Conversational marketing based on the use of smart bots is taking hold in many different spheres of life and business, including the academia. Top universities are increasingly adopting this communication tool and using it to streamline the internal flow of information and create additional opportunities for interaction with students and the public. Investing in chat bot technology creates benefits for academic institutions on several levels, and is justified by the following improvements:
1. Simplifying applications and administration
Perhaps the most obvious need for the use of chat bots emerges during the admissions process, when a large number of interested students might inquire for information. Automating parts of this process can clear out a critical bottleneck and allow the admissions office to keep up with the incoming requests while maintaining perfectly tidy records for administrative purposes.
2. Modernizing the learning environment
Given that most learning resources are already in a digital format and that a huge part of the literature is available from the cloud, using interactive software tools to facilitate faster access is a logical next step. AI-based bots are incredibly adaptable and can be programmed in such a way to funnel learners towards the most relevant resources and answer complex questions based on online databases.
3. Reducing the pressure on the workforce
Few learning institutions have extra staff available to engage in constant conversations, but chat bots reduce the need for direct involvement of human operators to a negligible level. The employees who rely on bots to reduce their workload can use the time they save more productively, resulting in a higher level of teaching and training.
4. Ensuring on-going guidance for the student body
In many cases, answers that students need are easily available but need to be searched for in the university databases. Setting up a chat bot to assist students with a range of issues is a savvy practice that every school should consider. Since bots can react to multiple scenarios, they are highly suitable for supporting different groups of students with achieving their distinct educational goals.
“In the last couple of years we’ve seen a turning point in that social messaging usage now outstrips social media usage, despite this shift in how people connect online many marketing budget allocations do not reflect this, chat marketing can sometimes be overlooked at university marketing departments. However, smart universities and colleges are beginning to realize the opportunities available on messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp to shape consumers’ decisions and experiences, we’ve developed several chatbots for universities that deliver incredible results” explained Ryan Dearlove, Marketing Director at Chit Chat Agency.
5. Collecting feedback on a continual basis
University leaders need accurate information about the prevailing sentiments among the faculty and students, and chat bots provide a discreet and impartial channel for collecting such information. The collected data can be used to proactively change school policies and accommodate the wishes of key stakeholders whenever possible.
6. Improving the student retention rate
A hidden benefit resulting from streamlined communication and better coordination is that students tend to be happier. Research shows that universities that embrace conversational marketing can elevate the student retention rate, with a positive impact on their financial stability. This reason alone should persuade even the most conservative universities to try smart bots.