People 'n' Issues

Educators must get tech-savvy to talk to students

October 31st, 2016
Amidst the widespread disruption of tertiary education institutions across the country, contact centres in this sector are being relied on to provide accurate information and valuable support to students, writes JED HEWSON, co-founder and Joint CEO of 1Stream.
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Mobile operators, including Telkom, Cell C and MTN, have stepped up to lend their support by zero-rating access to participating university websites to provide easier access to essential course material.

Education institution contact centres should be following this lead and embracing technology to offer the best support and customer experience for students, a generation of tech-savvy and mobile-driven individuals.

Give your customers  what they want

Customer experience management and customer satisfaction are always top of mind for contact centre agents and managers. At the base of this is making sure the customer receives the information they are looking for and in the format they need. For educational institution contact centres, this is no different.

With more than 30 percent of interactions with contact centres now taking the form of email, web self-service, chat and other methods, contact centres have had to adapt to the way in which customers want to engage. What’s more, with the widespread increase in mobile and smartphone use both locally and globally, it’s no surprise that contact centres are being driven to offer more platform options for communication. This is particularly true for the millennial generation who make use of this technology as part of their daily life.

When it comes to the educational sector contact centre, one which can be highly competitive in attracting talent and one which is directly geared towards this generation, catering for these trends is essential. This means making sure the relevant information is easily accessible, queries (whether submitted via phone, email, text or social media) are resolved appropriately and the overall interaction is positive.

A multi-channel contact centre is only the first step 

Implementing an effective multi-channel contact centre is not just about having all these platforms available, though. It requires both close integration of the various systems and platforms in use, as well as comprehensive measurement to assess and improve processes.

The risk of having many channels, is a contact centre not being able to manage and engage effectively across all of them. If agents are not able to manage a particular platform, it can be a wiser choice not to offer it at all – a customer not receiving the service they require can be more detrimental to a brand.

Having identified the customer need for a multi-channel contact centre, the next step is implementing an appropriate system, such as a cloud-based contact centre solution, that enables contact centre agents to respond appropriately.

With a managed, cloud-based contact centre platform it becomes possible to identify if an individual has made contact via two or more different platforms (a scenario that is increasingly common) and what response they might have already received. This information can then guide the response, making sure the most valuable and relevant information is offered.

As far as improving service goes, measurement is a must-have. Effective measurement and comprehensive reporting enables a clear analysis of processes and teams, and allows informed decisions to be made that will enhance the customer experience.

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