There’s a growing trend for both small and large colleges or universities to turn to answering services to meet their communication needs. Current and prospective students expect educational institutions to respond to their questions quickly and professionally, but it’s often just not possible for administrative staff to manage the heavy volume of calls.
During the busiest times—like graduation or when admission acceptance notices go out—long hold times or the failure to respond to calls is especially aggravating. As an example, a college administrator hired Voice Link of Columbus, Inc., because callers were having to wait an average of 45 minutes to speak to a receptionist. But with Voice Link’s friendly receptionists on their team, the wait time was reduced to 11 seconds. There are three major ways answering services help colleges and universities of all sizes improve communications:
Prompt, professional call answering, 24/7
For less than the cost of hiring an in-house receptionist, the professionally trained operators at an answering service will promptly answer calls day or night, and on holidays, which frees the administrative staff up to focus on their tasks at hand.
Each college chooses its own customized month-to-month plan to fit their particular needs, such as answering roll-over calls during peak times, or answering after-hours calls in the evenings, on weekends, or during curriculum breaks and holidays. Other colleges opt to have the answering service handle all their calls, 24/7, 365 days a week.
Database access, scheduling & more
With the answers to frequently asked questions and access to the school’s database, the answering service receptionists act as an extension of the college and can assist students with their questions about financial aid, admissions, registration, housing, and bursar. They can also schedule campus tours and take reservations for school events.
In the event that the caller has a question or request that the receptionist isn’t equipped to answer, they will direct callers to the appropriate person they need to speak to within the college. All calls are documented, recorded, and accessible at any time to the college’s administrative staff. For additional security, the answering service operators are trained on FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations.
In the event of an emergency on campus, it’s crucial to have a communication plan in place. Whether the issue is a major storm warning or a campus safety alert, students and staff need to be made aware of the situation immediately. An answering service has the technology and equipment to send out mass notifications to instruct students on what’s happening and how to stay safe. Then, on the days that follow, the answering service will handle the numerous calls about the campus status, including if some or all classes are canceled.
How your calls are handled is a measure of your student services and reflects on the reputation of your school. The professional agents at Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. have been rigorously trained on FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations and can provide live answering services that will exceed your expectations. We offer month-to-month service agreements to meet the needs of any college or university regardless of size. Request information online or call us at (800) 262-2799 for a free consultation.