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Podcasts Fanatical Fridays Episode 58
How to Strategize and Execute a Successful Chatbot
Shane Kehl: [00:00:00] It's Friday. Energy is high, and we're ready to dive in. I'm Shane Keel, chief Entertainment Officer at Enrollify, and every other week, Mickey Baes and I will discuss how institutions can take high level strategies and tactics and implement them into their enrollment marketing strategy in a practical way, grab your coffee, open your notes.
It's time for Fanatical Fridays.
All righty. We're back. After a Thanksgiving break from when we're recording. Alright,
Mickey Baines: well let's get
Shane Kehl: started. What are we talking about today? Let's go into, um, chatbots. We had talked last episode, I believe we talked about texting, or maybe those was two episodes ago. We talked, talked a lot about texting and personalizing, texting, and I think yes.
Uh, a similar one is chatbots. It's a little bit, um, different. You don't need to acquire a phone number if notd. Um, kind of [00:01:00] personal of a connection, but it is super important. It's something that can work for you if you set it up that way. Um, mm-hmm. . So I think going through chatbots, maybe when you're looking at a chatbot, what should you be looking out for?
Um, prior to even thinking through, you know, what tool are we gonna use? What's, what's our strategy? Where are we gonna put it on the site? Those are all things that are kind of after the fact, but you gotta start out looking. A tool that has certain specifications, features, et cetera. Um, what are some core ones in higher ed that, that people should be looking at?
Mickey Baines: Well, I like first to have some that have machine learning to it so that it can start to learn. Um, you have the capability so when it presents an answer, the receiver of that answer or information can say, yes, this was helpful or not. So it knows how to, um, learn what's helpful not, and that it can also maybe help identify some other potential questions or keywords that you should have answers.
Uh, I think those are two things that mm-hmm. , well, I guess machine learning, but, but [00:02:00] machine learning so that it can help, uh, improve its own answers, but also identify for you other topics that you should be included, uh, in there. I think that's really important. The other, um, gets missed. The, you talked about you want it to work for you.
Um, and we know what that means and it's just so happened. I made a post on LinkedIn yesterday that says, cuz I've heard this twice. In, in, in just over two weeks now. My CRMs not working for me. Mm-hmm. , well first, um, this is my post on LinkedIn, so I'm replicating it. If you saw that post, um, being captain obvious.
it's not a person, it doesn't work for you. It just works. And if it works well or not, is not on the tool, it's on the people who set it up to do the work. Uh, because as anything in technology mm-hmm. it, it does what it is told to do. And if it's not working for you, someone didn't tell it to do the right thing.
Um, and so that's, that's tech. So when it comes to chatting, if you want it to quote unquote work for you, that means you have other ideas of [00:03:00] what it's gonna do to help support you. And where I'm going with this is this, if it doesn't connect to your CRM and you're not bringing that data into crm, you are losing, you're losing, what are you losing value?
You're losing students a lot. Information, data, as you grow and expand what you do and how you do it. From an enrollment management and enrollment marketing perspective, you need data to. chatbot, one of the best returns you're gonna get from it is the data you can get from someone that you can know and understand whether it's for that specific person to recruit them and nurture them and give them the information they need.
Or just to understand in general, what information do students want, what do they need? And I'm, you know, throwing this out. Thinking more specifically about admissions. Chat bot functionality goes beyond that. It can go for other departments beyond admissions. It can go to the registrar's office, it can go to financial aid.
I know financial aid folks are probably cringing if they're listening to that because. I don't know that we're already in this [00:04:00] world for a lot of financial aid bots, but it exists. Um, student support. Mm-hmm. advising those types of bots that that's, you know, there's research out there showing that students are more aware of bots and what they can do and look forward to using them more in higher education.
Now, I'm, I'm in a hotel. sensible curtain, uh, over here, um, and it's cause I'm at a conference and I was just, uh, in a session yesterday at a conference listening to some folks at a, at our university talking, they have not bots, but they have live chat. And one of the things they did talk about was mm-hmm , the live chat for their purpose was not really used much by the students.
Now this particular unit focuses on grad. But what they said they found was that traditional admissions saw increases the number of students adopting and using chat, live chat, and reduction in the amount of emails coming in because of it. And so, [00:05:00] yeah. And, and, and, and the other thing I would say about bots, the, you know, the way these are gonna work is you're going to give a bot x number of questions that you might be asked and give it a scripted answer to provide to that question.
And when we talk about machine learning machine's, trying to learn is the, when the student gives us this question, is it equal to this question that we've input into? If not, does it try a different question? Uh, and so that it can start to interpret the words and phrases and key terms that students input to match to the right question that it's been given.
