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The artificial intelligence (AI) technology is gaining popularity. Everyone is keen to leverage its benefits at different levels of our day-to-day working.
So, why should educational institutes fall behind? In this blog, we’ll examine how academic institutes can benefit from investing in AI tools such as chatbot to improve brand image and boost admissions.
What are Chatbots?
Chatbots are basically conversational computer programs capable of interacting with humans. They act as virtual agents for businesses to streamline customer relationship management.
The most commonly used example of this technology are online messenger tools.
Chatbot is believed to be among the top artificial intelligence technologies that will rule 2018.
Why are Chatbots gaining popularity?
The idea behind creating a robot able to communicate with humans is not new. What’s changed is its innovative use companies have found to augment business intelligence.
Analysis from ‘Google Trends’ shows that the term Chatbots has become very popular among people since the beginning of 2016.
According to a report published by ‘Business Insider Intelligence’, 80% of businesses want to use chatbots by 2020. Most companies want to use it as an important channel to communicate with their target market. They have seen rewarding perks of using chatbots for their business.
The growing popularity of chatbots can be attributed to three main reasons:
Firstly, due to the need of mechanizing key business operations.
Automation of key business processes such as CRM (customer relationship management) not only helps to cut down cost by reducing dependence on human intervention but also helps in better use of such resources.
Secondly, the proliferation of communication channels in last one decade has changed the way we chat. It has resulted in the growth of new messaging applications such as Chatbot.
Chatbot is evolving as a powerful communication instrument using the internet to help various industries increase outreach by better engagement with their existing and prospective customers on 24/7 basis.
Thirdly, advancements in AI technologies using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and voice recognition has made interactive computer programs understand and handle users’ queries more efficiently and accurately.
How can chatbots help educational institutes?
Let’s take a closer look on how these conversational programs can benefit academic institutions.
#1 Improves Query Handling System
People today expect fast online services with timely response to their queries. They want complaints to be resolved quickly and expect companies to provide 24/7 customer support service. Millennials are even more eager. They expect you to reply instantly.
Here come Chatbots. Chatbots can become a vital part of your admission counselling ecosystem. It can enhance user interaction with your educational enterprise resulting in good customer experience.
Besides the college website, increasing number of students are tuning in to social media messaging to contact admission desk. While there are online and offline tools that will help you manage the inflow of students’ queries but sometimes they’re just not enough, particularly during peak season of admission cycle.
Social media chatbots such as Facebook Messenger chatbot can share the influx of students messages by letting you automatically respond to their questions timely. They can be helpful in handling preliminary enquiries on courses offered, eligibility criteria, selection process and other frequently asked questions. This can help colleges to put their resources to handle other important concerns of prospective students thereby improving overall productivity of the admission team.
#2 Give Boost to Admission Marketing
Chatbots help educational brands to establish meaningful touchpoints of engagement to connect with broader potential audience. Notification bot helps in sharing important updates with your target audience. Successful deployment of chatbots can give huge benefits to educational entities in optimizing admission marketing efforts.
Chatbots can be deployed as standalone bot on your digital assets such as website, app or through social platforms like Fb / Messenger etc.
You can treat your chatbot as a powerful content marketing tool to engage audience.
Online messenger bots is the best option to engage users on your digital platforms (website / mobile). Messenger bots can significantly improve counselling services offered by any academic institution. Messenger bots offer personalized messaging by recognizing the users.
Visitors can be re-targeted by integrating it with your Ads giving boost to your admission marketing drive. Leads captured can be reached out again with more targeted messaging next time.
#3 Use Chatbots as Powerful PR Tool for Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Chatbot marketing can be introduced in your college as a PR tool to take advantage of this fast and user-friendly medium of customer engagement.
A successful goal of this platform can be to create favourable connect between your audience and the institute. As a result of its longer-term benefit, it can help improve overall brand image of your college.
Chatbots can be a huge asset for academic entities to handle online reputation marketing when the volume of queries is extremely high. This is especially needed in large universities and colleges offering multiple courses.
In this way, whether your prospective students are using a personal computer or a smart phone, they will remain accessible and hooked to your brand.
Although chatbot marketing is yet to reach a level of customization where it can fully offload the work of customer support desk but still it is far better in many ways.
It can assist marketing teams in some basic tasks that can be automated, saving time and money.
Given the growing popularity of bot messaging interfaces, this new communication instrument has all the potential to redefine online counselling services in academia. It will drastically reduce waiting time in reverting to students’ queries. With the help of chatbot technology, information retrieval can be an exciting experience for the users.
All this will help management focus on more strategic work rather than invest time and money in routine tasks.
Market intelligence suggests that a lot of companies going forward will automate up to 90 per cent of their interactions through chatbots by 2022.
Similar trend will emerge in academic institutions in the country when the volume of online queries will increase. Chatbots will then no longer be a choice but a compulsion for educational enterprises.
In future, special purpose bots will have to be built for academic institutes to increase marketing efficiency.
The only thing that needs to be discussed here onwards is not whether chatbots will eventually replace the human interface someday, but how Chatbots can further modernise the way people seek information and connect with institutions.