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10 Key Capabilities of Contact Centers in Higher Education

10 Key Capabilities of Contact Centers in Higher Education

NEC Contact Center Higher EducationWe’ve all been that frustrated caller on hold waiting to speak to a “real” person who can address our concerns. While waiting, you’ve probably thought of all the ways your experience could be improved if they would just answer the one or two quick questions you wish to ask. While you can’t get any of your time back, the good news is, there are several contact center features that can minimize your customer’s frustration, and, as a result enhance their experience. It’s no secret that a consolidated, centralized contact center can increase staff efficiency, but how is this increased efficiency accomplished? The following list highlights the first five of ten ways contact centers enhance institutions of higher learning.

1. Contact Routing for Multimedia Contacts

Multimedia contact centers enable students, prospective students and other customers to interact with campus offices however they please – whether by phone, e-mail or Web chat. Regardless of the medium they choose, call routing ensures each student receives the priority attention they deserve.

For example, many campuses may sell tickets to campus events over the Internet. Potential customers include not only students, faculty and staff, but members of the community as well. If your campus contact center offers customers an extra opportunity to have their questions answered by offering a web chat capability, you can very well decrease the number of abandoned shopping carts, while increasing the number of completed sales and simultaneously providing opportunities for personnel in the ticket office to better serve customers.

For offices taking calls from existing students, faculty and staff, contacts can be routed based on campus identification (ID) numbers. This number enables the call to be routed, along with caller information from a stored database, to the most appropriate representative. For prospective students or other callers, the Automatic Number Identification (ANI – typically the caller’s phone number) can be used to route or set a priority to the call.

2. Response Library and E-mail Auto-Response

A knowledge-based library houses responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ). Use of these pre-defined entries can simplify the representative’s job and significantly speed the process of creating responses.

One useful element to store in the knowledge library is a response to be automatically delivered to the sender of a message to give them an idea of when their inquiry may receive attention. When an e-mail is received, the multimedia application should automatically reply with a message acknowledging receipt and committing to a personalized response in a specified timeframe. In doing this, the campus has a much greater opportunity to meet expectations – and met expectations translate into customer satisfaction.

3. Screen Pop

When a caller can be identified by either campus ID or phone number, database information for that caller can be presented in a pop-up window to the representative at the time the call is received. This feature is known as “screen pop” and eliminates the time required for a representative to collect key information from the caller, resulting in increased productivity and improved accuracy.

4. Queue Announcements

At a time of high call volume (which is typical in contact centers), it is inevitable that some callers will wind up in queue waiting to speak to a campus representative. However, implementing queue announcements can discourage callers from hanging up by offering other contact options and providing useful information.
Did you know that a caller in queue is using campus resources – ports in the communications infrastructure, IVR resources, and potentially long distance resources? If this caller becomes frustrated with the wait, hangs up and calls back later, then the campus pays for twice as many resources for that one caller. This costly situation can be avoided by providing information to set the expectation for the caller, making them much less likely to “abandon” their call while waiting in queue. In either case, resources are not wasted since the campus only pays for the caller to wait in queue one time.

5. Callback

Callback can help improve caller satisfaction. In addition, callbacks decrease indirect costs and direct costs. Indirect costs are associated with the ports required to keep calls in queue. Direct costs are reduced as the campus does not incur toll charges for the time the call remains in queue awaiting an answer. The callback capability offers to return the call when an agent becomes available, thus preserving the caller’s place in the queue. The result – reduced resources required to support the call on hold. Additionally, callers can be offered a return call at the time when their call would normally have been answered, or they are offered the opportunity to request a callback at a specific time.

Whether you’re looking to increase productivity and efficiency, enhance student experience, or make a financial impact, your campus or university may have much to gain from a successfully implemented contact center. We’ve just scratched the surface on the benefits you can reap, to learn more, check back for 6-10 and download the White Paper.

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