Skip links Chatbot Reduces Live Chat Volume by 50% at University of Portsmouth

Since installing the chatbot, Anna, the university has noticed a significant positive impact on the tech assistance available to students.

We gave students the option to speak with a human or our chatbot, and overwhelmingly we found that students preferred to speak with the chatbot.

Adam Francombe, Service Delivery Specialist

The student lifecycle is interconnected. Therefore, universities need to consistently be in a position of readiness and put students at the center of decision-making. At the University of Portsmouth, Adam Francombe has leveraged AI technology since 2019. Read on to learn how helped the university meet its most pressing needs.


Identifying the Need

Students at the University of Portsmouth in England are accustomed to a challenge familiar to students around the globe – universities are large and complex, and sometimes that makes it difficult to find answers and to acclimate. The result is a constant search for ways to improve service and the flow of information to students. Adam Francombe desired the ability for students to know they could depend on the university for information, can address their questions and still have the bandwidth to offer high quality service and counseling. Francombe strongly desired the ability to improve processes and provide innovative solutions.



According to Francombe, his department primarily provides technology-related assistance to students through means including live web chat and email. The Service Delivery Department at Portsmouth began their search for a chatbot to innovate the way they help students.

Likewise, it was important that the chatbot’s responses were clear, of a high-quality, and as concise as possible. The University of Portsmouth chose over alternatives offered by Google and Microsoft because of the way it delivers information to users. Ivy’s multimedia presentation allows the university to imbed YouTube videos, PDFs, and interactive buttons. Francombe said they hoped to avoid linking users away to other sources, and was a great fit for that.



Since implementation in March of 2019, live web chat inquiries reduced by 50 percent. Francomb reported that students are willingly electing to engage with the bot (Anna), due to her 24/7 availability. She mostly assists with questions related to wi-fi, printing, VPNs, passwords, and Portsmouth’s AppsAnywhere portal for university applications. Francombe added that the chatbot is particularly useful for such subjects that do not require in-depth technical assistance. With significantly fewer inquiries overall, the service department reinvests time into additional service innovations and responding to more complicated inquiries.

Working with helps Francombe’s team understand where innovation is needed. Chatbot interactions are documented in transcripts, which Francombe’s team reviews routinely. They search for gaps, trends, and themes that can be addressed by modifying chatbot responses, creating new forms for users, and integrating APIs that make information more accessible to students.


Higher Education

Campaign KPI

Reduces Live Chat Inquiries 50% Following AI Implementation

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