As busy campus departments like financial aid continue to be challenged by staff and resource reductions as enrollments increase, frequently asked questions (FAQs) libraries can help soften these burdens and provide relief to busy staff members. In our experience providing call center outsourcing to higher education institutions, we’ve found that whether you choose to use your FAQs for phone or in-person conversations or simply list them on your website for students to find, there are many positives to on boarding this simple, effective document.
- Reduce FAQ volume to refocus on more complex student questions
Department websites are great places to include searchable FAQs. While many schools list FAQs for prospective students, resources and information for students who have been accepted or are currently enrolled are few and far between. Students, particularly Millennials and other digitally native generations, often look to your website for help first. Busy offices may be able to slough off basic, easy-to-answer Tier I calls using their website, chat bots, and proactive blast messaging. These communication channels free up staff to focus on more complex matters that really require personal attention.
- Ensure consistency of information
Inconsistent or inaccurate information presents problems for both students and your staff. Students are at greater risk for missing deadlines. Meanwhile, staff rush to help the student resolve the issue, stretching resources even further while also pushing other important tasks to the side. FAQ libraries ensure each staff member who is providing call center services delivers correct and timely information to each student. This can be especially important for offices that have high turnover rates or utilize student employees, where expertise and tenure can vary.
- Easily on board AI
While chat is not very common on campus websites today, the high call volume schools experience for its most basic inquiries does indicate a growing need for the technology. Plus, younger students, like Millennials and Generation Z, have come to expect this kind of technology in other parts of their lives, like the brands they buy from. There’s an increased expectation that every website they communicate with will accommodate their digital preferences. Having FAQs on hand to act as the base for AI scripting can make on boarding these kinds of tools much easier, affordable, and seamless.
- Increase efficiency and first-contact resolutions
While every student is different, by-and-large their inquiries and sources of confusion are fairly predictable and identical. As mentioned, FAQs protect the accuracy of information, but they also increase efficiency by having clear, concise answers for students’ questions. There are fewer instances of repeat calls to resolve the original issue and fewer escalations. At the same time, they help staff respond to more student inquiries by staying organized.
- Protect your school’s image and reputation
Students view their school’s staff as dedicated, reliable resources for information that greatly impacts their future. Younger students are shown to truly lack financial management/planning skills, which further complicate their ability to understand complicated promissory notes and the financial aid process. Working with staff who fumble to answer questions quickly or provide convoluted explanations rather than layman’s terms can break a student’s confidence and trust and make them second-guess what the rest of their higher education experience will be like.
FAQs are by no means a cure-all for addressing the influx of student questions busy financial aid offices face, but it is a practical and proven start. FAQs are more than just a staff tool. They can become the foundation of a large initiative to streamline service on campus while building stronger relationships with students.
Need help creating FAQs for your staff or interested in expanding your call center services for your financial aid office? Explore our university call center services, and let’s talk about your goals and challenges.