What Colleges Should Look for In Live Chat Software

In the college environment, there are many moving pieces that keep the campus thriving. Students, faculty, and staff all play unique role within the university system, roles that require near constant communication.

Naturally, there are many questions and inquiries that come up in the everyday life of a student either attending or thinking about enrolling in a university. As communication channels proliferate, meetings between students and staff or between faculty members are no longer confined to in-person, on-campus meetings. Zoom calls, phone calls, emails, and instant messages are all being utilized to keep people connected.

As we move into a new decade, the enrolling class will mainly consist of Gen Z students, a generation more digitally savvy than its predecessors.  For these students, text & chatting online is just as familiar as a phone call or in-person meeting. Many would even prefer the channel to a traditional meeting.

So, how can institutions meet these students where they are? Is live chat worth the investment? What should you consider when searching for a live chat software for the college website? Will students and parents both utilize chat as a means of connecting with the campus? 

In effort to answer some of these questions, we’ve created a list of FAQs to give you a better understanding of what live chat is, and how it can benefit your students, staff, and faculty.

Can it handle a wide range of inquiries?

When you’re working with students on a university campus, you get a range of undergraduates in various departments of study. Often, many students have the same questions and issues that come up as part of the regular student life. Many are worried about financial aid or how to progress in their current field of study.

Some common departments a student might be trying to access on your website could include:

  • Finances
  • Academics
  • Admissions
  • Library Services

As questions with different levels of complexity come in from prospective and current students alike, it’s important to be able to redirect these questions to a place where they can all be answered efficiently and accordingly for the benefit of the students.

A live chat software implemented onto your website can help students find what they’re looking for with less search times and excessive wait times for in-person staff meetings or phone calls.

If we look at a recent study about the business impact on customer service in the U.S and several other countries, people overwhelmingly agreed that good customer service can positively impact their decision to do business with a company. If we apply this to a college campus or university website, it’s likely that more students will be satisfied and feel taken care of if there are prompt response times and available staff at all times.

In the same study, 1/3 of respondents preferred self-service options over high-touch customer service. For Millennials that number seems to be higher with more of the generation moving towards being independent and more digitally savvy, along with Gen Z.

When a live chat service is at the helm, your institution can keep the line moving. Students get basic information quickly and are directed to the people who can help them with more nuanced questions. This eases up the workload for your internal staff and negates student frustration.

Will it accommodate diverse visitors?

Your website is the front door to your university for a range of people with a wide array of needs. Incoming students, alumni, parents eyeing universities, and currently enrolled students are looking to navigate their way through the new school year.

Many of these visitors face a variety of school-related challenges on a daily basis. Gen Z in particular is the most diverse generation in US history and with that comes unique experiences, discrimination, and racial inequality.

These types of challenges require new tools, methods of communication, and resources for handling individual situations. Some s needs may include:

  • Parents of incoming first-years that are nervous about their child’s safety in a new town or distant campus
  • Current students feeling stressed and overwhelmed about finances
  • International students unfamiliar with the local town or campus
  • Students unsure if they can enroll in a new course

Every college and university want their students to feel welcome, answering any incoming questions to ease any ongoing worries. Live chat gives you the ability to connect with your students with friendly, attentive service agents so every inquiry that comes in can be answered accordingly.

What is the (live human respondent) availability?

Your college website is a resource to help your students get a feel for what your institution stands for, and how this might translate into an on-campus experience. Live chat is a way to offer a welcoming experience to any visitor, while increasing accessibility to your faculty and staff.

When you’re striving to create an environment online, responsiveness it key. Prospective students may leave your site with unanswered questions, and the presence of web chat can be the difference between curious browser and applicant. Increasing availability of your staff for more engagement with your students and any users on your website can help make busy periods more manageable. Traditionally high-volume timeframes, such as right before the new school year, the beginning of new terms, exams weeks, & holidays can be made much smoother for over-burdened staff and eager students

The faster the inquiries can be resolved, the greater the experience for students and staff alike, a trend that bears endless benefits. According to the QSES 2019 International Student Survey, 73% of future students want to communicate using real-time chat when making an inquiry.

This is because live chat benefits prospective students & even alumni by helping them bypass any excessive wait times and connecting them directly with someone who can help them. Often times this is all a prospective student needs to help them have a positive first impression with your university through your website.

Ruby’s live chat features offers round the clock service to keep your students attended to and taken care of. Learn more with some of Ruby’s most frequently asked questions!

What data can live chat track for you?

One of the biggest advantages that you can gain from having a virtual team or online live chat software is being able to document metrics such as engagement & traffic. This helps you adapt and service the campus community in ways that were never possible in the age of landlines. It’s easy to forget how useful metrics can be in determining future improvements & solutions when you’re so busy doing what you do best.

Some of the valuable data & metrics that are available for tracking can help you make informed decisions down the future. These metrics can include:

  • Chat volume over time
  • Users profiles and engagement history over time
  • Chat transcripts
  • Message records

If you’re interested in staying connected with your students and making your website more accessible, you’ll be interested in live chat software. When doing a simple search for a live chat system that you can implement on your college website, you’ll come up on many different services with varying features.

Keep in mind you’ll want a live chat tool that is able to handle a variety of questions and inquiries based on the diverse population of students on university campuses. Living on campus also means that students need service availability at all times in case they are trying to meet a deadline or find support. Last but not least, the service you find for live chat should have the ability to gather data to help you learn and continue improving your website and campus.

Ruby wants to help you best serve your college community and help your campus thrive with our 24/7 live chat service. That’s why we offer unmatched service & excellence with our Ruby staff & services.

Interested in learning more about live chat?
Download our guide to get the full scoop!

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*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the canceled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner. Some restrictions may apply.