Here are some of the challenges college call centers face:
Long hold times:
There are several reasons why college call centers can have long hold times.
1. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is not set up correctly.
2. The college call center is short-staffed during peak times of the year.
Trapping the callers in the automation system has caused industry-wide skepticism for IVR system. Make sure your IVR system menu structure is clear and concise. Program the menus with a short list of option and making it clear to the caller whether or not the issue they are calling about will be addressed by the system.
I have found the number one IVR programing mistake for colleges is allowing the caller to press 0 on every menu. Everyone knows if they press 0 at any point in the automated system they will be transferred to a live person. This one mistake will cause two problems; one department will get over load with calls because most people will not listen to a recording and long hold times since the caller is not calling the correct department and they need to be transferred to the correct department.
Here is how I like to set up IVR systems for colleges:
When the caller first comes into the IVR system there are only 4 options. There is no option to press 0. If the caller presses 0 the system is programmed to repeat the menu. The caller will have to listen to the recording and force them to go to the correct department. This will allow the calls to be answered faster and directs the caller to correct department.
The other key component to this puzzle is to outsource to a call center that has the experience in helping colleges during peak times of the year.
Here are a few questions to ask when searching for the right call center:
Does your staff understand Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?
How often are your Customer Service Representative’s (CSR) trained on FERPA?
Do you have a training center so we can come train the CSR’S?
How many lines do you have coming into the call center?
Most call centers do not know what FERPA is, so make sure this is your first question you ask.