, compared to 29% for email and 16% for social media.

For younger demographics, and students in particular, this preference runs even deeper. 52% of Millennials say they feel anxious about taking a phone call, and 60% of Gen Z say they ‘hate calling people’. Live chat eliminates this barrier to engagement and allows students to connect with them where they want – digitally.

This dislike of phone is not the only reason for the popularity of live chat however. Here are some of the top reasons why students prefer using live chat to connect with higher educational institutions.

1. Speed

The speed at which students can ask a question and get an almost immediate answer is key to live chat’s popularity. Students have grown up in a digital world that has created a desire for instant gratification, and this has seeped into customer support. The real-time nature of live chat caters to this behavioral expectation. In fact, 71% of 16-24-year-olds believe that customer experience can be drastically improved by quick responses.

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.

Derek Gaucher
Coordinator of IT Solutions, Dawson College

2. Convenience

Today’s students are digital-first, and digital-obsessed. According to a survey by Pew Research Center, 45% of Millennials say they are online “almost constantly.” That’s almost double the percentage who answered the same three years ago. By being easily accessed on a website, live chat is incredibly convenient for students to use.

3. Supports multi-tasking

Over half of students prefer live chat for its ease-of-use while multitasking. Even when students must wait a minute for an answer, with live chat they can do something else in the meantime.

4. Preference for typing

Today’s students are incredibly accustomed to typing, and it is their preferred mode of communication. A study by Software Advice shows that 52% millennials would rather text than converse on the phone.

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