Um, but when we think about giving that initial set of questions, some schools are already good and have a great set of questions, but a great set of questions. Is it 10 and it's really not 20? You know, a great starting point might be 50 at a minimum. . Um, but one of the greatest values you're gonna get from Live Chat, and I would say the same thing with live chat with bots.
It needs to be in the crm cuz there are companies that are selling it out there that don't connect to the crm and that doesn't, that, that gives you ability to answer students questions, [00:06:00] but you can't collect data really on that very well. Um, right. But once you see the live chat, you see what questions are being.
once you see the questions that are being asked and it's, you can collect it in an email or in phone calls or other conversations, you can start, but, but chat can help really put that in a text format where you can copy and paste it, but you can start to see the questions. Mm-hmm. . and the answer, and you'll know the answers you can put into it.
But, but that's how you can start to grow that list. So, um, you know, there, there's chat, there's bots, there's, you know, live chat, chat bots. I think they kind of go, they can go hand in hand. They're not required to be hand in hand. Some, some schools aren't staffed for it. Um, and that's understandable. But there is value you can gain from starting with a live chat to move to a chat bot if you don't already have your questions.
And if you don't take the. to build out your set of questions. And by the way, there are some, um, companies out there with bots that actually will come with a set of questions for you, a large, large set, [00:07:00] um, to get you started. And I think that mm-hmm. , that's part of what you think about when you're, when you're looking at a bot for you.
But, but starting with that larger set, then it becomes valuable. Because what will happen if you only start with with 20 questions, it's gonna be provi, it's not gonna provide any real value to, to student. Right.
Shane Kehl: Yeah. What schools can do pretty easily, and what I think most schools have is, you know, an FAQ page with a lot of kind of those core questions that you're being asked.
I think pretty much every school has one that, again, they're not super exhausted, but there's a, there's a good amount there. And then a lot of schools also have them specific to certain programs, like on program pages. You know, very often you'll see towards the middle or bottom ish, you know, what are the program requirements, what are the, you know, tuition costs.
all these basic things that you kind of have a good starting point already, like scrape your own site and you can probably find a hundred questions to start Yes. That are very specific. Right? If this, if this other provider is giving you a handful of questions are obviously kind of the basic questions they've probably gotten from their research and data that, you [00:08:00] know, these are the most commonly asked ones, but providing the ones that are specific to your institution and you already have the answers.
It's it's copy and paste. You don't need to really come up. You know, a lot of extra stuff as a good starting point. And then as you said, monitoring what is coming in that's, it's not being answered and just kind of adding that to it and then add that to your website. Absolutely. And that's probably gonna be, you know, heavily informed too by your Google search results of, you know, when people are searching for a program, you get those frequently asked questions or you know, people also ask and throwing those in there as well.
And you know, that's the next logical question after somebody sees, you know, what is the value of X program? , the next thing they're gonna look at is what are some career outcomes? What's the salary like? You know, the, the typical journey of questions somebody's gonna ask and, and kind of think through, and being able to structure it that way, I think gives you a really good starting point to kind of build a huge foundation.
Um, that can also turn into other things like content and, you know, more stuff for your website and, you know, promotional materials, et cetera. Um, pretty.
Mickey Baines: What you said is very true in terms of, [00:09:00] yes, you're gonna have an FAQ page on admissions, you might have FAQ pages elsewhere for other programs. Generally, even if it's just on admissions, it's likely that not the same person answered all of the questions on the FAQ page, especially if you're pulling from multiple F FAQ pages.
That's, that's important because when you think about a bot, even though it's a computer and a piece of technology, you, a key to bot success is giving the bot a person. , you can give it a dry personality Yep. And call it a bot, but you want it to then read like it's that you don't want to have various mm-hmm.
ways to answer questions because you want the person engaging with it to feel like it's the same thing. Answering the questions in it and it, you know what you, it's crazy to say that to me. The thing I'm typing with the com. Talking with a computer, I does it really matter? It does for people to, it, it the reason there's research out there that they'll talk to you about how people engage with the bot.
And there are some folks who've really given flare to their bot. I mean, some of 'em use like a mascot. Some of 'em created a second [00:10:00] mascot at a university who, one of them, one of whom is now the new one, is the bot to start answering questions. Mm-hmm. . Um, and that allows you to kind of have fun. The other thing I would say is you wanna make it a conversational style.
