04 Apr 2018 By: Jessica Eyre

In business, the best customer is the one you already have. When it comes to customer service for colleges and universities, that means keeping your students engaged and re-enrolling through graduation.

One way to keep students enrolled and coming back each term is by making it easier for you to communicate with students and for students to communicate with you, via live chat. Here are five reasons why proactive outreach is important for students.

  1. Students aren’t always available during business hours.

The nature of being a student, whether traditional or nontraditional, often means extended hours are needed to accommodate their needs. A recent campaign on a college campus found that one of the largest barriers to re-enrollment was not being able to access the support needed, when they needed it. Having 24-hour live chat support means your students can get the answers they are looking for—even if it’s at 2 a.m. when the questions are burning.

 

  1. Don’t make students do all the heavy lifting.

Navigating the world of higher education can be overwhelming. Even if it isn’t your first time on campus, there is a lot to manage. By being the first to reach out—not just to at-risk students but all students—you can instill a sense of caring and trust. And offering up important information—whether it be about registration or financial-aid deadlines, course details, or other common areas—can help make the path to registration, enrollment, and graduation much smoother.

 

“Anticipating student needs is critical when engaging in such an initiative. Before beginning, identify key reasons why students haven’t registered such as lack of finances, lack of information pertaining to courses, and lack of knowledge pertaining to registration and deadlines,” Sue Ohrablo, adjunct professor at Valencia College.

  1. Students don’t just leave for academic reasons.

In fact, 70–80 percent of students who leave school do so because of cost, social difficulties, unclear expectations, or isolation, meaning they didn’t feel they could reach out for assistance. By being proactive, you can help your students feel like they are part of the community and that you are behind them 100 percent.

 

  1. It gives prospective students a sense of security.

Getting a degree is one of the biggest financial decisions a person will make in his or her lifetime. Just like online shopping for other products, shopping for a higher education institution often involves multiple visits to the world wide web. When polled, 63 percent of online consumers said they were more likely return to a website if it offered live chat. Offering answers to questions right when they occur can make the decision-making process much smoother and establish a reputation of knowledge and customer service from the very beginning.

 

  1. Outreach is a great way to find out what students are really thinking.

By giving students an outlet for grievances, problems, and—of course—what’s working, institutions can identify and fix barriers to registration or enrollment, or even problems with a particular department or faculty member that might not come up otherwise.

Providing proactive outreach is a great tool to keep lines of communication open with both prospective and current students and keep them with you through graduation. To learn more or get started, contact us today!

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