It is generally accepted that students have become more demanding as consumers since fees were raised to up to £9,000 per year.
The fact that complaints by students in England and Wales against universities rose by a quarter in 2012 to “record levels”, according to The Office of the Independent Adjudicator, goes some way support this theory.
As the higher education market becomes ever more competitive, universities are under pressure to act more like commercial entities and carve out a distinctive niche for themselves as individual institutions. Part of this involves a rethink around customer service delivery and reconfiguring communication channels so they reflect the preferences of users, e.g. by making support staff and tutors available over social media to engage with students.
Beyond transactional messaging
This new generation of consumers demand personalised interactions and tailored experiences when dealing with any organisation. And when individuals want direct interaction with an institution, they demand an almost immediate reply. But this is where the gap lies: between how current communication channels are being operated against students’ expectations of service delivery.
As it stands, most higher education institutions still treat email, SMS, social media and web chat as separate entities, run by different groups with individual objectives. There is no single view of the customer and no record of their cross-channel interactions with the institution. Frustratingly, this means your customers have to repeat information as they switch between channels because support staff have no centralised CRM record for them.
Getting the right technology in place that provides this single view of the customer is critical to fostering long term customer engagement.
Contact is a powerful multichannel contact centre solution that enables organisations to keep pace with the new ‘always on’ consumer.
This unique solution streamlines all your media channels (voice, email, SMS, social media, web chat) into a single, fully integrated multi-channel contact centre. The browser-based system provides queuing, routing and monitoring across these multiple channels, as well as extensive reporting capabilities.
Every enquiry is logged, irrespective of channel, in the integrated CRM. Preserving the history of these interactions makes it possible for your staff to follow students as they move between communication channels and manage interactions as they move from, say, social to email.
By monitoring cross-channel interactions and consolidating this valuable customer information, your support staff can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your customer-facing channels and make any necessary improvements, whilst your marketing team is able to analyse the cross-channel data for any themes or emerging trends that can be capitalised on. Ultimately, your organisation is better placed to deliver relevant and personalised services to customers.