Um, not to pretend that it's human. I, I hate when I come across that. Um, but yeah. Um, in terms of, you know, you, you open up the bot, you, you're looking for help. Hi, I'm Rudy, the Rooster. I, you know, what can I, you know, what questions can I help? Um, or do you have questions for me? Yes, I do. Great. Let's get started.
Um, can you tell me your name and you get that name? And this is, Connecting to the CRM is important because when they say the name right now, you've got a name input in there. Um, what's your email address? Mm-hmm. . So I can email you a follow up to our conversation. Um, again, if it's just a bot, you might not be able to do that.
If it's attached to the crm, you can trigger that, right? Uh, and then you're putting that in there and then you get the address and now you're creating a prospective [00:11:00] student record or potentially matching to an existing record to add that content in there. Um, and then you just have that convers. . Um, and so there's that capability and I will say it's something else we've not really talked about.
Adding that in and, and having that conversation style to it is important. And oh gosh, there was something else you said earlier in terms of. . The, the conversation has, it goes, oh, you're talking about like the salary, you know, te tell me about a position. You know, what, where, where do your students get placed?
That was a common question I heard in one of those sessions yesterday is mm-hmm. , is that when, what are questions ask, what questions are students asking? Now, this was more for graduate program, online programs where students were asking, but the common question this particular school got was, you know, right.
Tell me the types of companies where your students are placed after they graduate. You know, if that's one of your questions, if you get that deep in there, and that's probably not one of your first. , but it's, it should be up there, you know, here's some other, no, what are the other questions? And, um, and what are the follow up and, and how do you predict that?
So you might, you know, we're, we're placed at General [00:12:00] Electric or you know, Boeing or whatever. Um, and also you may wanna know the starting salary. You can jump right in and throw that in and they'll find it even more appreciative, um, that they don't have to ask. And you can throw that information in there.
Right? But you know, as you think about that first question, what are those follow up questions that you have? And do you have those answers? And that can help you think about setting up that logic and how it happens and, you know, and then you've gotta have, you know, is that all the questions you have?
Thanks so much. You know, how did I do? Be sure you're getting ratings on that so that you know how your bots performing. Mm-hmm. . Um, those are all things, uh, I, I think that, that are important to, to consider.
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Mickey Baines: everybody.
Shane Kehl: Yeah, and I think one of the, the big things too about connecting it to your CRM like you had said, is, you know, if, if that conversation isn't, um, [00:14:00] everything the, you know, perspective student may want, they may want to follow up with someone. On your, you know, admissions team to get more information. It's helpful to have a log of that chat so that you can see, okay, here are the questions.
They got their answers. Here are the things they seem to be, see this is, this was the hangup point, right? They asked this question, the bot couldn't answer it, and now they're scheduling a meeting with me. You don't need to repeat the answers to the five questions they already got. Right? You can kind of jump right in and, and really, you know, be efficient with your time, answer the student's questions directly, um, and kind of take it from there, rather than having to kind of start over with a, Hey, let's do this whole spiel again that you already did on this call.
Mm-hmm. . Um, which I think is super valuable, but, you know, some tools are limited and they only pass through, you know, Data, and they're not logging the entire conversation, but I think the ones that log those conversations, um, are the way to go. That's, they're very, so incredibly helpful, and it's just a really good repository.
Mickey Baines: And to have that in a single view, uh, on a content record is really important, um mm-hmm. To have mm-hmm. . So I, I, I very, very much agree. [00:15:00] Uh, if you, if you're looking at a bot, you might find one that's a little shinier, maybe has a couple more brailles and whistles, but if it doesn't integrate with the crm, I would.
really look hard, long and hard to see how much are we really losing with one that does integrate or that's already provided through our existing crm, just so you can Sure you have that data in there, right? Because there's so much more cascading things that you can do when it's the data in the crm. And so what you're saying now, I don't know that I would start this way, but you throw out, I think a really good use case with the bot is, you know, um, that's a great.
If, if say a student asks a question, the bot doesn't have an answer, you know what, what happens? And as a bot responds to, I, that's a great question. Um, it's over my head or, you know, and I've even, I, we've done some of these before and, pardon, pardon my, uh, please say my apology, uh, I'm new here. Putting out that it's a bot, just again, that's just adding flair and said, but if you, would, you like me to connect you with your mission counselor?
Now, if it's a bot plus live chat and [00:16:00] it's during the day and you know that that counselor is on, meaning they're at their computer, not with someone. , it could try to connect, it could connect to just someone at the reception desk. Mm-hmm. , if it's after hours or no one's available, it could say, no one's available right now.
