Emerging Solution: Chatbot

Student services offices at higher education institutions, from admissions to financial aid to the registrar’s office, interact with students in a variety of ways. They share guidance on how to navigate the business processes and services that the office delivers, answer questions that may arise, and build communications to help students more easily understand how to be successful at the college or university. Most use their web sites to display information, send emails to students around specific processes and deadlines, and answer questions raised by students in emails, phone calls, or visiting the office in person. Yet, many students still struggle to navigate the “system” leading to frustration, often prolonging their studies.

To better communicate with students, some campuses are exploring the use of chatbots. A chatbot is a service, powered by rules, that a person interacts with via a chat interface. There are two types of chatbots, one functions based on a set of rules, and the other more advanced version uses machine learning. In very advanced versions artificial intelligence can drive the system and improve answers and service over time. Many chatbots are presented to customers in a user-friendly format such as a virtual agent that creates an experience that resembles a real-life interaction in a store or office.

For higher education, chabots and virtual agents present possibilities for improving student services by engaging them in spaces where they may be more familiar and comfortable. The growth in messaging applications outside of social media platforms suggests that students may utilize chatbots or virtual agents to help them navigate the processes and requirements for them to succeed at their institutions.

Conference Highlights

How A.I., Virtual Agents and Chatbots are Changing the Stakeholder Experience
2017 Technology & Transfer Conference
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have opened up a new frontier of applications. Explore how virtual agents, chatbots, and other AI applications are changing the world of customer experience in higher education. Implementation strategies and issues, vendor partnerships and technology management, and the importance of how to leverage these applications to improve our communications approaches will be discussed. 

Additional Emerging Solutions