Whenever a vendor says 'trust me, it's simple, just a few lines of code' it's never that simple, but with ivy.ai it was.
Ken Kaiser, Vice President, CFO and Treasurer at Temple
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 Temple University, Ken Kaiser has leveraged AI technology since 2017 where he serves as the Vice President and CFO.
Identifying the Need
Kaiser noticed a lack of responsiveness in the Provost and HR offices. The Provost’s office received an overwhelming number of general questions related to topics such as payment deadlines and financial aid questions. “When you’re dealing with students, every answer is life and death,” Kaiser said. When they receive information, they want to double- and triple-check it.” From the HR side, university employees and retirees took up hours of valuable time per week asking questions related to payment cycles, insurance and reimbursement. These questions ultimately prevented Temple’s HR staff from getting to the core of their jobs.
Temple wanted its employees to provide a consistent message to all inbound inquiries while providing great service. In order to reach their objectives, Kaiser needed a tool that could help his staff be proactive, rather than reactive in their outreach.
Prior to onboarding with ivy.ai, Kaiser expected a long, technical implementation process. When the team told him that it actually was as straightforward as installing a few lines of code on the website, he was skeptical at first, but pleasantly surprised to learn it really was that easy. “Whenever a vendor says ‘trust me, it’s simple, just a few lines of code’ it’s never that simple, but with ivy.ai it was,” Kaiser said.
One of the key factors in choosing ivy.ai was that the point person in the HR staff or Bursar’s office could complete implementation without burdening IT. This empowered his employees to embrace the upgraded technology and take a project management lead they could be proud of.
Temple saw an immediate impact following its implementation of ivy.ai. Call volume dipped 50 percent in the Provost’s office and provided the answers to important finance-related questions. As part of the stimulus plan to combat financial losses due to COVID-19, students were entitled to half of all payments sent to higher ed institutions. Kaiser noted that ivy.ai helped Temple provide quick and consistent messaging to its 16,000 students who qualified for grants. The institution also created a FAQ page based on questions the bot received.
On the HR side, calls decreased 20 percent as employees and retirees noticed their questions being answered timely, with little delay. Meanwhile, the HR and Provost staffs note an easy-to-use interface with little to no learning curve, allowing them to focus more on their strategic responsibilities.
Kaiser believes the enrollment cliff will most impact the Northeast due to an increasing number of families in the region opting out of having children. In order to compete in today’s market, institutions will need to differentiate themselves with superb customer service. For this reason, Temple is proud to be a long-term user of ivy.ai’s chatbot.