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Optimizing Your Chatbot for Success

Optimizing Your Chatbot for Success

Artificial intelligence continues to reshape our expectations for service and support. Traditional college students and adult learners alike have found a seamless support experience when working with major retailers and in the consumer market in general.

With the help of Amazon, it’s clear that the future of education is through self-service. The advent of chatbots have accelerated this desire for self-service, with evidence to suggest considerable room for growth.

Data from Pew Research and Gallup suggest more than 68 percent of the Millennial and Gen-Z demographic would rather text than talk. Yet, only 35 percent of institutions report having a formal plan or strategy in place for using SMS and omnichannel communications to reach students.

Regardless of if you have a chatbot today, or if you are considering one in the near future, understanding the best practices for getting the most value from the technology may help you choose a provider and develop a new, seamless communications strategy. Here are a few tips to help you get the most value from a chatbot.

Let students opt into live chat

We’ve all been there, stuck in an endless phone tree filled with options, or in a chatbot that won’t let you quickly chat with a person or submit a question. Students have diverse preferences, and the options for communications should equally match that diversity. The transition from an AI-Bot to other communications channels, such as live chat and SMS, must be straightforward and easy to find.

When students are interested in talking or texting with a staff member, allowing them these methods to quickly access information is essential. Additionally, providing an option for students to re-start a conversation, or to return to a larger information menu helps cover your bases. Students demand that relevant information be easy to find, on-demand, without having to jump through hoops.

Don’t forget the details

An impersonal service experience can be very disappointing. Sometimes a lack of human interaction can even be a bit jarring.

Taking in a lot of information at once is daunting. Separating information into smaller conversations that mimic’s natural speech and communication makes a bot more approachable. Also, adding a touch of the informal can go a long way. A simple “hello, hey, hi”, or even, saying “howdy” can make a big difference when you are developing a rapport with students.

Finding a healthy balance between adding school spirit, distinctive qualities, and a degree of quirkiness mixed with professionalism will help your service design shine above others.

Thinking about the small details can help you be better prepared to meet students where they are. At we’ve learned from millions of student conversations and interactions. We are ready to help you bring personalized, detailed service to your students.

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Treat your bot like a new employee

Did you know that many AI conversations are now indistinguishable from humans’ conversations? Because of this you’ll want to set the stage and pre-load your chatbot with an intuitive script or menu to help users understand the resource and how to use it best. The possibilities are endless, but you’ll want to set some expectations to ethically disclose who or what resource is on the other end of a conversation. Setting the stage ensures the bot is as efficient as possible.

For example, an introduction script might state, “Hello! I am the chatbot. I can help you get answers to questions about degree programs, admissions and enrollment”. While this is one example of many, you may notice the greeting sets the stage on which questions or topics the bot is suited best to address. This is a proven technique to reinforce what a chatbot does and to direct the students to the expertise that is available.

Chatbots and artificial intelligence are quickly changing the landscape for higher education. However, administrators need to understand that it’s not enough to simply look for a chatbot tool and expect that it will transform the student experience.

Rather, it needs to become a fabric that is woven into the institution as part of a larger strategy. By following these tips, you can ensure that your students are getting the customer service they’ve come to love and expect.

Ready to see how an AI chatbot can help your university? Contact us today to learn about the benefits a chatbot can bring to your school.