How 8×8 is helping universities unlock new communication strategies post-pandemicMichael Curran
We can all make educated assessments about which industries struggled the most following the onset of the Pandemic in 2020. Many might suggest higher education would be near the top of the list, as everything from face-to-face lectures and tutorials, to securing overseas registrations and offering the all-important social experiences changed in the blink of an eye.
Although students are witnessing a return to the status quo when it comes to “student life,” for the institutions themselves, the whole episode has forced them to rethink how best to use their tech stick that satisfy the requirements of their students and staff alike. This is where 8×8 – an industry leader in Voice over IP products – are displaying their expertise, as we will explain in this blog.
Providing much-needed flexibility to the contact centre
The annual admission clearing process is a significant operational challenge for many universities but is managed by the support of large contact centres. However, the ability to afford the same level of contact centre resource all year round has historically been a headache for universities to cope with give the demand, or lack of, outside of the clearing window.
“We’ve listened to what universities want, we understand the modern challenges they face and the historical problems they have had in their communications infrastructure and we have built our technology to address their unique needs,” says Joe Murphy, the Sales Director for Public Sector at 8x8s.
The 8×8 offering is evidence of this; universities now have the flexibility to run a large-scale contact centre during the clearing period, which can be scaled down and re-purposed for student welfare and other services throughout the rest of the year. As demand shifts, having this ability to scale up or down as required is crucial from an affordability standpoint.
Supporting student welfare
“A number of UK universities have used our technology to help mitigate issues for students that go beyond learning,” said Murphy. “Students and their parents are increasingly assessing welfare alongside educational performance and it makes a university more attractive if it has strong student health and wellbeing capabilities and resources in place.”
Microsoft Teams is key to this. Not only were 8×8 one of the first companies to obtain Contact Centre certified status for Microsoft Teams, but it is the primary collaboration platform for many institutions. From a practical point of view, the student experience can be enhanced through the routing of calls to Teams users, the recording of calls and supporting omnichannel interactions.
“We’re providing layers of security and support and addressing the early stages of the first semester where students are settling in after a very unusual two years of pandemic,” Murphy adds. “8×8 can really address and support that transformation in student welfare.”
Seamless interactions across all channels
The customer experience is under the microscope for all business right now, including universities. Historically, revenue from overseas registrations has been significantly important and that continues today. Seamless interaction with a university is therefore key to attracting more students, in addition to ensuring they can communicate in their preferred channels; further opportunities that are being addressed by the 8×8 offering.
“Generation Z prefers using digital channels so universities need to enable non-voice communications as well,” says Murphy. “Universities also gain substantial revenue from foreign students so we’ve enabled web transcription so students from China or India, for example, can chat in their native language with professors. There’s no need for expensive translators because you can now target the students you want to attract.”
Murphy concludes: “We have a unique offering in terms of the single platform we can provide. It enables universities to address the generational shift and bring together everyone from students, staff, lecturers and academics to Gen z and millennials to Gen X and boomers that want to communicate in a centralised way. Our platform enables universities to provide higher levels of student welfare and support and try new channels.”
Get in touch
If you work for a higher education institution and can relate to any of the issues outlined in this blog, then now is the time to find out how 4Sight Communications can help you with the support of our implementation partner 8×8.
Contact us today. Call +44 (0)20 3668 0444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org