However your counselor is because it's connected to the crm. Amber, uh, and I can have Amber reach out to you. Um, if you would like, or if you would like to schedule time with you to be sure it works for you, you can click here to get to Amber's calendar. Right. And now think of all those things all the time that just.
if someone had called or emailed general admissions inbox to, to go through all those things. So, um, mm-hmm. , so that's some time savings, but just think of, of how you're able to connect and engage and becau if that student, by the way, Makes that appointment to talk to someone, and most of them won't. Let's basically be real.
Most of them won't, but if they do, one of the things we care about is the intent of that student to enroll, and if that's in the serum, we see what we're doing and how engaged they are, that's showing great [00:17:00] intent. Those are things that we need to have. That's examples of how the other data that we have influenced our knowledge and understanding of a student and her or his experience and her or his intent and interest in our institution.
We want that. Uh, and so I don't know if I've said this, if I haven't, I should say it now. You really should think about integrating your chatbot to this area, um, because there's so much you get from that. .
Shane Kehl: Yeah. Yeah. And I think like you're saying, when you hit tho that stopping point, I think, you know, this is just me personally and maybe just my personality, and I'm sure others agree, and maybe not everybody, but adding a little bit of that humor, um, I think is good for a chatbot and kind of being like the, you know, I'm just a stupid robot.
What do I know? Yeah. Why don't you go talk to a real human type of thing. Um, but then being able to give those options of like, I wasn't able to answer your question. Here are three things you could do. You could email this admissions person, here's their email. You can schedule time. Here's a link to book some time on their calendar, or you know, give us your [00:18:00] phone number and we'll text you.
All right? Going back to our texting conversation. Try and capture it a different way, and you get a little bit more of that one-on-one communication style, um, that is super valuable and, and giving people, again, the pathways to interact with you in the way. They want and they, they feel is like gonna be most helpful for them in the way they would appreciate it.
Because if you only give them the one option of like, well just go read more on our website, and it's like, well, I don't wanna do that. And like, that's not gonna be that helpful either. No. And then you kind of lose that person versus the more options you give them to, you know, engage with you, the, the more likely they are to follow up in some manner.
Mickey Baines: I'll also say, uh, you know, use case we haven't talked too much about or at all really, I don't think with chatbots here is, you know, there are, there are use cases for student. a good example. Mm-hmm. say, I forgot my password, and I need to get into my application portal to upload a document or something.
I forget the password. So walking through that. So, you know, I would like, you know, what's your, what, what question do you have? Well, I'm, I can't, I don't know, a password, you know, to walk them through the steps and, and just this morning I actually [00:19:00] experienced a, a bot plus live chat experience, uh, combined with Zoom.
Everybody knows Zoom. Uh, you may not have on your canvas, but at this point in our lives, we all have heard of Zoom. Uh, and so I was looking to add some licenses to our account for some new staff we have hired. And so I went on to the bot. Take me to billing to do it. And it walked me through, you know, what do you want?
What are you looking to do? I wanna add licenses. Um, and it said, you need to, you know, go to your account, click here, click this button, and click here. Walk me through the steps. And then it said, could you find it? And you, so it's already giving you your A answers. So this is where I'm talking about specific types of functionality.
Mm-hmm. , sometimes it's an ask, a student asks questions, it gives an answer. Sometimes it's asking a question. Then letting you pick which of the options are you works for you. So go here, go. , did that work? Yes. Um, do you see this in the upper hand corner? I see it or I see it, but it's grayed out, which is what?
I have it in Zoom, and because it's grayed out, it mean I needed to talk to a rep. I can't just get more licenses online for our account. I have to talk to somebody. I have to work with sales. Right? And so [00:20:00] it, it said, okay, I need to connect you with our agent. And so it boom, it brought her on. And within 20 seconds, 30 seconds at most, I was on with, uh, Holden was my agent at that.
And so we walked through that process. I think that's a good, uh, two good things outta that is sometimes you can give pre defined answers to walk a student through that. So password reset, great. I can help you. Is this for your application or are you currently enrolled? Um, because it might be different from many schools because those are usually different systems.
And if they say it's from application, you click here, it takes you through that. And so these are the steps reset, or you, it'll take you to a page that tells you to reset, um, if you want. So those are, um, you. One type of functionality, and then that might also then connect you over to someone if you have a bot slash live agent all in one.
Shane Kehl: I, I don't know how exactly they refer to them, but like the multiple choice style where there's, you know, kind of four and you're, you're selecting a pathway basically. Yes. Yep. Um, are super helpful, particularly in the beginning too, because then you can get a sense for, you know, what pathways are [00:21:00] people going down, where are they getting stuck?
