Looking to learn how well live chat works for your college? Wondering what live chat metrics you should be tracking to find that out?
You know – Live chat has seriously changed the game for colleges and other higher education institutions
The thing is – how do you know if the live chat strategy is working for your college?
This is exactly what we are going to discuss in this post.
Let us dive in!
What are KPIs, and Why are They Important for Chat?
So, let me first answer the primary question around this topic – how is live chat success measured?
The short answer is, through its key performance indicators, or what we call in short ‘KPIs’.
Let us dig a little more into what KPIs are. Simply put, a key performance indicator is a quantifiable measure of the performance of a business goal/ objective over a specific amount of time.
A metric, on the other hand, is a part of a KPI but not a KPI itself. For example, the Net Promoter Score is a KPI, and the number of promoters and detractors is a metric from which the KPI of NPS is derived.
Although the list of KPIs can be very long, there are really only 4 main KPIs that every manager must use. All the other KPIs are derivative of these 4 main ones, that are:
- Customer satisfaction – Without this, there is no business and so as a business manager, you must set a couple of KPIs under customer satisfaction. For example, we talked about NPS, and the first response time in chat is another one in this category.
- Internal process quality – Every business must ensure that its services/ products are to the expected standards and optimized for a superior experience. Naturally, you must set a couple of KPIs around that. For example, in terms of live chat, average resolution time and average wait time are such KPIs.
- Employee satisfaction – No business can succeed and even sustain beyond a limit with dissatisfied employees onboard. KPIs around this can be retention, employee NPS, etc.
- Financial performance index – Even if you do the best in all the above 3 KPIs, at the end of the day, if the business is not making money, it is not a successful business. So, last but not the least, KPIs around the financial performance index are of utmost importance. For example, in terms of chat in higher education, one will be chat to conversion rate or enrolment yield.
So, to answer why KPIs are important for chat, I am sure it is very clear to you now that a manager with no KPIs is a lone ranger. He may be getting word-of-mouth feedback from different teams as per their perceptions but surely that doesn’t serve the purpose as it is unclear and inaccurate. And, he will eventually end up taking decisions on his own without any real information.
Higher Education Live Chat KPIs that Matter
#1. Chat volume
The different volume-based metrics of the chat sessions can help you discover basic aspects of your live chat operations. For example:
- Website to live chat number or chat engagement – The number of confused students that used to leave your website prior to implementing live chat because they didn’t have any convenient communication option to ask queries. This key metric will reveal the number of potential students you gained just because of live chat.
- The total number of chat sessions – The average number of chats your chat support teams attends overall (per day), and the average number of chat each member attend individually.
You must measure this in context with the complexity of queries and with other KPIs like customer satisfaction rate to see the true picture. However, a sudden change in this KPI, especially a sudden drop can be a true indicator of a problem with your system.
- FAQs – The common questions and issues potential students have that are (or can be) answered by chatbots without any intervention from the agents.
#2. Average first response time and average wait time
The number one reason why people prefer live chat is because of its fastest average response time. And since both your current students and the ones you are trying to sign up for are busy, this KPI holds true for a higher-ed live chat too.
To make a great first impression, it is critical that you measure your FRP regularly and ensure that it is up to the mark and industry standard. Keeping track of the average wait time can also be helpful in this regard.
Comm100 reviewed more than 56 million live chats and determined that the average wait time between a customer submitting a live chat request and the first agent response was 46 seconds. And however, this is the average, it is not the standard, as the quality of the response matters equally.
An FRP within a few seconds to a few minutes is acceptable. However, making students wait beyond the acceptable limit is a clear indicator that you do not value their time, and is detrimental to the channel’s purpose and your image.
Chatbots are the perfect tool for optimizing your FRP, as they can address the FAQs within seconds and more complex queries can are taken care of by your live chat agents.
You can also integrate dedicated live chat software like Social Intents to converse with website visitors in real-directly from Microsoft Teams – the most widely used communications platform in colleges.
#3. Missed chat rate
You must measure the missed chat rate to see if your chat team can cater to the incoming chat volume. If the chat queue is overflowing and the team is missing chats, it means they have hit their capacity.
It may also be that the chat requests are coming at a time when there are no agents available. This can be a huge problem as most educational institutions are catering to international students also. Even students from the same country initiate chat outside of office hours.
Deploying chatbots 24×7 can be a great solution for this so your potential students never have to wait more than a few seconds for their first response.
