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Using human centered innovation to drive enrolment in online education

22 April, 2020 | by Brendan Hunt

Many industries have seen innovations in sales technology lead to a decrease in human interaction and businesses typically have been quick to adopt these practices.

Education is no different.

Advances in automation and artificial intelligence have been the catalyst for this change, seeing human voices commonly replaced with chatbots, automated product suggestions and virtual contact centres.

Beyond the obvious economic and operational efficiencies, at OES our point of view is that innovation in this space unlocks more power when it serves not to replace the human element from a business’ customer service experience, rather, to enhance the experience and enable future students to easily reach a human when they need.

In a global survey conducted by PwC, over 73 per cent of people agreed that customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. In the same survey, 81 per cent of Australian respondents said they would prefer to interact with a real person as technology advances.

Best digital foot forward

In the Student Recruitment team at Online Education Services, we use innovation to improve and increase human centered interaction. As an online provider, we’re always attuned to putting our best digital foot forward, but we know fundamentally, that when a person is considering online study options they need to speak to a person.

Most people in recent years would share the same frustrating experience of simply wanting to hear a human voice at the other end of the phone, only to be forced to navigate their way through automatic prompts. For future students, commencing study can be one of life’s larger decisions, so having a conversation is integral for when they need the empathy and experience of a person who can understand their specific life requirements.

For any student, the decision to return to study or partake in a professional development course is not a simple one. At OES, our course consultants acknowledge this. Through a multi touch consultation process, our team work with each student to discuss their individual circumstances, objectives and goals to ensure the course they’re planning on undertaking is right for them.

Tuning our systems

Rather than putting technology in front of the student, we’re focused on continually maturing the backend post enquiry sophistication, to better our processes and enable our course consultants to be in front of the right people at the right time. We believe the best tech, is the tech you never see or hear. When a future student feels their interaction was easy and helpful, tech is playing its role successfully.

By tuning our systems to monitor a multitude of inputs like call outcomes, interaction history, time of contact, when and what people are interacting with on our web pages, we are able to guide our team of course consultants on the ‘next best action’, achieving more favorable outcomes and improving the experience for the future student.   Knowing when not to attempt contact is equally important.  We focus our team on those ready to interact, and allow those showing signs of disengagement to continue in their passive research journey.

Artificial intelligence has allowed our course consultants to become more sophisticated in the way each and every call with a lead is analysed. Through voice analytics which transcribe calls and measure both quantitative and qualitative data throughout these human interactions we can begin to understand behavioural cues without the need for a person to be listening into each conversation.

When we look to implement any innovative solution in our sales processes, we are constantly asking the question: will this create opportunities for better and more productive conversations with prospective students?

For any business where its customers are required to make a complex purchasing decision, innovation in technology shouldn’t be looked to as a final solution, or a replacement for human resource, but rather an enabler of human interaction to ensure customers receive the best, most human, experience possible.