It, I think it's good for like, formatting the structure Yes. Of your chatbot originally, before you expand too much and invest tons of time into it. Yes. Um, and there's some pretty simple playbooks for, you know, how to structure 'em and put them together. And I also think in higher ed, Websites are, are just, they're confused.
There's so many pages. There's, you know, the nav options and then you hover over each one and there's 17 dropdowns with, you know, sub folders and stuff. And it's just, it's insane. Yeah. And a chat bot can be like a more simple nav, um, that I think a lot of people are. Starting to use as kind of their primary, like, here, I'm here for a reason, here's what I'm looking for.
Yes. The chatbot might be an easier way to get there. Yes. Um, depending on the format and structure of it, and then allowing that to serve as again, your kind of basis for. , the, you know, rev two of your chatbot mm-hmm. where you implement things like, you know, typing in your own question or, um, you know, diverting over to live chat when that becomes a thing.
Um, well, we've got, and the data that you collect there is, is nice too because it's, it's one of four [00:22:00] things and, and you're seeing that data across, you know, all hundred people rather than a hundred people ask 80 different questions. There's not too much you can really form from that. And so I think it's, it's a good, again, starting point to kind of get some of that initial data in the.
Mickey Baines: Well, you know, we've got, uh, just using that password reset example I gave a moment ago. We, we, we have a client, uh, a two year institution that has, uh, hundreds of calls a day, especially, you know, in the two to three weeks leading up to the semester start. And half of them, half of them were current students, continuing students needing to reset a.
Because it was very tricky and it was very hard to understand on the website half, so we're talking, yeah, 120 200 calls a day. That's 60 to a hundred calls of people asking for password reset. Now, you're not gonna put on a chat bot and get everyone there, but imagine if you could half of them to that chat bot to get it resolved without needing to talk to someone.
Yeah. That's, you know, for three, a three week [00:23:00] period could be two to three hours of someone's time. A. . So think of 10 to 15 hours a week. That's wild. What could you do with 10 to 15 hours? A lot? And that's, you know, that's, and there you've got so many people calling, so people walking in, that's where that bot really can complain.
There's a lot of low hanging fruit there. If you find those questions, what other questions the students ask? Um, you know, I need to get an approval from an advisor. You know, how do you find who's my. , boom. A lot of times now we have portals where you can log in and it'll show you, but you know what? If you had a bot that just said, Hey, I, I need to know who my advisor.
Well, if it's connected to a cr it can tell you, yeah. If not, it might be able to then walk you through the steps of how to get into the portal. Your advisor's listed in your portal. Have you been to the portal? Yes or no? Uh, no. Here's the link to it. Do you know your username or password? Yes or no? Uh, and if you don't, then you can figure out how to get your password reset.
Those, all those little steps you can start to do to solve for someone. Now it does take a little time to kind of start planning out, to build [00:24:00] out that logic and that pathway that you just. . Um, but it's a great exercise because as you grow with the chatbot and add more functionality to it, you need to.
You, you're gonna wanna do this on your own. You might have some help getting started, but at some point, whether it's with a third party or the vendor themselves, they're gonna say, Hey, we've got this first bit implemented. It's on you to own. And walking through that process, um, can be a little intimidating and, and challenging at first, but once you figure out how to do it, um, it'll become much easier.
And the ideas for additional use cases will likely bloom quickly. .
Shane Kehl: Yeah. And I think as you said too, as you're, you know, building upon the chatbot, ideally it's saving you time, whether it's on calls, over emails, you know, whatever it might be. If it's saving you all this time, 10 hours, you know, a week even.
Um, if you invest half that into your chatbot, you're gonna be saving yourselves, I mean, hours and hours of team time. Yeah. Um, by building that out. And I think establish as you're saying for, you know, current students. [00:25:00] once it becomes a trusted resource for answers, I think your, your engagement just snowballs where, um, you know that if you have a question, you can kind of go to this chat bot, type it in real quick and get a, a good answer or at least next steps to go find your answer.
Um, I think you're more likely to keep coming back every time you have a question versus, yeah, you know, you go and it's, you know, a chat bot where you. Throw up 10 questions cuz you're, you know, the classic, we need a chatbot because everybody else has one. Mm-hmm. and it's poorly put together and has 10 questions logged into it and nobody finds it helpful.
They're never coming back to it. Yes. Um, and so you kind of already killed it before you even started that. That's why you don't start with two, you made it two way too bare bones to the point of not being helpful.
Mickey Baines: Yep. And that's why you don't start right. You can't, you can't start with too few and. When folks have come to us, say, Hey, we, we've had this chat bot.
