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How a Chatbot on a College Website Can Increase Retention

by | Aug 10, 2021

Retention makes sure students who come to college with an academic plan reach their final goal with a degree in hand. Many students come to college with goals and ambitions, but without all the skills and tools they need to succeed.

In this article, we’ll cover what a chatbot for college websites can do for retention rates at higher education institutions, and how colleges and universities can get started.

A chatbot increases student retention in the following ways.

A chatbot helps students navigate the institution’s website.

With artificial intelligence (AI) reshaping the customer service experience at many organizations, chatbots are now being used as a tool to supplement website navigation and streamline content delivery. Colleges and universities generally have large, complex websites that can be difficult for users to navigate. A chatbot guides website visitors using live chat and conversational language so that they can find what they’re looking for quickly.

Students can find the resources they need 24/7 without having to approach admissions or department team members for help. This frees up team members from answering frequently asked questions, so they can focus on higher-value tasks.

Here are some topics a chatbot can talk to students about:

  • What they need to know for successful college life
  • Which classes do they need to take
  • How to register for classes
  • How to find housing on campus
  • Social activities
  • How to connect with academic advisors
  • How to apply for financial aid
  • What to do if they need assistance
  • Who to contact in the event of an emergency
  • Opening times for dining and other campus services

A chatbot can proactively reach out to students.

Colleges need to ensure that students are staying connected to the important information and resources they need as they progress through their time at university. Rather than waiting for students to check in, a chatbot can reach out to students to help them complete academic and administrative tasks. If a student fails to complete the task on time, automated messages continue to follow up and send notifications.

This helps students meet deadlines without relying on human team members to make calls, send emails or messages, and post letters. A chatbot can also identify high-risk students early on in their college career before they fall too far behind academically or financially. It can improve their chances of graduating through targeted interventions like connecting them to tutoring and mentoring services.

Here are some topics a chatbot can reach out to students about:

  • Registering for the year
  • Late payments
  • Reminders to file their FAFSA
  • Handing in assignments for courses
  • Applying for a scholarship program

Finding out where students are having trouble is a difficult and time-consuming task for human team members. A chatbot can analyze data across the college and provide intelligent data, knowledge, and insights at the click of a button. This information can help administrators identify problem areas and find solutions that will increase retention rates at the institution.

Colleges can see patterns; for example, what time of day students are engaging with the chatbot. If engagement peaks between 10 am and 3 pm, then the college can offer more assistance to students during that period.

Next steps to increase retention rates.

Getting students to stay in touch with important information and resources while they are at college can be a real challenge for universities. A chatbot can help you reach your students 24/7 where they spend most of their time—online.

A chatbot also generates positive impressions for your institution. Students and other stakeholders will enjoy interacting with a bot that delivers useful content and makes them feel valued.

What is Capacity?

Capacity is an AI-powered support automation platform with chatbot functionality for the education industry. It connects your entire stack of tech tools to answer questions, automate support tasks, and build solutions to any student challenge.

Universities can use Capacity to attract, engage, and retain students. The platform helps faculty and staff with new student onboarding and general support, so they can focus on tasks that require human input.

Capacity provides an easy way to set up chatbot functionality for college websites so they can automatically send messages directly to Facebook Messenger or other channels that students are already using every day. Colleges can use our platform to drive engagement and retention among many audiences, including prospective students, new students, and alumni.

Maryville University is one college that has implemented a chatbot with Capacity. President Mark Lombardi, Ph.D., says, “Our amazing growth is a tribute to our innovative and revolutionary approach to student learning and outcomes. We have partnered with Capacity to proactively ensure our students are getting the support they need to successfully achieve their educational goals.”

Check out more information about using Capacity at an educational institution.

Get started with Capacity.

Capacity is driving the next generation of self-service and helping students stay the course from orientation to graduation. Higher education institutions can go live with the platform within 30 days.