Earlier on in the year we held a short trial of instant messenger(IM) on the short course area of the Central Saint Martins section of the website. The aim was to see how IM worked and the effect it had on other enquiry channels such as phone calls and email.

Whilst the first trial was useful and we learnt a lot, we felt it was important to run the trial again. This time we used different software (Zendesk) and also trialled it with a different team within UAL.

The second instant messenger (IM) chat proof of concept is being run again with the Artscom team at Central Saint Martins (responsible for Short Courses) and also the Accommodation Team.
Since mid-October, 6 agents have been answering queries with prospective students in real time (during office hours) split across CSM short courses and accommodation sections of the website.
To date the agents have handled more than 150 live chats and received a customer satisfaction rating of 95%.

So far Zendesk is providing a much better experience for staff and for people making enquiries. We have found the product easy to use and gives agents more control and less reliance on suppliers than the previous system.

“It’s a great user interface for agents and visitors,” explains Project Manager, Bolaji Banjo. “There is also the option to translate chat which could be a great option for us to possibly look into for our international students.”

Success of the trial will be measured not just on customer satisfaction but also on the impact on volume of emails, enquiries through online forms on the website and telephone calls. The trial will finish on November 23rd with analysis expected early December. If successful, recommendations will be made about how IM could be used to support enquiry management across other services we deliver to prospective and current students and staff.