It's, it's not working. We have to find something else. What I try to look at is, okay, let's understand why it's not working before we come up with something else. Well, no one's using it. Well, that doesn't mean it's not working. You haven't made it visible for people to use it, versus people are asking [00:26:00] questions, they're saying it's not helpful and it's too low of adoption.
Well, then that's a separate issue. and we need to look at, well, what was this intent to do? Let's be sure that it was designed and, and built and implemented a way to try to do that. Could we make some recommendations to, to, to improve that? I think that's an important step. Uh, and then, you know, what else can we do beyond the chat bot to help support that?
And it could be driving people there to build in a cycle of updating and adding it, or enhancing and improving your question. that could also help solve that problem rather than going back. Because what I really don't like to see folks trying to do is this didn't work. We'll just go back to those 60 to a hundred phone calls a day.
No, that's not the right answer. Yeah. Um, and so we need to find some other solution there. Yeah. To help ensure that it's working. .
Shane Kehl: Yeah. As far as going back just a tiny bit, I'm just curious your thoughts on, again, kind of that like multiple choice, you know, select your pathway style, how [00:27:00] many options should schools be adding for each of those things?
So you know, at the entry point, maybe you have. Four high level things that kind of help people drill down into a category. And then there's four to five more options are, should there be 10 options? How much is maybe too much? And, and what's a, what's a good number there when thinking about, you know, how, what, what options people have at selecting, um, kind of that next pathway.
Mickey Baines: Uh, I would say two to three and no more than four. Yeah. You wanna make it kind of split if you have seven options. You know, so when you think of splitting two ways, you've got two options. If you give seven options, now you've gotta split it seven ways. That's a lot more challenging to kind of build out.
Right? Um, and so if, if you don't know how to narrow it down to seven, to go from seven to two, the question you're asking that gives you those seven is the wrong question. Go back. I need to know who my advisor is. Yeah. You can do one of these seven ways to get to an advisor. So I'm gonna say, [00:28:00] good. We can try to help you with that.
Um, do you have, uh, are you a current student, right? Um, yes or no? So I, I'm giving one, two option questions that then drive me there to get to that seventh, rather than saying, okay, which of these best suits you? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or seven. No. Um, are you a current student, yes or no? Um, you're a new student, so you know, then we need to direct you here because you may not have your student access portal yet.
Um, to, to, to, to tell you that who the advisor is. Um, and it might even come back to say, okay, you're a new student in this program. Your advisor will be assigned on August one, so you don't have one yet. Um, you know, and if you're current student, we're gonna get you to the portal. Then we wanna ask you about your login.
Do you know how to get into that? Then you can. , if it's tied to a, a, a CRM with the, for your students that has that information, you might be able to say, Hey, it looks like you're, um, are you still, um, in the business program, yes. Your advisor is Professor Smith, right? You know, it could go there, but you, I would say no more than four because remember, when [00:29:00] you get each of those options you give is another path you have to build out.
So if you build it with two questions, that helps you get there faster. I mean, a question with two options that would get you there faster. .
Shane Kehl: And I think too, it, the fewer options you provide, the more data, insightful data you can collect. Yeah. Um, because you can really see, okay, here's where people, you know, are tending to go, the things they're tending to click on.
I think the more options you provide too, it, it's kinda like your website now where, uh, you're maybe a little confused. There seems to be overlap in some of the options. Mm-hmm. . And so you clicked on one and then you're like, ah, that was the wrong one. Now you're trying to like go back. And it's just, that's always a hassle in, in the chat bot.
I think not having clear pathways. A prospective student who does not know your institution, um, and is new to the higher ed space in general, they don't know. I think even like the terminology and, and for a prospective student even, you know, who's 17, being able to kind of. , you know, use language that is uber clear.
Mm-hmm. , um, to, you [00:30:00] know, a, a kid so that they can navigate the chatbot and get the answers they're looking for, rather than using terms that you all use internally. Johnny has no idea what you're talking about or what that means, or the difference between, you know, academics versus admissions. He's like, I don't, I'm, I wanna go to school.
What, which one do I pick? Right. And, and trying to be a little bit more, um, selective in, in the options so that you can get very clear pathways and, and people aren't feeling like, I went down the wrong one. I, you know, I wanna go back and now you're, you're not understanding in the data whether they're going back because they had other questions or they going back because they didn't even get an answer to the first question they wanted.
And now they're just, you know, at the point of confusion. All right, so we've talked a bunch about features, functionality, anything you want to add before we kind of dive into actual platforms that you think do some of these things really well? No. Perfect. All right, so we mentioned, you know, a bunch about being able to connect to your CRM and the importance [00:31:00] of that.
