Hogeschool InHolland closer to the target group with Chat
Hogeschool Inholland offers almost one-hundred-degree programmes at nine locations, spread across Noord and Zuid-Holland, and even in Paramaribo, Suriname. Opting for Hogeschool Inholland means opting for an educational institution with more than 33,500 students; 28 lectureships; more than 110 nationalities and approximately 2,900 employees. As a whole Inholland is big, but it is still a small hbo-provider in any city, which means that students get a lot of attention from their teachers.
Hogeschool Inholland, like any other company, wants to be as close to its target group as possible. In the case of the hogeschool: close to the students.
And they think e-mail is an official and therefore tougher means of communication,’ Jurgen ten Brummeler, online marketer at Inholland, experienced. ‘E-mail is a bridge too far for many youngsters.
They are afraid of making spelling errors or about adopting the wrong tone. In addition, they want a quick answer to their questions.’ At the start of 2009, therefore, it was decided that Inholland.nl was to be enriched with a chat function. ‘Chat use is extremely popular among youngsters because chatting is accessible and more relaxed than e-mail.’
Inholland opted for Livecom because it doesn’t want to deploy the chat function as just a gimmick, but as a solid marketing tool. ‘A serious, professional party such as Livecom does not only supply the application but also assists us with a bit of advertising.
Livecom is also flexible enough to think along with us about achieving our objectives’ Jurgen ten Brummeler was also pleasantly surprised by the user-friendly report functions of Livecom 5G.
Web chat Module. ‘All of this fits very well with our own marketing and communication processes.’ The first pilot started In June 2009.
The first pilot started in June 2009. The chat service was implemented in three popular parts of the website:
- Inholland contact pages of the study choice information point
- Inholland contact pages of the study choice advice centre
- International Recruitment office (recruitment of international students)
In other words: Inholland by no means chose a small-scale startup period. On the contrary, the hogeschool wanted to elaborately test the effect of the chat function.
Would the number of contact moments via e-mail and phone rise or fall? How would the employees of the contact centre react? And what types of questions would the students ask via chat?
Since the implementation of the chat function, the total number of contact moments has noticeably risen with approximately 10% to 15%. ‘We view this as very positive,’ says Jurgen ten Brummeler, ‘because picking a study programme is very hard.
Future students have a lot of questions, so the more we can help them on a personal basis the more satisfied we’ll be.’
The statistics show that the International Recruitment Office of Inholland is already being found from 60 different countries. ‘Chatting is very interesting for our international target group from a cost point of view. In addition, the visitor does not have to check the time differences himself/herself but can see right away if an employer is available. We receive a lot more questions now about visas, housing, conditions, etc. We can answer these questions much faster.’ In this context, Jurgen ten Brummeler mentions the report functions belonging to the Livecom 5G Web chat Module. ‘It’s full of clear, graphic overviews and reports which allows us to know more about the countries they’re from, among others.’
The international prospects are therefore satisfied. How about the students in the Netherlands? ‘They too are satisfied. Very much, even. In the beginning we had a click ratio of 4%. That means that a good four in hundred online visitors who saw the chat button also clicked on it. The post chat questionnaire shows that 95% of the chatters would very likely use the chat function again in the future.’ This high degree of satisfaction has been an important factor in the pilot evaluation.
‘The success is partly due to the fact that there’s always an employee ready with a full knowledge of the facts behind the chat button‘.
Also these employees – first 5, later 15 – are very satisfied about Livecom’s application. ‘It’s very userfriendly; within five minutes our employees had a grasp of the basics. Very nice.’
And there’s something else that makes chatting Inholland-employees happy, Jurgen ten Brummeler laughs. ‘Students seem to be more generous with compliments when they’re chatting. Chatting therefore positively affects the working atmosphere, ha-ha.’
‘We are very happy about the way things are right now’, confirms Jurgen ten Brummeler. ‘Everything is running like clockwork: the technique, the functionalities. It’s safe to say that the live web chat has come to represent a big share of the customer contacts by now.
That is why the chat button is being integrated in more and more places, both as a permanent deploy as well as campaign-wise.
To offer even better service to the online visitors, Hogeschool Inholland wants to get to work with Livecom’s pro-active chat module soon. ‘The initiative now lies with the visitor. The pro-active chat module enables us to start the conversation in a specific way, based on the behaviour of the visitor in question. That behaviour is easy to analyze with the Livecom-platform.’
In short: Inholland is becoming a genuine multichannel organisation. ‘We already are,’ says Jurgen ten Brummeler, ‘but by adding the chat service even more so. We are large organisation with many internal links and it’s of great importance to us to make efficiency improvements in the field of communication. Livecom helps us achieve that.’