10 Key Capabilities of Contact Centers in Higher Education

nec-contact-center-higher-education-part2Long hold times and staff inefficiency are just a few flaws that can affect customer service and experience. In our last post we highlighted the first five of ten ways you can put your contact center to work for you by using it to enhance your campus. Keep reading as we reveal 6-10.

6. Agent Assignment Flexibility and Statistics

When your contact center has flexible agent assignment capability, the administrative offices can increase or decrease staff available to take calls during peak activity times. There are two methods to accomplish this objective: process and technology.

With the process method, any individual who takes calls is established as an “agent”. At normal times, only those whose primary job function includes answering incoming queries log in to the contact center application. As call volume increases, additional personnel can log in to take calls and relieve any backlog, and log off when the call volume decreases. A unified communications (UC) enabled desktop application for agents simplifies this process by allowing agents to easily view the information that they need through a desktop client.

With the technology solution, again, any individual who takes calls is established as an “agent”. The contact center application is programmed to send calls to back-up personnel only when certain thresholds are met – the number of waiting callers or the longest time any caller has currently waited. The benefit of this technology solution is that it tends to respond more quickly and reliably to spikes in the call volume.

7. Auto Attendant and Campus Directory

The Auto Attendant provides call routing capabilities for the campus. You may recognize this feature as the familiar situation where the caller hears a greeting message and is given up to ten options to begin directing the call – for example, “For Administrative Offices, press 1, Health Center press 2, etc.” Auto Attendant options can be processed several ways: play an automated message, transfer to an extension number or contact center, or further qualify with additional prompts.

You can implement an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to produce messages that provide answers to common questions. When you do this, it takes the load off of staff, giving them more time to provide assistance to other callers.

8. Mobile and Remote Representatives

You can easily allow your campus representatives to become mobile by merging your contact center technology with wireless technology. Doing so improves efficiency and means that help desk staffers can be reached while providing in-person computer repair, and bookstore personnel can walk around the store to check stock on an item. The “Remote Agent” capability allows staff to be reached even when out of the office. This is an ideal way to provide flexibility to your staffand assure that critical help lines remain open regardless of any campus closure.

9. Outbound: Preview and Power Dialing

Outbound contact center capabilities can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of a fund raising campaign. When the dialing process is automated, time spent on wrong numbers is significantly reduced. You can go a step further and integrate with a database of historical donations, thereby streamlining the information gathering process so solicitation can begin immediately.

Once a campus representative becomes available for the next call, preview dialing enables that individual to preview the information regarding the next call prior to the placement of that call. With the press of a button, the system dials the call. Power dialing is similar, but automatically dials the next call when the representative becomes available, while simultaneously displaying the preview information.

10. Self-Service Applications (IVR and Web)
You can further enhance your contact center efficiency by transferring tasks to self-service applications enabled to work over IVR or web interface. Good candidates for self service are those which integrate a user interface with data in various campus databases, for example, student and personnel records, library services, etc. Self-service applications allow users to access and work with distributed content from a single interface.

A few self service opportunities on a campus include:

  • admissions and registration processing and status
  • health and medical database information
  • order status for recent purchases
  • password reset
  • time sheets and time tracking
  • benefits administration

You can rest assured that security concerns are addressed by establishing the strongest possible authentication and identity management measures. Single sign-on and identity management applications enable the user to login to multiple locations through a single login manager with a single unique password.
When evaluating applications for potential self-service implementation, the campus should evaluate not just the cost savings but also the improvement in customer service by enabling users to have access at their convenience.

Check out our previous post where we listed the first five ways a contact center can help improve your campus, and, to learn more about the benefits your campus can reap with a UC enabled contact center, download the white paper.

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