I believe you've stressed that point. Um, enough if nobody's picked up on that by now. They're probably listening to this while they're doing something else. Way more important. What do you think are a couple tools that, again, connect to your CRM are powerful enough to allow you to kind of start maybe a little more basic learn and then grow within the same platform, rather than having to kind of migrate everything over to a more sophisticated one?
Mickey Baines: So I would say the first one I would look at, um, is mainstay. It used to be, uh, at. , uh, I think they were one of the early ones to the market. Mm-hmm. for admissions in higher ed specifically. Um, they're one of the ones that, um, I talk about that give you a good base of questions to start. Um, I think they give, it's over 200.
Like, that's, that's a lot of questions and it gives you a good amount. Wow. It'ss got a lot of, uh, machine learning to it. Um, it's, they've got some great use cases, um, that that's a good. . Um, there [00:32:00] are some others. I will say, you should look at my company. We do this, um, we help implement, um, um, chat bot. So if you have Salesforce, Salesforce, um, if you have Salesforce with Einstein has ability to build a bot through Einstein.
And we've done a lot of work with in that area with that. And it, again, it doesn't have to be our company. There are others, uh, Salesforce partners that certainly do this as. But you know the key there is it's native already in your crm. If you have a Salesforce here, it's native. It's already there. And I, and I think depending upon your license type, it may not actually cost anything for the technology itself if you use a partner to build it out.
You, you, there would be a fee there obviously. Um, and, and I would say, um, mm-hmm , if you are already savvy enough in the system, you probably could learn to, to enough to get it started yourself. You might wanna partner to just to guide you and that would save you some dollars on that. But I can tell you when I was first looking at them, I spent maybe a day and I was able to build out a bot with 20.
Now, I, I might spend a little more time than some people in the crm, [00:33:00] but it's not, you know, I wanna give you an idea of the time it takes. I would say aside for that Ocelot Good company that has some education focused with the bot, uh, uh, this is a new one. I've not tested it, but it is, it does have an education focus.
It's called COM 100. So it's something that's on my radar to kind of look into and, and learn more about. So there, that's four. There's four ideas and places to start. I'm not suggest. Any of them over the others. Um, they all have pluses and minuses. I think you have to look at cost. You have to look at what the lift is to get it up and running, um, what your resources are to kind of manage and ensure that you're doing that and your ability to kind of build out your initial.
You may not have a big budget, but you might also say, we don't have the time to open out the questions, so, um, why do we sacrifice might sacrifice. Budget, and I don't know all the pricing for all of these. Um, but you know, let's assume it might be a little bit more for IT mainstay because they're gonna give you a lot of starting point.
I don't know if it is or not. Um, but if it were then, you know, you might wanna pay more of that to get started faster and have a lot of base questions already kind of [00:34:00] predefined and built for you. Mm-hmm. . Um, I know if we are working with a client. I think we do not come in with 200. We probably come in around 50, uh, and then we're at the school to kind of build out at least 25 more, but maybe up to 50 more to get started.
Um, you know, so you gotta look at, you gotta look at options and you know what the effort is on your part, what the pricing is, uh, and it, and if, make sure it integrates with the crm. .
Shane Kehl: Yeah. I think one of the big things too is making sure that, um, ideally someone in marketing slash admissions can be the one to build it.
I think sometimes we've run into a couple schools where, You know, chatbot sounds like it's, it, it is not it. Um, and you want a platform that ideally you can build out and, and understand the flow and structure of, it's only gonna be helpful for you as you're, again, going through that data collection, using it, growing and expanding it as well as you've chatted out a bunch.
And I think that's, you know, another thing to look at in a platform is what, what's one that like, yeah, that fits your needs today, but what if you want to grow it and expand? What if it works really well and you want to now move into, you know, using live? [00:35:00] Can you do that? Correct. How many do you have to pay for seats?
Great. And I think great. There's a lot of other things to look into as far as features and and functionality that, to make sure that you can scale it and not think about this will serve our needs today. Yeah. Um, and that's all we'll ever need is 50 questions and answers. And, and that will do wonders for us.
Um, that's, you know, the wrong way to think about it. And, um, I think those are some, some core things just to, to ponder as you're, as you're browsing
Mickey Baines: different tools. One thing I would add there, um, is. as you're talking about who, who builds it, how, who maintains it? I, you have to have admissions involved.
You might be a school that uses it, that to help build it out. But if, if you do that, this is the thing, and this is where you're going with the chain. They shouldn't be coming up with the questions and writing the answers. That's not on it. Right. Um, that could be admissions and also could be marketing.