#4. Average resolution time
Giving a quick response is one thing, but resolving students’ queries to their satisfaction is another. It is an important KPI that you should be monitoring.
Because if your live chat agents are unable to resolve student queries in a single chat conversation and worse in multiple interactions, you may have a problem at hand. Measuring ART is your opportunity to identify such problems and plug them before they cause damage. Some higher-ed specific issues can be:
- Lack of training in institution-specific issues like knowledge of policies and guidelines around admissions and how to convey them to the students in the most understandable manner.
- Lack of understanding as to how to use a knowledge base to answer all student queries in a relevant and confident manner.
- Lack of expertise in handling multiple chats at one time without losing the personal touch, etc.
Remember, even after putting everything in place, the ART for some queries can go up to multiple days. Complex queries regarding scholarships, non-traditional, foreign students, etc. may take time, and that is alright as long as the answers are to students’ satisfaction in the end.
Aiming for a low ART is natural and you must do that, but not at the cost of low-quality resolution.
And even if you are able to bring your ART down, you must map it with customer satisfaction and conversion KPIs to be 100% sure of what is going on.
#5. Enrollment yield (chat to conversion rate)
One of the most important KPIs to measure is the enrolment yield, that is, how many students chose to enroll in your college after getting the admission offer. Other than measuring the straightforward conversion rate of new students who started a live chat with the sales team, you must also measure:
- The % of students who gave their contact information (email, phone, name, etc.) or signed up for the college newsletter.
- The number of students who got more aware of your institution after a live chat. They are more likely to enroll in the future.
Live chat can play a big role in achieving a higher enrolment yield when used efficiently. In fact, 38% of customers make a purchase after having a good session with a live chat agent.
This can be your reality too if you:
- Follow your students’ journey carefully and meet them early on
- Engage with them on your website, apps, etc., and treat them as customers.
- Encourage them to interact with you with proactive live chat
- Provide good customer service in higher education and assist your potential students with everything from career counseling, financial counseling, student visa issues, etc.
- Direct relevant queries to specific departments for them to handle them in the best possible manner.
#6. Agent utilization rate
The success of your live chat channel depends on the success of your live chat agents. And, measuring agent utilization rate indicates how productive/ successful your agents really are.
Here’s how you can calculate it:
Agent utilization rate = [(Average chats handled per agent in a single month x Average time spent per chat session)/(Average chats handled simultaneously x Workdays in a month x Total work hours in a day x 60 minutes)] x100
Find out the number for all your chat agents and if this score turns out below average (especially in conjunction with the CSAT score) for any agent, you must resolve it accordingly. Training them in your institution-specific and higher-ed specific conversations and also in live chat etiquettes and best practices can be some solutions.
#7. Student retention through a chat over a period
This may be the most important live chat KPI for higher education institutions in terms of taking your live chat channel to another level. Because, unlike many other industries, live chat customer support in colleges and universities is a long-term affair, acting as a complete support system rather than just an enrolment and admission tool.
So, you must measure the usage of live chat over the entire lifecycle of a student.
A simple way of doing it is to integrate live chat with the student portal and map students who use chat against students who, for example, became sophomores at your college. You can do similar mapping for students who graduated and who used chat for different purposes, like fundraising, financial support, etc.
If you find that live chat is playing a crucial role in any or all of these, you must make concerted efforts towards its improvement at all levels.
#8. Customer satisfaction rating and NPS
Customer satisfaction rating (or CSAT) reveals how satisfied the students are with the live chat session they just had. Typically, organizations use a star rating from 5 to 1, where 5 means the most satisfied and 1 means the least satisfied. Emojis are also suitable for a college environment to bring some human touch into the feedback.
Through individual CSAT, you can determine who is your ace agent and who needs training.
Net Promoter Score (or NPS) on the other hand shows how happy the customers are from their overall experience and is an important KPI too. This includes not only their live chat experience but also their liking of your institution’s values, overall degree value, and more.
As shown in the image, NPS determines customer loyalty to the brand and how likely they are to recommend your institution to others. You can send a dedicated survey to find NPS immediately after a live chat session. It’s likely to get you better quality and quantity of responses than a simple CSAT.
I hope that after reading this post, you have a fair understanding of KPIs and, specifically, the crucial ones for your institution.
Go ahead and start not only tracking but improving your live chat channel performance through these KPIs.