How to Use Texting & Chatbots to Provide Campus Reopening Updates

2 min read

Utilizing technology will allow your college to meet constituents’ expectations.

As the country continues to take steps to open amidst coronavirus fears, colleges and universities are either:

  1. Deciding whether or not to open in the fall
  2. Establishing a plan to open in the fall 

Whether your college already has a plan in place or is still sorting through information, it’s important to keep students and parents in the loop. As stated in the Chronicle of Higher Education, there is still a lot of fear in every community about public health and safety, and the best way to alleviate fear is to replace it with information.

Students are not only concerned about the threat of coronavirus, they’re also concerned about the value of their education if it is disrupted by a health scare.  

The facts, good or bad, can instill confidence in your institution and reduce melt. The more information a student has, the better the chances they continue with their plans to attend classes in the upcoming semester. Conversely, if your college is not sharing information with the public, students and parents might anticipate that the news is bad or that your school has no plan. 

The Front Line of Communication

The first place students and parents will turn to for information about COVID-19 and campus readiness is your school’s website. With a chatbot, prospective students, parents, and current students are served the latest campus and COVID-related updates, instantaneously.

chatbot conversation screenshot

A chatbot on your homepage welcomes visitors with an immediate, open dialogue about COVID-related updates. Specific playbooks (conversation flows) can be as descriptive as your school sees fit, and website visitors won’t be forced to search for crucial information.  

Satisfying a website visitor’s need for instruction and information builds trust, resulting in a positive impression of your institution. Plus, a chatbot saves your staff valuable time. 

Using Texting and Webchat Together

Giving visitors the information upfront with a quick chat is ideal, but it’s likely they will have additional questions. Live chat conversations can provide that reinforcement.   

Higher ed chat solutions should seamlessly hand off conversations to staff members when a human touch is needed. The right person can be notified to address any specific questions about student success, financial aid, admissions, or the applicable department. 

As your staff works to schedule a communication plan for reopening, it’s important to establish touchpoints. Sending concise, personal, and relevant texts is an effective way to both inform and connect with students. This opens the door, allowing students who may have questions but aren’t sure where to turn.  

Hello Sarah, this is Julie from Mongoose University. Did you receive our latest campus reopening update? You can call or text me at 555-123-4567 with any questions.

Make Your Website an Real-Time Information Hub

The 'latest news' on COVID has a short shelf life. Having the tools that are easily updated and readily available to disperse new information is an extremely valuable asset, both today and in the long run. This will ultimately help both your staff and your students.