Yeah. Or enrollment marketing. If you separate those two. Functions out, but marking's generally good with communication. Uh, I would, you know, I want somebody to good with communication to help you think this through. Even if they don't write it, they help advise and guide you through it. Uh, I think that would also be very important [00:36:00] to, to think about.
But, you know, marketing, admissions, and it potentially, it could just be admissions. And I, I do see, um, schools doing both of those, uh, approaches where it's just in admissions and I see some that have taken it and, and involved other departments to help them. .
Shane Kehl: Yeah. Yeah. Those are all great points. Awesome.
Any final closing thoughts on chatbots? Any words of advice maybe other than make sure it's connected to your c r m ?
Mickey Baines: Have I have I beaten that one one too many times?
Shane Kehl: Uh, I think the horse is
Mickey Baines: dead , so, um, yeah, I think it's a. to start investing into this. I'm, I am seeing more schools ask us about it, uh, and that are really looking into it for themselves.
Mm-hmm. . So I think it's time. Uh, if you've not. Looked at them to at least start to look to see how it could be used if it's appropriate for you now, um, I would not wait three more years to do this because you could be [00:37:00] behind. And again, it's an ability to capture more information if you're thinking of inform missions, at least about prospective students and RFI forms.
People submit them. But once people start really getting into chat, and we're, and again this is anecdotal, this is from one school saying this, but they're seeing at for traditional age students, they're much more accustomed to this type of communication and engagement, and they're gonna be less afraid to jump into that bot and have that conversation and get information from you and give you information in return.
And so I would, I would really say, think about it, look into it, ask questions, and, and, and see when is the right time to begin this process.
Shane Kehl: Perfect. Love it. Awesome. Well, thank you folks for listening. Hopefully you garnered some pretty good insight. Um, and if you have more questions about chatbots tools, um, if you're unsure whether it should connect to your crm, please feel free to reach out to Mickey or myself and we'd be happy to advise you.
Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you again in two weeks.
Mickey Baines: Thanks everyone.[00:38:00]
Zach Busekrus: Hey y'all Zach from Enrollify here. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Fanatical Fridays with Mickey Baines. If you like this episode, do us a huge favor and hit that follow and subscribe button.
Furthermore, if you've got just two minutes to spare, we would greatly appreciate you leaving a rating and a review of this show on Apple Podcast. Our podcast network is growing by the month, and we've got a [00:39:00] plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam-packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed professional.
But Enrollify is far more than just a podcast network. Enrollify is where higher ed comes to learn new marketing skills, discover new products and services, and find their next job. We're a growing learning community of 4,000 members and we love to welcome you into the. You can access our free blog, articles, newsletters, e-courses, and more, or purchase our master course on how to market a University with Terry email@example.com.
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About the Episode
The what's what...
Chatbots are sometimes misunderstood – luckily they’re emotionless – but in this episode, Shane and Mickey look to shed light on how to think about, set up, and integrate your chatbot to make it work FOR you.
Whether you’re shopping for different software or looking to optimize your existing bot, this episode is sure to help you make smart, intentional next steps.
Fanatical Fridays is brought to you by Enrollify. Enrollify is where higher ed comes to learn new marketing skills, discover new software and services, network with the best minds, and find their next gig.
You can connect with Shane on LinkedIn or Twitter and Mickey on LinkedIn.
This week’s episode is brought to you by Goodkind.
If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam-packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional.
Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Jeremy Tiers, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason, and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Shane is the Chief Edutainment Officer for Enrollify. He takes any opportunity to make marketing fun and enjoyable while maintaining a healthy level of helpfulness and data-backed information. When he’s not being sarcastic or irritating Zach, he’s enjoying a sports game or nice brunch – mimosa, hold the OJ. His goal is to make higher ed even more fun and lively by injecting new ideas wherever he can.
Mickey Baines leads the technology services practice at Kennedy & Company. Kennedy & Co assists colleges and universities in the selection, implementation, customization and integration of various CRM technologies, including Salesforce, TargetX, Slate and others. They lead projects of all sizes for public and private two and four-year institutions. Whether he's working hands-on in an enrollment strategy project, leading a CRM implementation or speaking at a conference, the goal is the same - to help higher ed professionals implement technologies, strategies & tactics that engage and enroll more students.
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On this weekly segment, Mickey Baines from Kennedy & Company and Zach Busekrus from Enrollify discuss the traits, strategies, and tactics that separate the best enrollment management teams from the rest of the pack.
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