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Best Practices for UChat Conversations with Students


With a live chat tool like UChat, the timing of responses is arguably one of the most important practices to consider. In this modern age of technology, students expect their questions to be answered quickly and personally.
To provide the best experience for students, it is best practice to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. For the best chance to connect with the student before they move on to a new page, we suggest an initial response time of less than 5 minutes. To ensure you are enabled to reach this goal, we encourage your team to enable notifications so that they are aware of new inquiries as soon as they come in.

Note: You can enable desktop notifications in UChat to alert you of any new messages. You can find this prompt at the top of the Team or Profile pages.

Additionally, it is beneficial to develop a set of standard responses for inquiries so that students receive a positive and consistent experience no matter who they are connected with. This also saves time in responding, as initial responses are already created.
As is common with Live Chat tools, it is likely that most conversations will be a one-time occurance. While students are able to log back into to UChat to pick up with a conversation, this does not happen very often. To make the most of the short time (typically less than 5 messages per student), it is important to be brief with your responses while also incorporating as much helpful information as possible. Using links to helpful information or referring the student to the best resource on the topic in question is a great way to do this. Additionally, providing the student with your contact information (email or phone number) at the end of your conversation will make the student feel that you care and also give them a direct contact should they have questions in the future.

Conversation Management

As you will see in the next Module on the Student Experience, inquirers can choose to ask a specific person a question based on their profile, or ask a question without specifying the staff member. Because of this, it is important to have a team member in UChat monitor incoming messages and assign them to the appropriate person based on the topic. This “Conversation Manager” could be the UChat Admin or could be assigned to each team member on a rotating basis so all inquiries are being monitored each day.
To do this, ask yourself the following:

  • Which department/staff member is best suited to help with this inquiry?
  • Does the inbound message require personal assistance from an admissions counselor?
  • Do they need to be redirected to a specific web page on our website?
  • Would it be best to connect them with a student ambassador, financial aid assistant, some one managing a specific event, etc?

Once you've identified the likely routes people will be channeled, you're able to tailor your messages accordingly. And you're also able to set the correct expectations internally to manage how you can be organized and most helpful.
Managing conversations from a high level is also important for when team members are out on PTO or are sick. By assigning a team member to manage conversations, you can make sure that other team members jump into conversations for those who are out so that the student is still getting a timely response.

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