“Can you hold, please?” is already enough of a detested call answering response, but what if it meant you could be on hold for 45 minutes? How much would your blood be boiling by the time someone came back on the line, and what would you think about the business or institution that was mismanaging calls in such a way?
This was precisely the problem a mid-size southeastern college was having. In fact, 45 minutes was the average hold time, which means some callers were holding even longer. This isn’t out of the ordinary for higher education institutions either, especially during busy peak calling times like admissions announcements or graduation. Expectant students or parents had no choice but to wait on hold. But naturally, as they did so they wondered if this was an indication of how they’d be treated with each interaction to come. Callers were frustrated and angry, and the administrative staff members were stressed and overworked.
The college’s administration knew they had to find a fix, so they compared costs and benefits of hiring another on-campus receptionist versus hiring a live answering service. They discovered that for substantially less than the cost of hiring another on-campus receptionist, they would gain several professionally trained receptionists with a live answering service. This team of virtual receptionists would be ready to greet each caller quickly, 24 hours a day if they chose, 365 days a year.
The results? The average wait time for callers was reduced from 45 minutes to 11 seconds.
Plus, callers weren’t even aware they were speaking to someone off-campus since the operators answer with the name of the college and act as an extension of the administrative staff. With remote access to the college’s software system, the receptionists can then view a student’s records to answer questions about what needs to be completed for admissions or graduation.
Trained to maintain FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations, the receptionists are equipped to confidentially answer questions regarding financial aid, admissions, registrar, housing, and bursar. College administrators have access to all calls, which are documented and recorded, at any time. And any calls that need extra attention are forwarded to the appropriate college staff member for direct follow-up.
The ease of partnering with a live answering service was such a relief to the college’s administrative staff—not to mention students and their families—that they wondered why they didn’t turn to that solution sooner.
How calls are managed creates a caller’s first impression of any college or university. The professional agents at Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. have been rigorously trained on FERPA regulations and can provide live answering services that exceed your expectations. Our agents are available to answer your calls after office hours and on weekends and holidays, 24/7, 365 days a week if you choose. We can also answer overflow calls when your staff is busy attending to other calls or walk-in visitors. We can also assist with scheduling student interviews or campus tours.