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What is Transactional Data? (+3 Examples of How Institutions are Using it Today)

When the average student reviews their institution’s website for information, it is more often than not a confusing experience. Even with institutions’ best attempt at providing as much information as possible, students are prone to seek additional support beyond what’s available on the website.

However, transactional data is changing the way that institutions everywhere are interacting with their students. Instead of relying on call center support to answer specific student questions, institutions are utilizing transactional data to help students at scale in a more efficient manner.

In this post, we’ll discuss what transactional data is and how it can benefit both students and institutions alike.

What is AI transactional data?

AI transactional data reflects how users interact with an institution’s website, especially as it relates to the most frequently discussed topics, peak usage times, and which channels users leverage to access knowledge.

Institutions can use transactional data to provide more pertinent information to students that is relevant and up-to-date. It helps students understand the why and allows them to get information outside of traditional business hours even if the information isn’t readily available on your website.

Utilizing transactional data can provide valuable intel for your staff, whether that’s changing an employee’s hours to match with higher traffic on your website or redesigning your website to match the language students are asking. Think of transactional data as providing a real-time feedback loop.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to harness the power of transactional data at your institution, it might feel abstract to understand how it might be beneficial. Here are three examples of how institutions are using transactional data to gain a competitive advantage.

Transactional data can clarify tuition information

Students are often confused about questions related to tuition. One example from Morgan State University highlights that tuition information on their website initially confused visitors because the language didn’t make it clear whether or not the amount shown was for the semester or for the year. Morgan State then used this information to provide better clarity on their website regarding the cost for attendance.

Transactional data ultimately allows institutions to provide clarity around areas such as tuition deadlines, refund information and exceptions that would otherwise require students to call or email for help answering their questions. It sheds light on content gaps or where needs for seasonal content exist so institutions can provide more value to students up-front.

Given that attending an institution of higher education can be a budget-conscious decision, administrators are best served working to ensure that students can find information readily available without any hassle.

Providing detailed class information

Institutions often provide sufficient information regarding the majors available to students, but not the courses needed in order to complete the major. Most websites are often too bare bones and focused at the program and application level, rather than trying to help current students determine which classes they should take.

While you don’t need every bit of detailed information on your website, our experience shows that there’s often a gap in the user experience between what institutions think students want compared to what they actually expect. Transactional data can help institutions close that gap by identifying different areas of the student journey that are unfulfilled and provide class information as needed.

Optimizing the Customer Experience

Many institutions are switching their service models to be remote based rather than having their entire staff in the office every day. This flexibility enables staff to adjust their hours to when students are most likely to be online. Optimizing your workforce requires having deep data and insights into when students are most likely to visit your website.

In our experience working with institutions, students typically want to get answers to their questions in the early evening hours. Since this time is after traditional work hours, students would have to wait until the next morning before getting their questions answered. Now that support staff are working a more hybrid model, administrators space out their employees’ time so that there is someone available for more hours of the day. In addition, they can adequately scale to have more help when the site is seeing increased traffic.

Institutions that want to be competitive moving forward need to leverage a data-driven approach when it comes to deciding which information should be on the website. By utilizing transactional data, institutions can better optimize the student experience and show that they’re student-centric. Transactional data helps institutions react in real-time to their student needs while keeping their website up-to-date.