CX Challenges Facing Higher Education Institutions

From growing competition and pressure to meet admissions targets, while ensuring positive on-campus experiences, higher education institutions today face numerous challenges.

college students talking outside

The postsecondary education landscape is changing. Peoples’ preferences and priorities are continually changing, along with growing expectations for quick, positive experiences. Here are three of the biggest challenges facing higher education institutions today:

Informing a broad range of audiences

Prospective and current students, parents, faculty, staff – institutions must support a wide range of audiences.

Each group has different needs. Prospective students and parents may seek information to help them select an institution, while current students may look for course information and schedules. Faculty and staff may seek the latest information to help them best perform their specific duties. Not to mention, with the advent of COVID-19, each of these groups look to stay up to date with quick and reliable information to help them navigate these turbulent times.

People’s expectations for effortless access to specific information and relevant resources are only growing. Doing so, while helping reduce staff stress and question backlogs, is a challenge most organizations face today. With people’s growing preference for digital self-serve tools, the rise of chatbots in recent years has helped them take on these challenges.

For higher education institutions, leveraging AI-powered chatbots that use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Conversational AI can help tailor their answers and messaging to each audience group. It can also help deter them from needing to reach out to representatives. Though users should still be able to easily escalate their questions to a school representative if they wish.

Understanding, attracting, and supporting prospective students

Higher Education institutions face a constant crunch to meet their admissions goals. According to a 2019 study, the majority of admissions leaders were very concerned about filling classes.

For prospective students, the decision of which college or university to attend is immense. It represents a huge investment of time and money with the hope of a degree delivering its promise of finding a well-paying career. In fact, one study found that students dissatisfied with their experience at a university were more than three times as likely to consider leaving than satisfied ones.

Attracting students requires understanding their needs, expectations, and preferences from their higher education institutions. Also, how they perceive your institution and what it offers them, compared to the growing number of other institutions out there.

  • What are their priorities when looking for a higher education institution to attend?
  • What are their biggest drivers when deciding on an institution?
  • How are their preferences changing in terms of online vs. on-campus learning, especially due to COVID-19?

Parents and students approach the application process with trepidation. It’s the responsibility of the college or university to alleviate their concerns. Obtaining these first-party insights can help you support them in their research, remove friction from the application process, and even inform your recruitment strategy.

Gauging how people perceive your institution compared to others

Prospective students have more choice than ever in terms of the higher education institution they can attend. In the US alone, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that there are approximately 3,700 degree-granting post-secondary institutions.

At the same time, online learning is gaining popularity, with one study finding that about half of undergraduate and graduate students feeling their online learning experiences surpass their in-classroom ones.

With so many competing institutions and options, the need to stand out is critical to attracting top student talent.

To help you do this, you must stay on top of not only how your institution is being perceived by students and parents, but how they’re comparing you to other institutions based on specific characteristics. This includes ensuring their social media monitoring and listening efforts are set up to easily compare people’s perceptions and sentiment on these institutions based on keywords and other attributes.

Astute helps higher education institutions tackle these challenges

Astute empowers higher education and postsecondary institutions with engagement software and first-party insights to deliver exceptional and informative experiences for prospective and current students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Help people help themselves, quickly and efficiently. Astute’s AI-driven chatbot ensures website visitors have quick and easy access to the reliable, accurate answers they need on any device. Our self-service, conversational interface interprets customers’ intent to help them with various tasks while giving them the ability to escalate their question to one of your live representatives when needed.

Support your staff to handle complex inquiries. Astute’s CRM platform provides representatives with context, suggestions for the next best action, and consistent answers pulled internal knowledge bases. Ensure quick and helpful responses to best support your students, faculty, and staff.

Monitor and respond to social posts. Astute’s social media management platform helps you stay on top of how people speak about your institution on social media channels and public forums. Gauge sentiment for every mention, and see how you compare to other key institutions. Identify, escalate, and address urgent posts directly from the platform to ensure quick, timely responses.

Obtain first-party insights to drive decisions. Engage website visitors for targeted feedback using intuitive, secure, and accessible survey technology. Learn about your audiences’ needs, expectations, preferences, how they perceive your website, and what you can do to improve their experience. Even gauge how they view your institution to others based on specific attributes.

Learn more and see Astute’s suite of engagement solutions in action. Request a personalized demo today.