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5 Ways to Measure the ROI of Your Chatbot

Jul 1, 2021 8:00:00 AM / by Adam Miller

Achieving digital transformation is often an uphill battle. And once the necessary approvals are in place, there is a constant pressure to assure stakeholders that you’ve made a worthwhile investment. 

Your provost will likely ask pointed questions about the investment you just made—and they have every right to ask. With institutions tightening their belts, there is no wiggle room for wasteful spending.

The most likely question that you will receive is around ROI. They’ll want to know if the investment was successful and whether it’s allowing them to move their institution forward. But answering that question can be challenging if you don’t know what to measure or how to measure it.

This blog post will share five metrics to share with your provost that can show the ROI of your chatbot.

Decrease in email and call volume

If your chatbot is truly working, the number of emails and calls you receive should decrease dramatically. That’s because your solution proved its value to students enough that they trust the chatbot to answer their most basic questions. In an ideal scenario, your chatbot is the tip of the sphere as a customer service portal for students to get their questions answered no matter which department the question is for.

In turn, this should allow your institution to be more consultative in nature and provide the advice you were always too busy to provide. This should enhance the overall experience for your students while preventing your staff from getting overwhelmed.

Temple Uses AI to Cut Call Volume in Half

Given that most students prefer text or chat to email and calls anyway, it shouldn’t take long to discover your chatbot’s effectiveness. Students want and expect to get information on their mobile device. That’s not to say email is dead. They’re just more likely to use it when they have more nuanced or complex questions that might be better addressed by longer, one-on-one meetings. 

However, the days of relying strictly on communicating over email to ask the routine, mundane questions are over. Students want to get their questions answered fast and on their time.

Increased quality lead volume

With fewer questions and more information up front, your institution will attract more students by showcasing your student-first orientation. Chatbots reduce the amount of time prospective students spend looking for information by helping them instantly find answers to questions that help differentiate your institution from the rest. 

Your chatbot can also help qualify leads so your admissions and recruitment staff is only reaching out to prospective students that are most interested in attending your institution. Many websites require students to fill out a form when all they’re really looking for is basic information. The problem with this approach is that it bogs your staff down with a lot of inquiries from students that seem like leads but really just want information that should be readily available on your website.

Institutions need to treat prospective student questions and qualified leads differently. They’re at different stages of their journey and often require different levels of support. By treating all leads the same, you not only run the risk of overburdening your staff, but will end up deterring students from wanting to attend at all. 

Chatbots will allow you to ultimately increase the number of qualified leads converting on your website so that your staff can focus their time on helping interested students complete the application process.

Improved student satisfaction

It’s important to remember that students need to be at the center of everything your institution strives to accomplish. If students aren’t enjoying their chatbot experience, then any efficiencies gained through your purchase will only discourage them from seeking help when they really need it.

Fortunately, most students are accustomed to using chatbots as part of their shopping experience and might prefer one over email and phone. But without a feedback mechanism in place, you will have limited ability to react to student satisfaction with the bot.

There are ultimately two metrics that can help measure that satisfaction. The first is providing students the ability to rate the interaction itself. No chatbot is perfect out of the box. But they have immense capacity to improve when students submit feedback on the bot’s effectiveness. Administrators can use ratings to understand whether the conversation itself is effective and provide opportunities for improvement to deliver an even stronger service experience.

Another metric that can measure the bot’s effectiveness is through surveys. Simply ask students if they prefer a chatbot over their previous forms of communication and the results will tell you whether or not the bot has been a worthy investment. 

Chatbot conversation volume

Educators are tasked with elevating and inspiring learners—so tracking changes in call or email volume may not always be among their priorities. However, you can still measure ROI by the number of conversations your bot is having. 

If there is widespread adoption among your student body, it’s safe to assume that students are utilizing the chatbot instead of calling support. While students might not adopt a chatbot immediately, the hope is that once they get acclimated with it, more students will start asking it questions and the amount they engage with it will also increase.

As students begin to rely more on the chatbot, you’ll find a significant drop in the number of inbound inquiries you received compared to what you received prior to implementation. But if you can’t readily quantify this number, then measuring your conversation volume should go a long way in demonstrating your ROI.

Volume of topics

Just like learning a new language, your chatbot will develop the number of conversations it can have as it learns what your students care about (although it learns much faster). At the beginning, your chatbot might have a limited range of topics it can discuss.

However, whenever a certain question stumps the bot, it provides an opportunity to learn how to better answer the inquiry and can better support students in the future. When the bot expands its knowledge by 10x, it proves that students are relying on chat for more of their questions and that it’s continuing to increase value.

When this happens, consider updating the content of your website to fit the way students are asking questions. Students may use different terminology to describe a process if they aren’t accustomed to how you phrase them. This provides an opportunity to provide better clarity in your communications with students.

Identifying ROI is important for several reasons. It not only shows that your department is fiscally responsible, but also that you own the success of your department. By leveraging these metrics in your bot evaluation, you’ll better understand whether your bot is getting the job done, if additional steps are needed to get up-to-speed, or if another solution may be in order. 

Adam Miller

Written by Adam Miller

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