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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

What’s On Their Minds Now?
Virtual Agent Technology Taps into the Mind of the Modern Higher Education Student

VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

Introduction
When today’s students need information, their instinctive response is to reach for their smartphone, tablet or laptop, and go online. They’re going there in droves to ask questions. They expect rapid, complete, and accurate answers and desire the ability to serve themselves using technology, or to interact with their peers to get information online. Today’s schools must be ready to respond with information quickly and effectively in order to keep up with this rapidly evolving landscape. The Voice of the Student Report, 2012 Edition from IntelliResponse reveals the top online questions that millions of students across North America are asking. Hundreds of Colleges and Universities rely on the IntelliResponse Virtual Agent software platform to answer tens of thousands of questions from students each day, and we’re making these key insights available to you in this report. Today’s students are sending a clear message: the web is now the primary point of contact between them and the outside world and we had better take notice.

Inside: Key Trends And Data On...
Prospective Students

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Current Students

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Financial Aid Behind the Numbers: Where Our Student Data Came From
Data used in this report was aggregated from tens of millions of online questions posed to North America’s top higher education institutions. Key data is categorized and presented, in the following four areas of interest: • Prospective Students • Current Students • Financial Aid • IT Help Desk

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IT Help Desk

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Implications and Next Steps

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© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

Prospective Students
Overall Areas of Interest
For prospective students, insights into the inner workings of potential target schools are key, and the vast majority go directly online to do initial and ongoing research. Here are more highlights from our findings: • Questions about campus life, how classes are delivered, extra-curricular activities and key academic focus are all of primary importance to prospective students. • The application process and the associated academic requirements for acceptance are also of key interest. • Many students still feel uninformed when it comes to the administrative processes involved in applying and gaining acceptance to a prospective school. These findings speak loudly to the importance of managing the student experience, and your institution’s brand, particularly in terms of recruitment. 4% 15% 38% 15% 28%

Key Topical Interests
Programs and Campus Life The Application Process Academic Requirements Costs & Financial Aid Contacting the School

Top 10 Questions
1. What majors or academic programs do you offer? 2. What are your admission requirements? 3. How much is tuition? 4. How do I apply? 5. When is the application deadline? 6. What are your ACT / SAT requirements? 7. Do you have an Academic Calendar? 8. How do I apply as a transfer student? 9. How do I contact a student, staff member or department? 10. What is the status of my application?

Key Trending Questions
We’ve combed through the top 200 questions to help identify key topical questions that speak to larger trends. Here are some key trending questions to take note of when planning enrollment and recruitment efforts for your institution. Numbers in parentheses indicates question rank. • How can I find out more about your school? (17) • How do I transfer credits from another institution? (20) • Do you offer distance learning courses? (26) • How do I arrange for a campus tour? (28) • Why should I choose your school? (35)

© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

Current Students
Overall Areas of Interest
Perhaps no single stakeholder group exemplifies the need and opportunity for web self-service information on the 21st century campus more than the current student base. Here’s what we discovered: • Close to 75% of all online questions asked by current students deal with administrative and informational issues of one sort or another. • This presents an ideal opportunity for institutions to standardize information delivery (across multiple communication channels such as contact centers, website, social media and mobile) to provide students with the answers they need, while reducing costs and staff workload in key student-facing departments. 15% 11% 44%

Key Topical Interests
Campus Life - Academic Transfers & Administration Campus Life - Housing, Social, Careers

30%

Program Costs & Payment

Key Trending Questions
Having gone through the top 200 questions current students are asking, here are the key trends for administrators to take note of when striving to balance addressing student satisfaction while reducing costs and staff workload. Numbers in parentheses indicates question rank. • Where is the Academic Calendar? (2) • What/Where is the Student Employment & Career Center? (12) • What is your grading policy? (81) • Can I use my own laptop? (89) • How can I find my Student ID number? (21) • What health and dental coverage is available? (25)

Top 10 Questions
1. What types of majors or academic programs do you offer? 2. Where is the academic calendar? 3. How much is tuition? 4. How do I register? 5. How can I pay tuition? 6. Where can I find information about my college or department? 7. Where can I find out which textbooks I need? 8. How can I find a specific building on campus? 9. Where can I get my Final Grades? 10. How do I schedule my courses?

© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

Financial Aid
Overall Areas of Interest
Students concerned with financial aid are, first and foremost, interested in the associated fees and tuition costs for enrolling or remaining enrolled in a particular institution. Below are some key highlights from our research: • Close to 30% of all online questions asked by students are related to the process itself, how it is completed, what resources are available, etc. • Most institutions have room for improvement when it comes to providing accurate information on the application process. • Fees and tuition costs provide the foundation for any future decisions around which institution or financial aid options they decide to pursue. 26%

Key Topical Interests
12% 33%

Tuition-Fee Inquiries The Application Process General/Administrative

29%

Government Programs

Key Trending Questions
By examining the top 200 questions, we’ve been able to identify key topical questions that speak to larger trends. Below are some key trending questions to take note of when ensuring your school fully addresses your students’ financial aid questions. Numbers in parentheses indicates question rank. • How do I contact the Financial Aid Office? (5) • What is a “Stafford Loan” – how do I apply? (36) • Do you have a work-study program? (31) • What are my FERPA Rights? (78)

Top 10 Questions
1. How do I apply for financial aid? 2. How much is tuition? 3. What is the application process? 4. How do I complete my Master Promissory Note (MPN)? 5. What types of financial aid are available? 6. When will I be billed? 7. How do I contact the Financial Aid Office? 8. What is your Federal School Code for financial aid? 9. How do I check the status of my financial aid application? 10. How and when will I receive my financial aid?

© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

IT Help Desk
Overall Areas of Interest
• 33% of all online questions asked in an IT Help Desk environment deal with gaining access to programs via passwords and login information. • A significant portion of all student questions concerning IT relate to: • Remote/ wireless access to student networks. • Online student portals. • Courseware programs like Blackboard. There exists a tremendous opportunity for many overworked, overtaxed IT and contact center departments to deliver simple, self-serve information concerning these areas – which is likely a real source of frustration for both students and staff alike. 11% 9% 33%

Key Topical Interests
Password/Login E-mail Blackboard/Student Portal

21%

Remote/Wireless Access
26%

General Admin

Key Trending Questions
We’ve gleaned through the top 200 questions to identify key trends to address in order to ensure that your school is keeping up with the latest technology challenges that students face in making their learning experience smoother and more rewarding. Numbers in parentheses indicates question rank. • How do I change my password? Why can’t I login? What do I do if I forgot my password? (1, 2, 3) • How do I access wireless? (16) • What is wireless and how do I connect? (17) • What is Blackboard? How do I set up my website? (19, 15) • Can I buy my textbooks online? (88) • How do I find and register for courses? When does the term begin and end? (9, 10)

Top 10 Questions
1. How do I change my password? 2. Why can’t I login? 3. What do I do if I forgot my password? 4. How do I setup my email? 5. How do I access my email? 6. How do I login to (portal)? 7. How do I access my email on the web? 8. How do I activate my email? 9. How do I find and register for courses? 10. When does the term begin and end?

© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

Implications & Next Steps
Resulting Implications – What Does It All Mean?
The need for providing an enhanced student experience online is abundantly clear, as are the costs of not providing this capability to a websavvy constituency such as the modern student. As the data, trends and commentary in this report illustrate, questions posed by students are varied and not always easy to predict. While the macro trends follow defined patterns, each major area, each school, and each student, will have their own unique concerns and methods for asking questions of their institution. Schools must therefore understand and provide effective technologies, such as Virtual Agents that accurately answer the unique questions posed by both current and prospective students in a self-serve format.

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An engaging Virtual Agent such as this can be deployed to accurately answer questions posed by current and prospective students in a self-serve format online.

What Can You Do To Improve The Student Experience?
On your website, students expect to find instant, accurate answers to questions, and make important judgments about your institution based on how easy – or difficult – it is to find what they’re looking for. Here’s 5 things you can do to improve the online student experience at your school: 1. Know What An Enhanced Online Student Experience Should Look Like There are many examples of institutions that made the online experience efficient and smooth for students, and these schools are now reaping the rewards. Click on the links in the column opposite for live examples of virtual agents. 2. Strive for Accuracy Rather than overwhelm the student with pages of irrelevant content during their online experience, it’s essential to deliver precise answers to questions. Offer contextually relevant follow-up information that intelligently matches to the initial question asked. Have a student insight mechanism in place so you can know your content is staying up to date with evolving concerns.

Live Examples of Virtual Agents
These institutions make use of Virtual Agents to help make the online experience efficient and enjoyable for students. University of Texas at San Antonio – “Ask Rowdy” Foothill College – “AskFoothill” Penn State – “Ask the Lion” College of San Mateo Old Dominion University Cape Fear Community College - “Ask Ray” Broward College

© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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VOICE OF THE STUDENT REPORT 2012 EDITION

3. Right-Channel Your Audience Make sure you are channeling students into the right information funnel through intelligent escalation. Make it easy for students to get quick and accurate answers to their questions online as a first point of contact. Then provide options for them to conveniently get hold of you through chat, email or phone. This is not only the more cost-effective way to approach this, but also the method students prefer most. 4. Mobile and Social Matter Students expect to find the same content and the same interaction processes in each channel. So ensure that you are not only delivering a consistent student experience on your website but across all touch points including mobile phone, contact center and social channels. Students want the ability to be able to self-serve on their smartphone and tablets as well as the convenience to ask their questions directly from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s now very dangerous to ignore consumer service preferences in these two service channels. For mobile alone, 50% of smartphone users prefer to use a mobile customer service application for resolving their issue before calling into the contact center.1 5. Ask for Help Don’t be afraid to ask for help. IntelliResponse has helped hundreds of higher education institutions across North America tackle the challenges addressed in this report and dramatically improve the overall student experience. IntelliResponse Virtual Agents are helping higher education institutions stay competitive by delivering fast, accurate answers to questions online, anytime of the day or night. Contact us today.

Students want to self-serve for answers using their smartphone and tablets

Sources: 1 http://fonolo.com/blog/2012/03/customer-experience-statistics-2012/

About IntelliResponse Systems IntelliResponse is the leading provider of virtual agent technology solutions for higher education. Our patented Enterprise Virtual Agent solutions create profitable online conversations for hundreds of leading colleges and universities across North America and Europe. For more information about IntelliResponse, visit www.IntelliResponse.com.

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To learn more about creating profitable online conversations with your customers, visit www.IntelliResponse.com.

© 2012 IntelliResponse Systems Inc.

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