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4 Steps to Take the Chaos out of Commencement

It’s commencement season for most institutions, and typically, that means chao. Parents and students alike can’t wait for the day to arrive, yet are confused on a variety of topics including how to get tickets, receiving a cap and gown, where to park, and much more.

All of this confusion typically leads to a downfall of calls and emails to the limited staff available to answer questions on campus, creating long wait times and more anxiety. The good news is that there’s a better way to handle commencement questions and improve the wait times for students and parents alike. 

All it takes is a willingness to adopt a multi channel approach and find technology that helps you achieve that objective. Here are four steps student services professionals can implement to take the chaos out of commencement day.

Provide a mobile-first experience

Institutions trying to simplify commencement for teachers and students should try to make the experience mobile-first as much as possible. That means making information easily accessible, utilization of a mobile ticketing system and providing notifications all accessible on a student’s (or parent’s) cell phone. 

While your frequently asked questions might be detailed and well-thought out, students and parents aren’t going to want to spend time looking through your website when they want questions answered now. Providing a mobile first experience is the best way to keep everyone in the loop while lowering inbound inquiries. 

Communicate key reminders over SMS

Speaking about that mobile-first experience, a great way to engage parents and students without burdening your staff is to communicate key deadlines through nudge campaigns. For instance, everything from rehearsal times to arrival or cap and gown pick up can all be done through text messaging.

When commencement time comes around, institutions are flooded with the same questions that can just as easily be found in an email or on the website. By presenting this information through SMS nudge notifications, students and parents don’t have to worry about missing arrival information or any other deadlines related to the ceremony.

Not to mention, making this information accessible on-demand will limit the influx of calls and emails from parents and students. The result is an unburdened staff, free to focus on creating a seamless, more efficient operation and simultaneously delivering a better experience.

Gather student feedback throughout the process

As you’re rethinking your communications strategy with students, it’s important to find out how receptive students are to your outreach. Are you answering their questions correctly or are they needing to ask for help multiple times before getting their inquiries resolved? Consider utilizing feedback mechanisms like ratings and reviews to improve your communications strategy and refine messaging as needed.

Utilize a chatbot to answer basic questions

With the many advances available through chatbot technology, there’s no reason to lean on your staff to answer every commencement-related question. Many of the basic questions can be answered through automation such as chatbot technology.

Chatbots allow institutions the ability to answer questions at any hour of the day. This is especially important for students with family members in different states and varying work hours separate from your office. It also frees up time so staff can answer more specific questions and make time for special requests, such as wheelchair accessibility or finding extra tickets for families who need it.

Commencement is always a hectic time for institutions. But today, administrators have more options available to alleviate student and parent aggravation than ever before. Through implementing many of the practices listed above, your institution can go a long way towards making commencement a more pleasant experience for all.

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